Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Public Safety

Conflicts over free-roaming horses move into the Legislature

~Bill Diven

Multiple actions in the Legislature look to set new rules on handling unclaimed horses, undo the effects of a court ruling in a Placitas case, and involve the Department of Game and Fish in what the state considers a livestock dispute.

In a ruling last year, the state Court of Appeals, in essence, found un-owned stray horses weren't livestock until they trespassed on private land where they could became the property of the landowner. Previously, the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) would have taken possession of any loose horse as estray livestock and auctioned it if no owner came forward.

The court decision came in a lawsuit filed against the NMLB by the Placitas-based Wild Horse Observers Association. The advocacy group argued that the un-owned horses were entitled to more protection under a state law governing wild horses with Spanish colonial bloodlines.

A District Court judge in Albuquerque dismissed the case twice, and a second appeal is pending.

Now, three bills—two in the Senate and one in the House—attempt to redefine what is and is not livestock, declare that any horse without signs of ownership must be treated as a wild horse, and return jurisdiction for all trespassing horses to the NMLB. Some provisions give animal-rescue groups the right to accept un-owned horses for a fee of no more than one hundred dollars.

Separately, a House memorial citing stray horses no longer considered livestock directs the Department of Game and Fish to study the free-roaming horses in the state and recommend possible management policies. The memorial directs the department to submit its report by December.

Yet another bill related to animal cruelty changes the definition of livestock to exclude wild horses and burros protected under state and federal laws.

By Signpost deadline none of the bills or the memorial had reached its first committee hearings. An analysis by legislative staff says some of the bills are in conflict with each other.

Firefighters raise money for children with cancer

The New Mexico Firefighters Event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has been raising money to help fund research to find a cure for cancers affecting children since 2007. The event, which features firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and others who shave their head in solidarity to these young victims has been held in Rio Rancho since 2010. This event is celebrating its tenth anniversary on March 12, from noon to 4:00 p.m., at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho (3001 Civic Center Circle Northeast).

The goal for this event is to raise $55,000. They currently have raised a little over $18,000. The public is invited to attend this event—whether or not you decide to shave your head, volunteer, or donate.

Don’t fall for the “Jury Duty Scam”

~Keith Elder, Lieutenant, Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office

Sandoval County-Metro area residents are again receiving telephone calls from a scammer—this time with a twist. They have resorted to using the name of an employee of the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office. The caller says he is Civil Sergeant Victor Rodriguez with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office, Civil Division. He tells the recipient of the call that they have failed to appear for jury duty and they must pay $1,500 by pre-paid credit card or an arrest warrant will be issued.

If anyone receives this call, do not provide any personal, banking or credit card information. Do not send pre-paid credit cards in the mail. The Sandoval County Sheriff's Office will not call you and demand money for payment of any type over the telephone or through email. All financial transactions with the Sheriff's Office are done at the Sheriff's Office in cash. You will receive a receipt at the time of transaction for the monies paid.

Currently, the Sheriff’s Office has received numerous calls and walk-ins from concerned citizens complaining about the calls. The Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into these calls and this scam.

If someone calls and says they are an employee with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office and demands money, note the telephone number and name of the caller. Hang up and call 505-891-7226 to report the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

Balancing Acts: a fall prevention class for seniors in Sandoval County

Starting on April 3, at 1:30 p.m., and running weekly for three-to-six months, there will be a free community service class coming to the Placitas Community Center, offered by Pat Thorpe, a Licensed Physical Therapist. Falls are on the increase in New Mexico. The NM Department of Health reports NM that fall-related injuries are the third leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and death for seniors ages 65 and older (behind poisoning and motor vehicle accidents). There will be a presentation detailing the course on March 19, at 9:00 a.m., at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.

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