Office Manager Marcia Amaro loves working with the animals at the City of Socorro’s Animal Shelter. Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain

Founded originally in 1968 by Eiko Parsons and Christina Balk, the Animal Protective Association of Socorro has been helping stray and unwanted animals for more than 50 years. In 1972 the APAS opened the official Animal Shelter off of Airport road. Office Manager Marcia Amaro, a long time animal lover, has been with the organization for more than two years. She welcomed El Defensor Chieftain in to learn more.

Q: What brought you to this facility?

Answer: I saw a job opening and decided to apply. I’ve always loved animals so I thought why not come here.

Q: How is this shelter run?

A: If somebody wants to give up their dogs or cats we take them in. As always we take strays that we find and those that people bring in. We tag them into the system. Every morning the staff comes in and we clean for the animals and feed them. Then we post animals profiles on facebook for those that are lost or adoptable.

Q: Is it just cats and dogs?

A: For the most part yes. But sometimes we do get called out for skunks, snakes, squirrels and even bats every once and a while. Most of those we transfer to different facilities and places that they can be released back into the wild.

Q: Take us through how the adoption process works here.

A: Anybody can come in. We get people from Texas and Colorado come down to get their pet. As long as they have their I.D. with them. Adoption fees vary between sterilization fees. We also do transports to Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Texas. We work with a lot of different rescue groups that help us find different animals a home. Some places have specific needs in terms of breeds or cats versus dogs depending on local demand in those places.

Q: Does your facility euthanize?

A: We do. It’s usually animals that are sick or overly aggressive. Occasionally we will get an influx of pets coming in so unfortunately we have to put down one or two dogs based on the length of their time here. That is our last resort because that process hurts our feelings more than the people bringing the animals in. These dogs and cats are like family.

Q: Around how many animals do you take in a month?

A: It is around 100 depending on the time of year. Most animals we receive are strays.

Q: How are the animals housed?

A: We have our puppy and small dog area. There is a separate place for our mother dogs. Then we have our outside kennels for the medium to large dogs. Our cattery is also back there with an average of about 25 at a time.

Q: What type of animals do you have personal experience with?

A: Once I started living in Belen I got a lot of experience dealing with all kinds on my former boyfriend’s family farm. There were cows, horses, chickens, pigs, dogs. You name it.

Q: Were you born in Socorro?

A: Yes. I graduated from Socorro High.

Q: Why did you decide to move to Belen? What was that change of atmosphere like?

A: I was working at Blake’s Lotaburger here in town and got a job as a manager in Belen so I decided to make the move. It was a lot like it is here. My time in the food service industry was about seven years. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. And when I came back here the same thing happened. The people in this town are very kind to each other.

Q: Why did you leave Blake’s?

A: I had a baby girl, Agusta Amaro. She currently runs girls youth softball. So when I stopped working at Blake’s I started at Dr. Oates Dentistry as on office assistant before becoming a hygiene assistant. She was able to go to junior high here while I was working on my education in Belen before getting a job at the city as a Utilities Collection Supervisor.

Q: A few random questions, what is your favorite movie?

A: I don’t know. I love watching movies but I’d rather play softball, haha. I guess I love the Marvel movies right now.

Q: What is your favorite type of music?

A: I’m pretty eclectic, but I’m big on 90’s music of all kinds. From Spanish to country to rock.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: “Bless Me, Ultima”. I like that it’s based out of New Mexico and when you’re reading it you can picture that area.

Q: If there was some place you could live other than Socorro, where would it be?

A: I would probably go somewhere in Colorado, maybe in the Colorado Springs area. I like the cold. I would rather be cold than hot. I used to travel there a lot and it’s pretty similar to this area in terms of how people act here. They treat others with a nice demeanor.

Q: What is the best thing about living in Socorro?

A: People help each other out. Pretty much anybody you ask for help from they will do it. This community is always willing to lend a hand for somebody in need. We have really good community spirit.

Q: If there was something you could change about Socorro, what would it be?

A: Education. I have seen the sad part of kids who want to do things like write and they just can’t because they were never properly taught. I had to teach my daughter how to write a letter when she was older. But it’s not just Socorro it was in Belen as well. That would be the number one thing for me.

The Animal Shelter is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 7 to 11 a.m. If you are thinking about adopting a four legged friend or lost a pet step into Marcia’s office located at 100 Airport Rd. and she, along with the rest of the staff, will get you started.