Half of the animals that enter shelters in New Mexico end up being euthanized, and lawmakers are getting closer to agreeing on a measure that would charge a fee to pet food companies to help fund spay and neuter services across the state.
Under the proposals, one in the House and one in the Senate, companies would have to pay a $100 fee per label to sell their dog and cat foods in New Mexico. It would generate almost $1.5 million every year that would go toward helping low income families cover the costs of having their dogs and cats fixed.
Jessica Johnson is with Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico. She says it would ultimately cost families less than two dollars a year in higher pet food prices.
"We’re hopeful that [Gov. Martinez] will understand that what the bill will do over time is to save tax dollars and conserve money, which we know she’s certainly supportive of," Johnson said.
Critics of the measures say they would hurt consumers and discourage pet food companies from selling their products in New Mexico.
A spokesperson for the governor said in an email that lawmakers are wasting time passing tax increases they know she won't sign.
KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the Con Alma Health Foundation.
Correction: This report has been corrected to say that the bills haven’t yet been passed by both chambers of the state legislature and therefore haven't been sent to the governor's desk.