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).


DOG: Husky, two-year-old male, lost near the mid-school in Bernalillo (off Camino Don Tomas) on December 7. He was wearing a black collar when lost. #3838


Dog: Border Collie found in Bernalillo (Santa Ana Rd.) not far from the Rio Grande, just north of Hwy 550 on November 27. Female, well-mannered and well-groomed, young, red and white. #3836

Dog: Husky/Shepherd cross, juvenile, found on Camino de las Huertas, about a half mile north of the Village of Placitas on December 8. He doesn’t look like a stray. #3839.

Dog: Pit Bull, older male, found southeast of the Village of Placitas (near Dome Valley) in early December. Very sweet dog with trimmed ears. #3840

CAT: Tortoise-shell kitten (black, tan and brown) about six months old, found in Placitas West on December 26. A little skittish, but friendly. #3843.



DOG: Pitbull named "Panda.1 year old female who is full of energy and good on the leash. She is in need of a new home. Call Gary at Placitas Animal Rescue 867-0004. #3841.  (See photo above)

for adoption

DOG: Chihuahua, 3 year old female. She is shy at first, but quite sweet! She was dumped on the Forest Loop in Placitas. Call Gary at Placitas Animal Rescue 867-0004 if you're interested in giving her a good home. #3842. (See photo above)


Animal News

Lalo’s pet prints:

Lalo's Pet Prints

Raptors fall

—Barb Belknap

On December 7, two Placitas residents found a dead owl at the base of the transformers and wires that serve the Placitas West neighborhood’s well house. One of them, Lilith Ren, told the Signpost via email that it appeared that the owl was electrocuted, since it was whole and there was no blood. She offered the animal Reiki and prayer and wondered what to do with “the magnificent carcass.” She said, “It’s been amazing seeing this creature so close up, appreciating the furry feet and all that I have only seen in books before.” She sent a group email to her neighbors about the incident.

Her neighbor, Bunny Bowen, suggested to Ren that she contact Peggy McCormick of Wildlife Rescue Inc. of NM. McCormick responded quickly and picked up the owl body that afternoon. After examination, she determined, based on size, that the owl was female, and that the death was indeed electrocution. She advised Ren and Bowen as private individuals to report the incident to PNM, the local electricity utility power company. According to McCormick, PNM is required to service the utility poles to prevent this kind of thing from happening to birds under their Avian Protection Plan. McCormick reported it to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, as her agency is required to do.

Bowen contacted PNM and spoke with Stephen Stiletto, a wildlife biologist, who said he would make this incident a high priority to examine and cover poles in their areas and confirmed that PNM has a power-line program for the safety of large birds. He expected that a crew would be out dealing with it on December 17 or 18. Bowen said, “They were going to look at other poles in the area, too, as well as the three on our property by the Placitas West Water Coop well house.” It is not certain at this time if that work has been done.

The next day, McCormick received another call from Bianca Härle whose neighbor, Mary, had found a red-tailed hawk fallen near the same location in Placitas West. She had seen the hawk earlier on the side of the road with a rat in her beak and then later on the other side “acting weird.” At first thought, McCormick concluded that “This beautiful, healthy adult female hawk died a horrible death . . . she ingested rat poison.” However, after doing a necropsy on the bird, McCormick realized the bird’s death was caused by impact trauma, as if struck by a car, and that it hadn’t been poisoned after all.

Nevertheless, McCormick has seen too often the agonizing effects of rat poisons on raptors that ingest poisoned rats—rats that have ingested Warfarin or similar rat poison put out by humans. McCormick said, “What most people don’t realize when they put out poison is that they aren’t just killing the pests, they are killing anything and everything else up the food chain. If the red-tail had eaten a poisoned rat, the poison would start killing her as soon as she swallowed her first bite. A smaller bird would have died within a few minutes; it would have taken several hours of agony for this raptor to die.” McCormick suggests that when dealing with pest problems, using rodenticides is a bad idea. She said, “Alternatives are snap traps, the Zapper, a bucket with a few inches of water—anything but poison!”

According to Nature—International Weekly Journal of Science, lawmakers in Canada and the United States are making moves to restrict the use of rodent poisons based on blood thinners, as studies show that the toxins accumulate in birds of prey and other animals. The chemicals in question are anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs), which work like the human blood-thinning drug Warfarin. Warfarin is itself used as a rat poison, but is what environmental toxicologists call a first-generation AR, less lethal and less prone to bioaccumulation than its second-generation successors.

Ecologists have long known that pesticides such as DDT can build up in, and sometimes kill, animals that prey on target pests, but until recently, scientists had not realized the degree to which this can also happen with second-generation ARs. “It seems that every time anybody goes out and gets a bunch of dead birds of prey and looks at their livers, they find surprisingly high incidence of these compounds,” says John Elliott, an ecotoxicologist at Environment Canada in Delta.

A few years ago, a survey asked consumers whether they knew that rodenticides could affect non-target wildlife. “They had no idea,” she says. But once alerted, their response was, “Now that I know, I’m going to be a lot more careful about how I use them.”


As the sun goes down
And the soft blues of twilight
Toward night
The nocturnes start to stir

Thruout the night
They move about
Their paths intertwining
Weaving patterns
Over the textured landscape

Against the backdrop
Of the blackness of the night
Washed with the silver light of the moon
Each nocturne lays down streaks
And patches of a unique color

The great horned owl
From its daytime perch
Deep within the shadows
Of the cottonwood bosque
Ruffles its feathers
And opens its yellow eyes

As it flies silently
From the branch of the cottonwood
To the top of a ponderosa snag
It strings a yellow thread

A yellow line
Transecting lines below of emerald green
Traces of the fires in the eyes of the wolves
As the pack moves out to hunt the night

Coyotes spin ribbons
Of a lighter shade of green
And bobcats
Strands of rich golden hues

Moles and mice twist tight tangles
Of grays and browns
As they scurry about
And the cottontails
Fluffs of white

Thruout the night
As the nocturnes move about
Splashes of red

Splashes of red
Where lines of yellow
And green
And gold
Intersect lines of gray
And brown
And white

The tapestry of the nocturnes
By the deep blues
Of late twilight
And early dawn

                        —Jim Fish, Placitas



A tribute to the best dog on the planet

—Nancy M. Lanzilla

The best dog on the planet died today. I first met him and his littermates when they were four weeks old. I was to choose between the puppies, each one cuter than the next. I held each puppy in my hands, and when I held Buffy, he wrapped his tiny paws around my fingers, and I fell in love.

As he grew, Buffy began displaying just how smart he was. When playing catch he would bring the ball to each and every person so no one would be left out. He would put his Teddy face down in his water bowl, so he could get a drink, and oddly enough he could search through all the motel room doors and find our room without even being able to read. Buffy had a human side right from the start.

By the time he was two years old, he had flown across the country a half dozen times. When Buffy wasn’t able to travel with me, friends would care for him. I would call them from the airport and alert them I was on my way back, and they would tell Buffy. They had a large picture window in front of their house, and when I drove up, I would see Buffy there in the lower left-hand corner of the window, tail wagging frantically, waiting for me.

And, did I tell you Buffy even spoke? Well, it was more like a whimper—with expression. He signaled me when he needed anything. Friends have told me I make the same whimper when I am deep in thought. How our lives grew together and how we learned from one another.

I wonder how Buffy and I were able to bridge all the mental and physical gaps between our two species. But we did, and we seemed to complement one another’s differences. I can’t help but wonder why so many humans who have so much more in common are unable to love and respect one another as Buffy and I did. At the end of Maggie’s life in Million Dollar Baby directed by Clint Eastwood, Maggie finally learns that “Mo Chisel” embroidered on her boxing robe means: “My Darling, My Blood.” Likewise, Buffy and I came from the same source and belonged to one another. I don’t know if I could ever love another dog the way I loved Buffy or if another dog could love me as much as Buffy did.

As time went on and Buffy got older, I never regretted spending the time and energy caring for him. The two of us stayed as close to one another as possible during those days. I was so grateful to be there for him. And, when the end came, there he was in his little blue scarf with eyes that seemed to look right into my soul. I held him in my arms and told him what a joy and comfort he had been to me and how very, very much I loved him.

And now, all I have left of him is a lock of fur and a broken heart. There will be no gentle snoring next to me in bed, no one running to greet me as if I was the most important person in the world and only an empty space under my desk instead of a soft warm dog. Now, wherever I am, I am there alone.

When I think of my next life, I think of seeing my deceased friends and family once again. And, then, there will be Buffy, waiting in the lower left-hand corner of the group, tail wagging frantically, and I know he’ll be waiting there just for me. Buffy was truly the love of my life.

Expect roadblocks in deer winter range

—Clint Henson

The Department of Game and Fish will conduct roadblocks throughout the state in wildlife wintering areas to collect harvest data and to apprehend wildlife law violators. When deer gather in wintering grounds during the mating season, they can be vulnerable to illegal hunting and other human disturbances.    

Conservation officers also will check for compliance with provisions of the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Act, and drivers of vehicles hauling wood will be asked to produce documentation as required by the Forest Conservation Act. 

To report a wildlife-law violation, contact a local Department of Game and Fish office or call toll-free: 1-800-432-GAME (4263). Callers can remain anonymous and earn rewards for information leading to charges being filed.

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