Animal Welfare Department to Limit Intakes and Institute Scheduled Adoptions

New policies aimed at focusing AWD’s lifesaving efforts amid COVID-19 Pandemic

March 19, 2020

The City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department is asking people not to surrender healthy pets, following the guidance provided by the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA). NACA is advising animal shelters to take extra measures to reduce shelter intake to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19. (

Beginning Friday, March 20, the AWD will only accept emergency intake of stray animals, meaning animals in need of medical treatment because they are sick or injured and animals that may pose a risk to public safety. The intake desk will be open for emergency intake of stray animals from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the week. Animal Protection Officers will continue operations to address public safety concerns.

Individuals who find a stray pet that does not meet the emergency criteria are encouraged to do the following:

  • Maintain custody of the pet and look for its owner as allowed per the HEART Ordinance
  • Have stray pets scanned for a microchip at a local veterinary clinic or AWD location
  • Promote the pet on Pawboost, a free website and app to reunite stray pets with their owners
  • Report to AWD by calling 311 providing the Pawboost information so that AWD can promote the pet through its social media outlets

AWD will be accepting non-emergency stray pets on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., by appointment only.  Anyone who finds a stray pet should contact 311 to schedule an appointment.

Owners of animals who want to surrender their pet to the shelter are being asked to wait until pandemic concerns subside.

Additionally, AWD will be shifting to appointment-only adoptions in an effort to continue with its mission to save animal lives and also comply with social distancing recommendations. Anyone wanting to adopt a pet is asked to visit to see available pets and to call 311 to schedule an adoption appointment.

“We are facing an unknown future and we want to be ready to assist our community when needed,” said Adam Ricci, AWD Chief of Field Operations. “We’re asking Albuquerque to give new homes to the hundreds of animals in our care—whether that means a permanent adoption or shorter-term foster care.”

AWD will be waiving fees for all adoptions of available pets in care and in foster homes.  Standard adoption practices will still be in place, including background checks.

Lucky Paws and the Everyday Adoption Center will be closed during this time. All adoptions will take place at AWD’s Eastside and Westside facilities.

AWD shelters are also implementing enhanced cleaning procedures to maximize the safety of the public as well as that of employees, volunteers, and animals. AWD’s cleaning products and procedures are effective against animal pathogens as well as the novel COVID-19 virus.

Please visit to see available pets and then call 311 to schedule an adoption. To sign up as foster home please email [email protected].

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Albuquerque Animal Welfare is currently working with national leading organizations to continue to provide lifesaving measures while protecting the community and the pets in care.