FARMINGTON, N.M. — Northwest New Mexico officials are asking the Navajo Nation to pitch in and help with the costs to shelter stray animals from the reservation.
San Juan County expects to pay about $766,000 to house strays this year due to a 6 percent increase in costs at two animal shelters in the area. The costs are increasing because a subsidy Farmington provides to the county is ending, The Daily Times reported earlier this week.
The county predicts that the cost for next year will be even higher.
More than $200,000 is spent on stray animals from the Navajo Nation, officials said. The animals are being cared for at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter.
County Commissioner Jack Fortner has sent a letter to Navajo Nation officials informing them of the cost increase, he said. He is optimistic that the tribe will be able to pay for a portion of the annual cost for stray animals from the reservation.
In the past, the tribe has been willing to help with costs for services the county provides on the reservation. The tribe even took over the operation of fire stations when the county asked Navajo officials for money to keep them going, Fortner said.
Navajo Nation animal control program director Glenda Davis doubts this will be one of those times.
Navajo officials have ignored repeated requests for more animal control officers for the tribe, she said.
Navajo Nation animal control received more than 13,500 calls between 2012 and 2016, according to an analysis.
“The animal issue is a regional issue, and animals don’t know any borders,” she said.
A McKinley County animal shelter’s budget is also feeling a strain from animals from the Navajo Nation.
About 67 percent of animals taken to the Gallup-McKinley Humane Society last year came from the reservation, according the Gallup Sun. The influx of animals left the group with only 34 percent of its budget for the rest of its fiscal year which ends on June 30.
The Navajo Nation understands their struggle.
The tribe spends more than $800,000 on animal control each year, according to the analysis.
While the tribe is not directly contributing to the animal control costs for the Farmington shelter, Davis said tribal residents do contribute money through taxes when they shop in the county and Farmington.
Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com