El Paso working hard to reach no-kill shelter status by 2020

The City of El Paso has implemented multiple measures to address growing citizen concerns about the welfare of animals within the city. These measures include turning the El Paso Animal Shelter into a no-kill facility by 2020, encouraging more animal adoptions and increasing the number of volunteers working at the El Paso Animal Shelter. El Paso residents have frequently voiced concerns about the commitment of the city government to properly care for abandoned or neglected animals. In 2013, the city had a live release rate for shelter animals of roughly 26 percent, meaning that three-quarters of shelter animals were being euthanized. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that anywhere from five to seven million animals are euthanized every year in shelters nationwide, while only 10 to 20 percent of families adopt their animals from shelters.

El Pasoan Iliana Guzman with her son Sergio Pedroza, 15, at their animal shelter in Chaparral, NM. (Velia Quiroz/Borderzine.com)

Paralegal’s love for animals changes lives

CHAPARRAL, NM – An animal lover since she was a child, El Pasoan Iliana Guzman now devotes her free time to the care of homeless animals. The 34-year-old paralegal last year opened her very own animal shelter, a long time dream, and now cares for nearly 100 dogs and cats on her one-and-a-half acre parcel of land in Chaparral, New Mexico. Recently, she rescued several dozen animals that had been removed from their owner because of hoarding. Prior to opening Enchanted Pass Animal Rescue, Guzman would always take abandoned animals into her home and then rehabilitate them until she could find suitable owners. Although the last year has been a busy time for Guzman and her four children, who also help with the care of the animals, “it’s worth it in the end,” she says.

The need for pet adoptions increases as the economy worsens

EL PASO — Walking into the animal shelter it seems to me that most of the dogs are saying, “I’m excited there is a new face here today — maybe one will take me to a nice warm home, and maybe I will meet new friends too! Oh, please pick me. I promise I will be a good dog.”

They stare at visitors and wag their tails in eagerness to be touched.  They probably came from a home where they once were loved and played with every day. They are not used to sitting in a cage, lonely. Especially two beautiful Golden Retrievers I saw outside — two really big adult dogs that seemed so close to each other, as if they were brother and sister, and who knows maybe they are.