The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Dave Harper (right) and friendAnimal Hotline is a nonprofit community service for lost/found pets in Placitas and Bernalillo
P. O. B. 812, Placitas, NM 87043
To report a lost or found animal, Call Dave Harper at 867-6135 or e-mail

People with pets for adoption or sale should place a Signpost classified ad or consider a $5 donation to the Animal Hotline to run the information in this column. Lost and found listings and adoptions for found animals are run in the column for free.

For lost/found pets in Placitas and Bernalillo, call Dave Harper at 867-6135


Cat: Black-and-white shorthaired neutered male cat lost from the village of Placitas in late April. Lost from Camino los Altos & Camino de la Ciruela. Two-year-old named Spot. #1924

Dog: Light-brown half Chihuahua-half bichon male dog lost the last week of April from the village of Placitas. Wearing flea collar. #1925

Cat: Grey tortoiseshell female cat lost from Tejon Canon Road, in Ranchos de Placitas, on May 19. About ten years old. Green eyes, curled tail. #1932


Cat: White shorthaired cat seen a number of
times in May about a mile south of the village of Placitas (Dome Valley). #1926

Dog: Full-grown black Lab with red collar spotted running loose in Sundance Mesa (western Placitas area) in early May. #1929

Dog: Jack Russell cross, white with reddish-brown spots, about three months old, found near the Placitas Community center May 13. #1930

Cat: Orange-and-white adult cat found west of the village of Placitas, just north of Highway 165, on May 20. Taken to Rio Rancho Animal Control. #1933

Animal News

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

Watermelon opens new clinic and wellness center

Watermelon is pleased to announce the opening of their new Spay-and-Neuter Clinic and Wellness Center and thanks everyone who provided funding to make this clinic a reality. This facility will provide services to all of the Watermelon animals, Rio Rancho Animal Control, and many other shelters and private breed-specific rescue groups. They will not be providing this service to the public.

Watermelon welcomes Dr. F. Schlesinger from Long Island, New York, as Chief Medical Officer for the Clinic, with services also provided by Dr. R. Blake and other relief veterinarians.
The staff at Watermelon Mountain Ranch urges you to help them get control of the unwanted pet population and see your personal veterinarian to have your animal spayed and neutered.

A fed bear is a dead bear

Dry weather and hungry bears are a bad combination in areas where population centers are expanding into bear country, and as residents of Santa Fe and Albuquerque discovered last month, bears are the losers in almost every encounter with humans.

Early on a Wednesday morning, a young male bear was struck and killed by a car on Interstate 40 east of Albuquerque. The following Tuesday, another young bear had to be tranquilized and removed from a residential neighborhood in south Santa Fe. Biologists with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish were not surprised by the incidents and warned that this spring’s very dry conditions in the high country may force more bears into towns in search for food.

“If the state continues to be dry, there’s a distinct possibility we’ll be seeing more visits from bears as they range farther for food this year,” said Rick Winslow, the department’s large-carnivore biologist. “We’re already seeing the familiar signs: dumpsters overturned, trash spread into the hills, dogs barking all night. And it could increase later when the fruit trees come on in the valleys.”

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish encourages everyone to follow some simple precautions that can minimize the chances of unwanted encounters with bears. Take a quick walk around your property and remove any bear attractants, such as pet food, grills, and unsecured trash cans. In years of severe drought, it may be wise to drain fountains and pools that are not only drinking sources, but also become bear bathtubs.

If you see a bear or have a problem bear visiting your residence, please contact your local Department of Game and Fish conservation officer. Officers will respond to most complaints, especially if there is a public-safety concern. Sometimes, however, residents will be advised to bring children and pets inside, and usually the bear will leave within a few hours.

The Department of Game and Fish is working with local authorities to better manage trash collection to reduce potential conflicts around dumpsters. In Raton, for example, the city has agreed to pick up trash twice a week and residents are encouraged not to place garbage in the dumpsters until pickup days. This reduces the amount of time trash is available to bears.

The best way to handle problem bears is to help them stay wild by removing anything that may attract them. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear. People who make food available to bears are in effect training the bear to return again and again to that food source. It is a learned behavior that often is impossible to break, and in many cases is fatal to the bear. In New Mexico, problem bears are tagged the first time they are trapped and relocated. If they have three serious encounters with humans, they are killed.

Five Mexican wolves to be released in Gila

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will assist in the translocation of five federally endangered Mexican Wolves in the Gila National Forest within the next three months as part of the department’s continued participation in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program.

The department’s recently hired wolf biologist, Saleen Richter, will assist with the releases and ensure they are conducted according to current restoration rules and with close interaction among the department, other agencies, and landowners and livestock operators in the release areas. Richter’s involvement is part of the department’s added commitment to work more closely with people in wolf release and restoration areas.

“We are aware of the need for caution in releasing wolves that have been captured elsewhere,” Richter said. “It is important that we work to release wolves that will adapt to their new surroundings without conflict.”

Two wolves—a male and a pregnant female—will be released in the eastern side of the Blue Range Recovery Area in late April, just prior to birthing, to increase the likelihood the wolves will remain in the area. The site was selected because the release was acceptable to the owners of the closest private land and the current grazing permittee. The site also is a considerable distance from the San Carlos Reservation, where the wolves were removed in 2005 because of boundary issues.

In June, two female wolves and one male wolf will be released in one of four approved sites within the Gila Wilderness. The females were captured in the Gila National Forest in 2005 as pups, when the Francisco Pack was removed from the area because of livestock-depredation issues. The male was captured outside its boundary in 2005 following a single depredation incident. The exact release site of the three wolves will be determined after other wolf packs have established dens, to maximize the distance between the translocated wolves and existing packs.

Under the rules of the wolf restoration program, Mexican wolves can be released in New Mexico only if they previously were released in Arizona and have experience in the wild. Existing rules prevent direct releases of wolves into New Mexico that have not been previously captured for management purposes. Requirements to remove all wolves outside of the Gila and Apache National Forests at the request of the landowner continue to result in a supply of previously captured wolves for relocation into the Gila Wilderness and surrounding areas. The participating agencies in wolf reintroduction developed recommendations to address these limitations during the project’s five-year review, and are waiting upon response from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding implementation of those measures.

An official end-of-year count in 2005 documented the wolf population to be at least thirty-five to forty nine endangered Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico since the federal wolf reintroduction program began, in 1998, according to the Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Oversight Committee, which includes representatives of federal, state, and county agencies. To view the wolf distribution map, which contains the most recent three months of wolf locations taken from aerial surveys, please visit the Arizona Game & Fish Web site,, and scroll to the Distribution link on the Mexican Wolf Conservation and Management page.

People interested in the interagency Mexican-wolf project’s monthly status report can receive it via e-mail at no cost by logging onto the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site,, and filling out the appropriate information.

Conference examines link between animal abuse and domestic violence

The third annual Governor’s Conference on the Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence will be held on June 12 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Albuquerque. The focus of this year’s conference will be Year of the Child. Studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology clearly show that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. Children often witness animal abuse by batterers who will target animals to demonstrate power and control over the family.

The conference seeks to educate and train people from various antiviolence organizations on the cycle of violence in our society impacting both people and animals. Additionally, the conference aims to promote and facilitate cooperative action within New Mexico’s communities so that we can respond promptly to incidents of animal cruelty and human violence and assist all victims immediately.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Ken Shapiro, codirector of the Animals and Society Institute, who will speak on the AniCare Child model, an assessment-and-treatment approach for childhood animal abuse. AniCare Child is the first published treatment approach to focus exclusively on juvenile cruelty to animals.

The conference is free and open to the public. Those who work with children and animals are encouraged to attend. The event is sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
The conference will be at the UNM Continuing Education Center, 1634 University NE, Albuquerque. To register, call 505-660-5609 or e-mail to request a conference flyer and registration form.





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