Animal control officer honored

Thomas Garcia

Tucumcari’s Animal Control Officer Mike Martinez was named officer of the year by the New Mexico Animal Control Association.

“It is a great honor,” said Martinez. “Knowing that there are people out that appreciate and respect my duties makes all the difference.”

Martinez said his job has been difficult, operating as a one-man crew for a job usually fielded by two officers.

“At times it can be trying,” Martinez said. “When it comes to animals, I deal with the public, city and county officials .”

Martinez said there is no preferential treatment in his duties as a animal control officer. He said he has issued citations to everyone when they violate the law.

“It a job that can make you very unpopular,” Martinez said. “Though it’s not a popularity contest. It’s my job.”

Martinez said on top of his regular patrol and service call duties, he is in charge of maintaining the city’s shelter.

“I feed the animals and clean all of pens,” Martinez said. “I have also been working with the local animal rescue group.”

Martinez said he is proud to be a part of the rescue group and their efforts to find homes for stray and abandoned animals.

“At first it was not a smooth or easy relationship,” Martinez said. “I had received a bad reputation, built on rumors from those angry from being cited.”

When the Tucumcari Volunteer Animal Rescue began, “We did have serious doubts about Mike’s commitment to the animals of our community,” said Christina Fleming.

“Like everyone else, we heard the rumors and stories and thought the worst,” Fleming said.

Fleming said she spent time with Martinez at the shelter observing the processes and looked into stories. She said the rumors and stories proved to be untrue.

“Bottom line, Officer Martinez has become a valuable asset to rescue,” Fleming said “His flexibility has allowed us to spend additional time searching for options for abandoned and unwanted pets destined to be destroyed.”

Martinez said he want to continue performing his duties to the best of his ability and working with the rescue group.

“I enjoy doing my job,” Martinez said. “I also enjoy working with Christina and the rescue group.”