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Animal Welfare Employee Takes Great Care of Abused Fowl

Employee of the Week: Animal Welfare Department Employee Sarita Silva

Mayor Richard J. Berry awarded Sarita Silva with the Animal Welfare Department as this week’s Employee of the Week for her exceptional care of numerous roosters and hens rescued from a suspected cockfighting ring.

 In June 2016, the Westside Animal Shelter’s Field Division brought in approximately 50 roosters and 10 hens that were thought to be used in a cockfighting ring. Cockfighting is a blood sport in which spectators gamble on the outcome of a fight between two roosters that usually ends in untreated and sometimes fatal injuries to the animals. The birds are then discarded as trash. Engaging in cockfighting and possession of cocks for fighting have been deemed as felonies in the State of New Mexico.

Since the City’s Animal Welfare Department has taken custody of the animals, Silva has spent countless hours caring for the rescued roosters and hens. Beyond this, Silva has volunteered on her days off to transport the birds to Edgewood for the birds to be adopted at a poultry swap. A poultry swap is an event that allows people to buy, sell and swap farm animals. As of late August, the last 14 of the roosters and hens had been adopted.

According to Silva’s supervisor, Natalie Knapik, Silva is a dedicated employee to the City’s Animal Welfare Department that goes above and beyond her typical job requirements. She is also described as displaying a great deal of care and compassion toward the animals that are brought into the Westside Animal Shelter. Silva has done an exceptional job caring for the battered animals, looking for a better, more humane life. It is for these reasons that Sarita Silva was recognized as this week’s City of Albuquerque’s Employee of the Week.


 For the calendar year 2016, the Animal Welfare Department’s live release rate was exceptionally high at 88.8%. Live release means animals that were under the department shelters’ care were adopted, rescued, transferred, or reclaimed as opposed to euthanized. At the same time, the department’s euthanasia rate was at an all-time low of 9.7%. The remaining number of animals not euthanized or released live represent what is at the shelters today.