Success Stories

McKinley County COVID Update

A photo of the McKinley County Humane Society building in Gallup, New Mexico MCHS has been a RAR partner for over 10 years.

McKinley County Humane Society (MCHS) has been a program partner of Reservation Animal Rescue’s (RAR) Animal Welfare service for over 10 years. Located in Gallup, New Mexico, it serves animals in their county and surrounding reservations of Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi. MCHS has received supplies to help reduce the costs of their operation and has been a grant recipient to help defray the costs of getting animals healthy and help reduce the over-population of stray and domestic animals through Spay and Neuter clinics.

All businesses have been impacted by the global pandemic and Navajo Nation has been hit especially hard. The Humane Society recently shared some of their updates, modifications and changes that have occurred since COVID-19 presented itself in the United States earlier this year. They led with, “although we may be slightly behind on the overall goals for our RAR project, we are serving animals surrendered from the reservation with the care and treatment as outlined in our project.”

A photo of Jasmine, a foster pup "There have been a few 'foster fails' of some pets we have in foster care," - like Jasmine, pictured here.

What are some concerns (facility or otherwise) that you have with the COVID pandemic and the grant goals?

“Our shelter is currently closed so we have a limited number of employees coming in at staggered times for health safety to care for the current dogs and cats. We are taking in some urgent/emergency cases and getting them to a local private vet for care and treatment. We are not doing any shelter adoptions at this point, though, there have been a few ‘foster fails’ of some pets we have in foster care meaning the foster pet will be adopted by that particular foster family. We do our best to get younger animals in foster care ASAP as they need that extra TLC and socializing a foster home can provide.”

“We had to shut down our spay and neuter clinics, which was heartbreaking. We plan on hitting it hard with some extra clinics to catch up after we are able to resume spay/neuter services. We are also working on a plan to provide some pet food through local food pantries, Navajo Vet Program, and some of the Chapter Houses. We hope to get some pet food donations to meet this need.”

A photo of a cat at MCHS MCHS is doing their best to make sure no animals are left behind during the pandemic.

“Our main concern is for what will likely be the huge demand for spay/neuter appointments once we start up our clinics again and about the even greater pet overpopulation in our area. It is also concerning that since McKinley County in New Mexico and the reservation are already deemed hot spots for the virus with increasing case numbers daily, that the spay/neuter clinics may not open for many weeks. We worry about keeping our clinic vet team healthy and safe as well as the pet owners coming into Gallup to drop off/pick up their pets after surgery. We usually have quite a bit of interaction between our team and the pet parents during the check in/pick up/after care instructions, etc., so we will have to be rethinking it all.”

Have your numbers of surrendered pets have gone up due to COVID scares?

“No, surprisingly we are receiving less calls from people wanting to surrender pets, though we do respond to calls, texts, and messages for those needing immediate assistance with pets or strays.”

Are you expecting a large intake or “boom” of strays or litters?

“Yes, we are concerned that as things start to cool off and the number of virus cases are reduced that we will get a rush of people wanting to bring in strays and litters.”

Have you made any adaptations to visitors and those that donate supplies?

“We meet people as needed at the shelter. We do try to limit contact and stay in the guidelines of social distancing. We wear masks and are now asking those we are meeting to wear some kind of face covering.”

MCHS added a few more details in a note dated April 24th, 2020:

  • There were 1,360 confirmed cases and 52 COVID deaths. 296 or 22% of the confirmed cases are in McKinley County.
  • McKinley County and the Navajo Nation are both deemed hot spots for the virus.
  • The Navajo Nation has daily curfews and has instituted a series of rolling weekend lockdowns.
  • We are doing our best to help the animals that come our way or that we are contacted about while respecting those boundaries.
  • last spay day was March 21 and now spay-neuter services are on hold due to nationwide shutdown of “non-essential” elective surgeries at veterinary practices and shelters.
  • Over 100 (118, plus 7 more abandoned neonatal) emergency surrendered pets have been taken in since the shelter closed during the last week of March.
  • All intake pets have received core vaccinations and other needed vet-medical care as needed on case-by-case basis. We have had to send some to the nearby private clinic for emergency diagnostics and specialized care.
  • "We can’t thank you enough for this continued partnership and support, RAR and Partnership With Native Americans!”

Thank you for your support of Program Partners like the McKinley County Humane Society. As you can see, they have their hands full and their hearts are even fuller as they are doing their best to make sure no animals are left behind during the pandemic. Your support helps to make this possible. Thank you!

Our Mission: Serving immediate needs. Supporting long-term solutions.
Our Vision: Strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

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