The purpose of City of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County animal ordinances is broad: to protect animals from neglect, abandonment and abuse; to encourage responsible animal ownership; to reduce animal nuisance issues; to reduce the killing of livestock and wildlife by domestic animals; to minimize the number of healthy or treatable animals that are euthanized; and to protect the public from illness or injury from domestic animals.
The entire animal ordinances are found on the city and county websites. Although they are mostly the same, in August the city updated several provisions. The ordinances do agree on the basic responsibilities of animal ownership: humane care, sterilization, microchipping, vaccinating against rabies, and maintaining physical control over your animal (yes, this means cats, too)
For city animals, microchipping has replaced licensing, but in the county both are required. Microchips can be implanted at the ASCMV (by appointment only) or by your veterinarian, and both the ASCMV and local nonprofit ACTion Programs for Animals regularly hold public microchip clinics.
Two common ordinance violations are barking dog noise complaints and animals running loose. A barking dog is trying to get attention: It’s lonely, bored, anxious, over-excited, hungry or thirsty. If your dog barks a lot, what can you change in its environment to address its unmet need? Perhaps adopting another dog will bring your pooch some peace. Is there fresh water and food within reach? Does your dog spend most of its time in a high traffic area that causes constant excitement and stress? Conversely, is your dog alone most of the time? Try to imagine living as your dog to help you figure out what you can do to improve its world (and your neighbors’ world, too).
You may be surprised that owned cats, as well as owned dogs, are not permitted to run free, as any owned animal must be “under humane physical restraint at all times.” An indoor-only cat is safe from wildlife, people, poisons and cars, not to mention that wildlife is safe from indoor-only cats. There are many resources online about how to transition your cat indoors and keep an indoor kitty happy. For dogs, the ordinances are straightforward regarding enclosures, how long a tether must be (12-foot minimum), how heavy a tether can be (no more than 1/8 of the dog’s body weight), and that at all times the dog must have drinking water within reach.
Unfortunately, sometimes people find themselves in a situation in which they can no longer take care of their animal. City and county ordinances state that the owner is responsible to ensure the animal has somewhere to go. If you need to give up your pet, the rescues and the ASCMV will help, but it is your responsibility to do right by your animal. It is never okay to dump an animal or leave an animal in a cage at the door of any shelter. Under the ordinances, “abandonment” includes leaving an animal at the ASCMV or other sheltering location without the proper written release and is also a form of “cruelty” under the ordinances.
Finally, it’s common to see a dog riding in the open bed of a truck. What’s not common is to see it crated or restrained in a way that prevents the dog from jumping out — which is what city and county ordinances require. (Dogs have hanged themselves by jumping out of a truck when the tether is too long.) The truck bed must have a non-slick surface as well.
The city and county animal ordinances provide guidance for safety, care, and common sense. It’s up to you to provide the love.
Read More: Here are some of the guidelines