A Los Lunas resident requested that the current Valencia County Animal Control Advisory Board be dissolved and a new one appointed.
Terence Toomey’s request was heard Tuesday night at the county commission meeting.
In a 4-0 unanimous decision, the commission voted to retain the current Animal Control Advisory Board, which has been meeting to find ways to improve the Animal Control Ordinance.
Commissioner Frank Pando made the motion to retain the current board and gave his reasons.
“We cannot disband this board, by any stretch of the imagination,” Pando said. “They have already done a lot of the ground work. We have a good ordinance, but it does need tuning up.”
After Pando’s motion, Toomey said from the audience, “The simplest way to resolve it is to disband it.”
“That’s your opinion, Mr. Toomey,” Pando said. “You have the opportunity to be a member of the committee.”
Presently, board meetings have not been attended by most of the members, according to Toomey. However, Linda Cisneros, animal control director, disagreed.
“We have had participation by board members for most of the meetings,” Cisneros said.
Earlier in the meeting, several residents spoke about the need for a representative veterinarian and animal breeders on the board.
Cisneros pointed out that neither a veterinarian nor members of the local kennel club have been officially added to the board. However, different breeders have attended board meetings.
One resident criticized the manner in which people have attacked members of the board and what they are trying to do to improve the ordinance.
“I’ve heard a lot of lies about people who are trying to establish an ordinance,” said Mark Rosenbloom. “I think the committee should be allowed to go on and do its job in an orderly fashion.”
“I don’t agree with everything in the ordinance,” Rosenbloom said. “I don’t agree with the fee structure.”
The board does not make the final decision on the proposed animal ordinance revisions. It serves to advise the commissioners.
“This is an advisory board. The buck stops here,” Pando said in regards to whether any ordinance revisions would be accepted.
Commissioner Alicia Aguilar said she thinks the existing ordinance is a “very good one.”
She explained that it was five years ago “when we revised the current ordinance.”
Judy Babcock, chairman of the advisory board, told the commissioners that the City of Grants just passed an animal ordinance and “it took them a year and a half.”
The discussion and public debate will likely continue, as the next board meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, in the county courthouse.