The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Dave Harper (right) and friendAnimal Hotline is a nonprofit service to help reunite lost and found pets with their people.
P. O. Box 100, Placitas, NM 87043

If you find or lose an animal in Placitas or the surrounding area, call Dave Harper at the Animal Hotline. Placing a lost or found notice in the Hotline is a free service.


Lost cats!


• CAT: Black-and-white female cat lost from Tejon Canyon and Arroyo Venada Roads in Ranchos de Placitas on May 18. One-year-old spayed cat who busted out a screen from a window that night. #3191 (see top photo above.)

• CAT: Tannish/yellow, neutered male, short haired cat lost from the Village of Placitas on about May 20. Medium–sized cat about one year old with green eyes. #3193 (see lower photo above.)


• DOG: Yellow lab (or golden lab) found on Highway 550 in Bernalillo by the Giant. Male with brown leather collar. #3192


• KITTENS: Two black kittens, about one month old, available to good home(s). Found in the Village of Placitas as newborns. One female and one male, Manx (no tails). Being bottle-fed right now. Litter box trained. #3181 and #3182. Call Julie at 867-2277.

“Chabeli,” with her favorite ball—an official racquetball or “New Yawk Street Ball.” Photo by Susana Vincent. [Chabeli is also the dog who contracted and recovered from Vestibular Disorder. See Signpost story, May 2008. Click on “Back Issues” on the Signpost website at:]
Mijita, Chabeli’s sister. Photo by Vivian DeLara.


Lalo’s pet prints

Howdy! This month, we
got pictures of two really
good-looking dogs. I like
dogs and these photos.
Hope you do, too.

Mail or email your favorite pet photos, along with a caption and photo credit to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889, Placitas, NM 87043.
Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, if you would like them returned or email high resolution digital photos to:


Animal News


Mountain lion attacks child in Sandias

On May 19, the U.S. Forest Service closed the Balsam Glade Nature Trail and campground in the Sandia Mountains while Department of Game and Fish officers continued to investigate the May 17 apparent attack of a five-year-old boy by a mountain lion.

The attack occurred at approximately 7:30 p.m. on a hiking trail. An animal grabbed the young hiker by the head and carried him off the trail into the forest. The child’s father followed the animal into the brush, jumped on it and the animal dropped the child and ran away.

The young hiker was airlifted to UNM hospital, where he remained in satisfactory condition Monday morning. The boy and his father identified the animal as a mountain lion from pictures shown to them by the investigating officer.

On the following day, Department officers and wildlife biologists searched the area for evidence that would identify the animal involved in the attack. Tracking dogs specifically trained to find mountain lions were unable to find a scent Sunday, despite near ideal tracking conditions. Animals known to use the area include mountain lions, bobcats, bears, coyotes, and feral dogs.

Attacks by bears and cougars on humans are extremely rare in New Mexico, but have resulted in deaths. A mountain lion attacked and killed an eight-year-old boy in 1974 in Española. An elderly woman was killed and partially eaten by a black bear in August of 2001.

Department of Game and Fish officials later set snares after they found cougar tracks and droppings in the area. They said that the animal would be euthanized if officials determine that they have trapped the same animal that attacked the boy.

Earlier in May, a mountain lion killed a poodle in Las Cruces. Officers set a trap for the lion, but abandoned the trapping efforts when no trace of the lion was found several days after the attack. The Department of Game and Fish urges any individual attacked by a bear or lion to fight back, using any available objects. Victims are encouraged to strike back by hitting the animal in the nose or eyes.

For more information about mountain lions and living around large predators, as well as how to behave when encountering wild animals, visit the Department of Game and Fish website at


At thirteen years and one hundred pounds, Leopold the dog still enjoys exploring the Sandstone Bluffs south of Grants.

Forester’s log: Leopold retires from forestry career


He has been a constant companion. For the last five years, he has lain under my desk at the Tribal Forestry Field Office or been in the woods on field days. Before we worked for the tribe in Arizona, he accompanied me each summer visiting forest ecosystems across the Southwest. He was always a hit at environmental education workshops for school children. He’s been the best partner a forester could have. His name is “Leopold.” Leopold the dog, named for Aldo Leopold, the forester and author of Sand County Almanac. This book and other Leopold writings help mold much of the ethical and ecological underpinnings of forestry and related professions. At the mellow age of thirteen, my hundred-pound mutt has officially announced his retirement from a long career of forestry assistance. I am grateful he has made this decision, as my new job is located in a state building in Santa Fe, where dogs are not necessarily daily companions. Otherwise, I might have had to develop a disability that required dog assistance. Leopold, though, is the one developing disabilities.

A few weeks ago when we did the pack test to insure we were ready to fight fires for the season, he tagged along for the first mile but rode in the back of the test administrator’s truck for the next two miles. He stood, though, barking his encouragement as we struggled with our forty-five-pound loads to demonstrate that we could move the required three miles in less than forty-five minutes.

A mile is a good distance for Leo, and even with retirement, he and I sally forth from our woodland home daily to give the old bones a workout. We used to run for miles and miles.

It was on one of those runs that Leopold found the injured coyote. The animal was alive, but could not move his rear end. I would have raced right past his hiding space by the trail if Leopold had not pointed him out. With the help of a neighboring veterinarian, we transported the coyote to the Rio Grande Zoo vet clinic. For weeks, the zoo vets tried to help the poor animal, but finally determined he would not survive the paralysis.

Leopold always makes me more aware in the woods. I imagine that if I could have gone to the woods with the famous ecologist, I would have been shown many things I would miss if alone. Since Aldo Leopold died in 1948, and I was not born until eleven years later, I would have to suffice with reading his writings and exploring the woods with his namesake. Since then, the dog has introduced me to hidden fawns, mountain lion-killed carcasses, bear scat, and innumerable evidence of animal death in the forest environment. As a forester, I might have otherwise been content to stay focused on trees and plants.

Aldo Leopold never let his attention remain tree-focused. Although one of the early foresters, he is dubbed the father of modern wildlife management. Leopold was also a leader in wilderness establishment, and crafted the basis of land ethics. In 1924, he was writing about the importance of keeping fire in ponderosa pine forests.

We have moved home, to the yard that Leopold grew up in. He seems content to spend his days curled under a juniper tree, rather than under my desk. Neither of us misses the daily struggle to get his hundred-pound, arthritis-ridden torso into the back of my Subaru Forester. Although I miss the familiar breathing beneath my desk, I am grateful to find a faithful mutt waiting at the end of the day to take a walk and see what lessons wait for us.





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