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Village Voice: September 2022

Wild Dogs And Feral Felines

Mayor John A. Ortega and many other area residents are concerned about packs of runaway or wild dogs and stray cats throughout the Questa area. He asks that all residents, particularly pet owners, be vigilant with their own pets, keeping them fenced or on a leash. He asks also that people report sightings of dog packs on their properties or in their neighborhoods. He encourages Questa-area dog owners to make sure their pets are contained, spayed and neutered and their properties secured.

In a short interview on Aug. 17, we asked Mayor Ortega how long Questa has had an issue with runaway or wild dogs.

Photo by E. Wilde Spay and nurturing our domesticated animals is a healthier choice for you, your pet and your community. See what Brown University published on it. https://www.brown.edu/Research/Colwill_Lab/CBP/spaynueter.htm

“Probably as far back as I can remember,” the Mayor responded. “I don’t really like the idea of leaving pets chained or cabled, but just find a way to keep pets contained [on your] property.”

Mayor Ortega recalled an incident with a pack of dogs that killed sheep that were being raised as a 4-H project. In addition feral cats are a big problem in Questa and there have been an increase of complaints. Female cats can have three litters per year. The songbird population all over the world is declining, because cats kill birds. He encourages all residents to get their pets spayed or neutered.

Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe reports that Taos County will be partnering with Pecos Animal Rescue with their spay and neuter van to offer spay and neuter vouchers up through mid-October. The date for Questa has not yet been confirmed. Any resident of Taos County can register an animal for $10 for two years, making them eligible for spay and neuter services. The animal can be either a pet or any stray that they wish to spay or neuter. Sheriff Hogrefe adds that $10 is a small price to pay, compared to the price of veterinary services or the price of caring for an increased population of dogs or cats. “Spaying and neutering dogs and cats is an important step to slow down populations in shelters. The back-end costs of spay and neutering is well worth the expense to the county, compared to front-end costs of increased work load for animal control and animal shelters.”

Sightings of loose or wild dogs can be reported to Taos County Animal Control at (575) 737-6488. You can also call this number to schedule an appointment to spay and neuter and to register your animal. Leave a message and the Animal Control office will call back early in the morning, at lunch time or in the evening, as they are out in the field most of the day.


Animal Protection New Mexico is a non-profit organization that assists New Mexico Counties in providing low-cost or free spay/neuter programs and provides a directory of services here: https://apnm.org/what-we-do/building-foundations-to-keep-animals-safe/new-mexico-spay-neuter-resources-directory/taos-county/.

Taos County will have spay and neuter vouchers to use up through mid-October. All animals must be registered for $10 for two years to be eligible for spay and neuter services. To register and schedule appointments, please call Taos County Animal Control at (575) 737-6488.

Zimmer Feline Foundation offers free cat spaying/neutering for Town of Taos, Taos County, and Taos Pueblo cats. Zimmer uses Angel Fire Veterinary and maybe Salazar Veterinary. They send out vouchers that are good for 90 days after you call, and then you make your own appointment with the vet. (505) 466-1676

Taos Feral Feline Friends: Pays to Help Strays Program helps people adopt stray cats of Taos County and the Enchanted Circle by providing spay/neuter surgery, vet-recommended testing, and vaccines. To be eligible, the adopter must contact TFFF within 60 days, or in advance, of the adoption. Cats from shelters, pet stores, or breeders are not eligible for this program. (575) 758-3519

Spay, Neuter & Vaccines for Dogs and Cats available to low-income pet owners of Town of Taos, Taos County and Taos Pueblo and for all feral, outdoor, barn cats. Dogs and cats must be between 8 weeks and 8 years of age. Also eligible for free vaccinations. Espanola Valley Humane Society (505) 753-0228

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter in Taos has many dogs and cats, ready for adoption. They ensure all its animals are “spayed/neutered, dewormed, microchipped, and fully vaccinated,” according to its website: https://www.strayhearts.org/about-us. (575) 758-2981.