Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Dave Harper

If you lose or find an animal in Placitas area, call the Animal Hotline at 867-6135. The Hotline is a nonprofit service run by Dave and January Harper to help reunite lost and found pets. Placing a Lost or Found in the Animal Hotline is a free service courtesy of the Signpost—we can sometimes even include a photo. Call Dave and January at 867-6135 or 263-2266 and leave a detailed message, or email the Animal Hotline at: (but call, too).


Large, collared Rottweiler-Shepherd mix. Headed toward old Placitas Library on October 22. #4069

Two dogs: Chow-Crosses, white with black faces, collared but number on collars does not accept calls. Seen around Placitas Community Center on Camino de las Huertas on October 30. #4070

Cat: Marmalade orange. Think it is a tomcat. Has been hanging around for about three months off of Camino Ojo de la Casa in Placitas. Neighbors would love to connect the cat with owner, if any, before weather is too cold. Seen October 31. #4071

Two dogs: Butterscotch and black, have collars, and one appeared to be female. They were very energetic and appeared to be very well taken care of. Seen November 5 off of Camino Rendodo in Placitas. #4072

Two dogs: Females, small- to medium-size (sixty pounds?), black with brown on legs. They appear to be mother and daughter. Have collars and rabies tags, but tags are not registered. Dogs were taken to Placitas Animal Rescue on November 9. #4073


Animal News


Lalo’s pet prints:

Lalo loves to receive your pet and animal photos to print in the Signpost.
Email them to “Lalo” at:
Or mail prints to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889 Placitas, NM 87043

Bobcat kitten plays in Placitas on a mosaic slab created by Laura Robbins.
—Photos by Steve Palmer, Placitas

Early morning shot of healthy adult bobcat in Placitas.
—Photo by Todd Rennecker

Two bobcats play cat-and-mouse on a newly installed patio wall in Placitas.
—Photos by Janet Angel



Two sheep on the road in Placitas
Photo credit: —Linda Poe

King-sized sheep seen wandering through Placitas

Signpost Staff
The wildlife buzz in Placitas buzzed even more recently with sightings of what people through might be Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep—long thought to have disappeared from the area.

Bighorns do live in the state with desert bighorns in the south and southwest and Rocky Mountain bighorns in the Sangre de Cristos in the north and the Gila high country in the southwest. But none are known to be in the Sandia Mountains, Ross Morgan of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish told the Signpost.

We used to have them in the Sandias, but that was years ago,” he said.

A November survey count fifty desert bighorns at the south end of the Manzano Mountains in Torrance and Valencia counties, Morgan added.

In late October, two rams with large curled horns were spotted in the La Mesa area of Placitas and later seen browsing near the Homestead Village shopping center. At last report, they had headed south across State Road 165.

“They were big,” said Linda Poe, who managed to capture a cell-phone image of the pair off Camino Barranca in La Mesa. “They looked like somebody’s pets. They were fat and well cared for.” Poe said they were bigger than the mountain sheep she’s photographed in Colorado’s high country.

Similar critters turned up about 15 miles to the east in Golden, although it’s not known if they’re at all related to the Placitas sighting.

“We were really surprised,” said Al Pielhau, an owner of the Henderson Store in Golden. “They were standing right in front of our store.”

Pielhau said he called a nearby ranch thinking the sheep might be strays from there. However, that ranch no longer runs sheep.

The Signpost sent Poe’s picture to another sheep rancher who said the animals appeared to be Barbados Blackbelly Sheep. Some of those domesticated animals are thought to be roaming in the Golden area, according to Game and Fish.

Since the animals seen in Placitas had horns, they are more likely American blackbelly sheep,         according to the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Association International website.

Augie Lucero, who raises Barbado and Blackbelly sheep in Placitas, said, from his experience, both blackbelly varieties can have horns. He also says none of the six he is raising have gone missing.

KOB's Steve Stucker and Miss New Mexico Marissa Livingston joined Watermelon Mountain Ranch for their annual Fur Ball fundraiser in November.

Sandoval County Sheriff Doug Wood at the Fur Ball with Lucy Romero (center) and WMR volunteer Paula Smith.

Interim Director of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Paul Caster passes out a Watermelon Mountain Ranch door prizes to this lucky winner and others.

Watermelon Mountain Ranch’s Fur Ball—a success for the animals

“Watermelon Mountain Ranch (WMR) 13th annual Fur Ball at the Marrriott Pyramid held November 14 was largest ever,” said Watermelon Ranch founder Sophia DiClemente. “Over five-hundred animal lovers came from all over the state and many came from Phoenix to enjoy the festivities. Animal lover Steve Stucker from KOB Channel 4 television was the Master of Ceremonies—a post he has enjoyed for the past eleven years.”

A no-kill animal facility in New Mexico was the dream of Placitans Sophia and Lee DiClemente in early 1996, shortly after they moved to the area. There were thousands of lost, abandoned, and stray animals being euthanized every year in New Mexico. Together with a group of like-minded volunteers, WMR began to rescue and find homes for animals in Sandoval County and Albuquerque. Since that time, their rescue efforts have expanded to most of the counties in Central and Northern New Mexico.

From its small beginnings to the present time, WMR has rescued and adopted out over 20,000 animals. The dream has become a reality, and WMR is noted as one of the premier not-for-profit facilities in the Southwest. The 10-acre facility has become New Mexico’s largest no-kill animal shelter.

WMR has involved the local community and youth organizations in an effort to reduce pet overpopulation through education. They have created programs targeted toward children and teens to gets them involved in working with animals and volunteering at the WMR facility and adoption sites. To learn more, visit

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