It will be costly and take some time to implement the state's new euthanasia law for animals in Tucumcari and Quay County, according to the city's police chief.
Tucumcari is one of four cities in New Mexico that still uses a gas chamber. The Animal Sheltering Services Act, passed during the last legislative session, mandates a switch to lethal injection.
At first glance, Tucumcari, will also have to have a new facility, hire a euthanasia technician and establish the program, said Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher.
It is too early to estimate the costs to the city, said Hatcher, whose department oversees city's animal control.
Clovis, Jal and Lovington are the other communities that do not use lethal injection.
Although there is an expected $100,000 from the state to offset costs. About a week ago, it was thougth the four communities would share the funds. Now, "they're now talking about spreading it across the state, instead of giving to the four communities," Hatcher said.
Because guidelines and regulations have not been established, it is hard to know what to expect or what to plan for, Hatcher said.
Tucumcari City Manager Bobbye Rose said she had talked to an official of the state Animal Sheltering Services Board to learn more about regulations.
A meeting in early May is expected to shed some light on what the city will have do, Rose said.
The deadline to comply with the euthanasia law is June 19. But Tucumcari is expected to receive an additional year to comply, Hatcher said.
Because of the added costs of the operation to the city, Hatcher said fees the city charges for dog and cat licenses may have be reviewed.
In addition, contract agreements between the villages of Logan and San Jon may also have to looked at, Hatcher said.Tucumcari has a contract with with those communities to euthanize their animals for a fee.
The Animal Sheltering Services Board will hold a public hearing on May 6 on the following aspects of the law:
l General provisions
l Licensure and certification
l Duties of licensees and certificate holders
l Complaints, enforcement and disciplinary action
The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Gaming Control Board offices, 4900 Alameda Blvd. NE, Albuquerque.
For more information, go to the Animal Sheltering Services Board Web site at: http://www.rld.state.nm.us/AnimalSheltering/ruleslaw.html