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 doptions for found animals are run in the column for free.

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


All the lost animals reported this month got back to their owners. Thank-you to Susan, Gary, Paul, Nan, and Martha.


Cat—Slender male neutered black-and-white cat spotted in the village of Placitas, north of the Presbyterian church, first week of February. #1889

Dog—Friendly brown pit bull seen wandering confusedly on Highway 165, about one mile west of the village of Placitas, on February 3. #1877

Animal News

Women face racketeering, forgery charges in illegal hunting-operation case

RESERVE, NM—Two Catron County women were arrested in February and charged with more than sixty felonies combined, in connection with a hunting operation that allegedly involved racketeering, forged licenses, fraud, outfitting without a license, and other illegal activities.

Rita N. Floyd, fifty-three, and Celeste D. Core, fifty-four, both of Pleasanton, New Mexico, are named in criminal complaints filed in the Seventh Judicial District Court, in Reserve. Floyd was arrested and jailed in Sonora, California, where she currently is on probation for a previous felony conviction. Core was arrested in Pleasanton on a no-bond warrant and booked into the Catron County Jail, in Reserve. The two women also are charged with a combined 134 misdemeanors in connection with their roles as owners and operators of Get Gold Adventures and Outfitters, which advertised and sold hunts in New Mexico and Arizona.

The criminal complaints allege that Floyd and Core forged licenses and sold hunts for deer, elk, bear, mountain lions, bobcats, and turkeys to numerous out-of-state hunters on eBay, over the telephone, and by e-mail. The fraud charges include allegations that after receiving money for the hunts, Floyd and Core did not provide a hunt at all, did not provide the services advertised, or did not provide the type of hunt that was promised. The Catron County Sheriff’s Office, the district attorney’s office, the New Mexico State Police, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assisted the department of game and fish in the case.

The arrests followed an investigation by the department that began in October 2004, when two Minnesota hunters noticed something wrong with their licenses and called a conservation officer. The case is the second in less than a month in which felony charges were filed in connection with racketeering and license forgery.

On January 25 a Marquez, New Mexico, husband-and-wife outfitting team was indicted by a Cibola County grand jury on sixty-six felony charges in connection with an alleged operation in which counterfeit licenses for trophy elk hunts were sold to out-of-state hunters.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish encourages citizens to report poaching and other wildlife-related crimes by calling the department’s toll-free Operation Game Thief Line, 1- 800-432-4263. Callers can remain anonymous and may receive rewards if charges are filed.

Eight elk euthanized near Clayton as precaution against livestock diseases

CLAYTON, NM—The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has euthanized eight free-ranging but apparently captive-bred elk discovered on private ranch lands near here in February.

Primarily, the action was necessary to prevent the potential transmission of chronic wasting disease, brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, and other diseases to wild elk and livestock in the vicinity. Necropsies of the animals are being conducted at the state veterinary laboratory, and the animals will be tested for all wildlife and livestock diseases.

Lief Ahlm, northeast area chief for the department, said five adult elk among the eight euthanized had holes in their ears, indicating that at one time they had carried ear tags. "The animals were also very tame and not afraid of people," Ahlm said. "We don't know where they came from, but they obviously are not wild."

The investigation into the appearance of these animals is continuing. New Mexico currently has very strict regulations on the importation of elk. The elk were removed from the wild with the full cooperation of the landowners where the elk were found and Dr. Steve England, the New Mexico state veterinarian.

"We just can't risk the health of our one hundred thousand wild elk when we find suspect animals like this," Ahlm said.

"Dr. England and other representatives of the livestock industry agree."

Hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation are a $1 billion industry in New Mexico, Ahlm said.

Seabird may drop off the endangered list

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in October that it will move forward with plans to remove the marbled murrelet, a small seabird, from under the protective wing of the Endangered Species Act.

The robin-sized bird, which lays its eggs on the moss-covered branches of old-growth trees, has hampered Northwest logging for more than a decade. Scientists say the species is sliding toward extinction in Oregon, Washington and California. However, the Bush administration has concluded that the birds in these states do not differ enough from more numerous murrelets in Canada and Alaska to merit protection on their own.

Biologists in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional office in Portland, Ore., said last year that there were clear enough differences between murrelet populations to necessitate the protection of the birds in the Northwest. Their draft report stated that the loss of any murrelet populations would "compromise (the species’) long-term viability."

But Craig Manson, assistant secretary of the Department of Interior for fish, wildlife and parks, reversed the findings. The language about "long-term viability" was deleted from the final report, which argued that new wildlife safeguards in Canada would be sufficient to save the species.

Canadian scientists are skeptical, however. "I don’t think the U.S. can expect Canada to provide extra murrelets," says Alan Burger, a murrelet biologist at the University of Victoria, "because ours are in trouble as well."

High Country News ( covers the West's communities and natural-resource issues from Paonia, Colorado.





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