Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Animal shelter anticipates its next 25 years | My View

Even in uncertain times when the pandemic took another turn last summer, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society continued to host their annual fundraising gala, Barkin ‘Ball.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Santa Fe’s most popular animal event, which is crucial in raising the funds necessary to keep Santa Fe’s entry-free animal sanctuary without killing. Weekly meetings became daily conversations while the events committee listened to and assessed updates from city, state, and national officials. However, the official green light was only given days before the start of the event.

Barkin ‘Ball, which annually attracts over 400 supporters to our hometown home, has only allowed 150 donors this year to keep everyone safe. The pandemic allowed us to think outside the box, however, and for the first time in over a decade, we brought Barkin ‘Ball home to the shelter’s main campus to keep the advantage.

We built a 30 meter long tent in front of the shelter and kept two sides wide open to allow air to circulate. Of course there was a brief rain shower, but that caused the temperatures to drop to make the summer evening cool and to offer us a breathtaking sunset as a backdrop.

Roddey Burdine received this year’s Raphael Award. A long-time loyal supporter of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, Burdine was one of the original visionaries who saw the need for a world-class Santa Fe animal shelter, and he was instrumental in making it happen. He truly embodies our mission to support animals, save lives, and instill compassion.

With the help of Mayor Alan Webber and Councilor Signe Lindell, both true animal rights activists, Barkin ‘Ball met and exceeded our goal and made the 25th anniversary a huge success.

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter has been the Santa Fe Home Animal Shelter for over 80 years and will be introducing a new CEO over the next several months. Before doing this, however, we have to contact the current managing director, Dr. Jennifer Steketee, who will officially retire this fall. Dr. Steketee started out as a veterinarian at the animal shelter almost nine years ago and then became medical director before taking over management in 2015.

Together with the board of directors, she successfully managed and led the non-profit organization out of debt in order to make the emergency shelter sustainable again. Dr. Steketee’s strong leadership and knowledge guided staff and volunteers through unprecedented times. We are happy to say that the shelter has not been closed to the animals in need once in the last 18 months, and we all thank her for her guidance.

We should all be proud of what our community has built for the injured, neglected, and homeless animals of Santa Fe County. But our work doesn’t end. As you may have seen on the news, our shelter has reached critical capacity more than four times this summer. Animals are still roaming the streets, and unfortunately many arrive injured and sick at the shelter.

With the help of our community, we will continue to be there for all unwanted puppies, injured dogs, neglected kittens, and newborn kittens that need 24/7 care here in Santa Fe and New Mexico. Always this morning! Thank you, Santa Fe, for your support.

Caren Shiozaki is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. In her job she is the Chief Information Officer and e-Discovery specialist. She is a passionate advocate for animal welfare; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (MINT); and girls and women issues.

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