Animal Protection New Mexico nonprofit works for lasting change in Las Cruces, statewide

By Mike Cook

“People care about animals. It’s an issue that cuts across all kinds of demographics,” said Elisabeth Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection New Mexico (APNM).

APNM, a nonprofit that includes retired college professor David Steele of Las Cruces as a board member, has been an animal rights advocate since 1979.

“We work at all kinds of levels,” Jennings said, including education, direct services, advocacy and policy development, to “create a big tent for people…to bring lasting changes for animals”.

In 2021 alone, through the work of the APNM, the state awarded more than $200,000 for sterilization services in the state, Jennings said, about half of which went to providers in southern North America. New Mexico.

After retiring from the faculty at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, Steele wanted to “spend more time working on animal welfare issues,” he said. “I was looking for an animal organization to be part of that not only provided direct services to people and the animals they love, but also worked towards systemic change.”

Steele said he was “blown away by the vision and the efficiency, the commitment” of the APNM. When he received a phone call from APNM Board Chair Anne Coller to join the Board in January, “I thought very carefully about the matter for about three seconds and I I said ‘yes’.”

“We’re not just doing good in the moment, but we’re really working to try to create a more humane and compassionate environment for all living beings,” he said. “That’s where my passions lie.”

APNM works on behalf of cats and dogs; horses, mules and donkeys; pigs, rabbits and chimpanzees; and all domestic and wild animals known as APNM.

“We get involved at the community level,” said Jessi Princiotto, director of marketing and communications for the APNM.

APNM’s legislative arm, Animal Protection Voters (APV), funds and supports lobbying and legislative work on behalf of animals. One of his biggest victories was helping pass a bill in the 2020 New Mexico legislative session that “provides a meaningful and sustainable source of funding for affordable spaying/sterilization services at statewide,” the APNM said.

The nonprofit has helped pass “dozens upon dozens of laws over our history,” Jennings said. He helped ban cockfighting in the state, as well as horseback riding and the use of wildlife traps, snares and poison on public lands in New Mexico. He also worked with lawmakers to make extreme animal cruelty a fourth-degree felony.

During the 2023 legislative session, Jennings said the APNM wants to address the need for better care for animals during natural and man-made disasters; making bestiality a crime in New Mexico (sexual abuse of animals “is linked in many cases to sex crimes against children and other vulnerable populations,” Jennings said); and continue the fight against the slaughter of horses.

Here are some of the most important components of APNM:

  • The Animal Cruelty Hotline, 1-877-5-HUMANE (1-877-548-6263), operates 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to receive calls about abuse and neglect to animals across the state. The APNM, which responded to more than 700 calls in 2020, is working with local law enforcement to ensure reports are investigated and prosecuted where appropriate. APNM also offers rewards for advice on resolving animal cruelty cases.
  • Visit to participate in APNM’s annual fundraiser, August for Animals.
  • Through its CARE program, the APNM coordinates the temporary care of the animals of people affected by domestic violence. The program also works with domestic violence programs across the state to help human victims reunite with their pets once they are safe from harm.
  • Humane Communities projects across New Mexico bring neutering services, fencing, and animal welfare initiatives to communities through local partnerships.
  • Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The APNM continues its work to move all chimpanzees currently held at Holloman Air Force Base to the Alamogordo Primate Sanctuary Facility. “Despite a decision by the National Institutes of Health removing all chimpanzees from invasive research, the fight continues to move the remaining chimpanzees to the sanctuary,” the APNM said.
  • Through its Horse Protection Fund, the APNM is “helping to stop the slaughter of horses for good,” the nonprofit organization said. The APNM is “the only source of assistance for hundreds of families unable to pay for treatment for their horses”. It also provides assistance to horse sanctuaries in southern New Mexico and throughout the state.
  • Through The Animal Connection and The Animal Connection Jr., APNM “encourages kindness towards animals”,

An online human education program.

APNM also provides free training to animal control officers in rural communities across the state who cannot afford to provide it themselves.

“We are here to change the system to create a better situation for animals,” Jennings said. “When you make things better for animals, you also make things better for people who care about animals. We make our communities safer; we make them stronger.


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