An animal shelter in New Mexico sent out a desperate plea for help and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona answered, bringing back 23 dogs.
The Valencia County Animal Shelter in Los Lunas, New Mexico is experiencing its worst overcrowding in years, to the point where they had to euthanize up to ten dogs a day. Last week, staff members from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona made the seven-hour drive to rescue as many dogs as they could.
"The cry for help was so overwhelming and we had the resources to do so," said Andrea Mitchell, the public relations and social media coordinator for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. "We couldn't say no."
Mitchell actually grew up in the same area where the Valencia County Animal Shelter is located so she and three other people drove to New Mexico to bring back the dogs.
This was the first time the Humane Society of Southern Arizona traveled out of state to rescue animals. Mitchell says they realized pretty immediately that the shelter needed more than what they were asking for.
"We weren't picky at all," she said. "We said pack up our van with whatever we can take, the least adoptable dogs, the dogs who were most likely to be put on the euthanasia list."
The Humane Society of Southern Arizona has to make sure all of the dogs are OK medically before they are available for adoption and each one will be vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
They expect the dogs to be available in about two weeks. A special image of the state of New Mexico will be on their kennels to designate that they came from that shelter.
They are still working on naming all of the dogs.
"It made a lot of us really emotional," said Mitchell. "It was sad to be loading up these dogs and saying 'what's this one's name' and the shelter supervisor just said 'we cant name them.' They don't have it in them to give these pets names because they don't know how long they'll be around."
The Valencia County Animal Shelter says there are many groups willing to accept more animals into their care, but unlike the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, those groups don't have the transportation. Anyone who can help transport the animals is asked to contact 505-866-2479 x3 and ask for Patty.