City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department is Agency of the Year After Winning National Award

Major turnaround of previously troubled agency a boon to animals and public safety

The City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department (AWD) continued its major turnaround under Mayor Keller’s administration when it was named the National Animal Care and Control Association’s (NACA) Agency of the Year.  

Mayor Tim Keller said, “Animal Welfare has come a long way from when we walked into the City, and this national recognition is a well-deserved milestone on the path to even greater care for animals in our community. Restoring AWD’s field division to work hand-in-hand with the community and the police and fire departments is part of our efforts to make the public safer. Many other cities recognize the connection between animal abuse and other crimes and this award is a reflection of leadership right here at home that is dedicated to meeting our community’s needs.”

The award recognizes a department for its quality of work, level of community engagement, and effective training.

Over the last two years under new leadership, AWD has:

  • Eliminated a serious officer shortage,
  • Closed out a 2,300-call backlog,
  • Reduced Priority One response times from one hour to 23 minutes,
  • Instituted high-quality public-safety training improvements, and 
  • Improved partnerships with Police, Fire, Environmental Health and the NM Livestock Board to enhance response capabilities. 

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by the NACA,” said Animal Welfare Department Director Danny Nevarez. “We’ve overseen many changes over the last two years. I am proud of what our Chief, Field Operations Adam Ricci and his team have accomplished, and our team has even higher goals moving forward.”


The Animal Protection Services at the Animal Welfare Department is a critical piece of keeping animals safe and encouraging responsible pet ownership. The division enforces city ordinances pertaining to the care, treatment, impound, handling and quarantine of domestic animals and investigates reports of animal cruelty, abandonment and nuisances.