- Station Info
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Friday, March 14, 2014 - 5:59pm
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office is one of the few agencies equipped to handle animal hoarding cases that require specific skills and personnel to investigate.
The department has a forensic veterinarian on staff that is able to evaluate animals on-scene.
"Our full-time forensic veterinarian is in high demand for such cases," said DASO Spokesperson Kelly Jameson.
Jameson said some smaller agencies throughout the state will call the department for help if they do not have the resources to conduct an animal hoarding investigation.
Some cases, like the one of Felix Moriel in Chaparral, can be challenging due to the number of dogs.
Otero County had to trap and evaluate a total of 268 dogs when they were called to the property September 2013.
Jameson said in those cases investigators and animal control officers have to be extra cautious not knowing the animals' condition.
"They have no idea if they're sick or in need of medical attention and now they're chasing them," she said.
When other agencies do ask for help, the department usually sends the forensic vet, an animal cruelty investigator and a supervisor.
Depending on the scope of the case, Jameson said they will send one to three animal control officers to assist.
The group is then able to conduct a full investigation in whatever region and even euthanize animals on the scene if necessary.
"Dona Ana County is very fortunate to have a resource like that," she said.