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


Dog: Shorthaired male Rottweiler cross, tail not docked. Crossed with husky or Lab. Lost from about three miles north of the village of Placitas, off Camino de las Huertas. #1905


Two dogs: Two dogs spotted running loose in Placitas Trails in late March. One is quite big, possibly a pit-bull cross, with a cord around his neck. Other is a very slender dog that looks like a whippet. #1912 and #1913

Dog: Tan-colored female mutt found in Bernalillo, just east of the Rio Grande and a little north of Highway 550. Really nice dog. Found the last week of March. #1914

Dog: Little black Labrador puppy found near the village of Placitas end of March. About two months old. #1915

Thanks very much to Kelly, Terra, Gary and Michelle for helping get pets back home!

Animal News

Hotline Cat

Jen Harper: May 1988—April 2006

Watermelon Mountain Ranch groundbreaking

Watermelon Mountain Ranch breaks ground. (Left to right) Deputy Chief Ken Guth, Lieutenant Greg Connors, Larry Challenger, founder Sophia DiClemente, Molly, the dog—WMR Ambassador

Watermelon Mountain Ranch begins construction of permanent facility

Watermelon Mountain Ranch held their groundbreaking ceremonies on March 29, launching the start of Phase One construction for their permanent facility. Included in Phase One of construction will be a Canine Cottage, which will hold forty to fifty dogs; a cattery, which will hold up to forty cats; an administration building; and completion of a spay-and-neuter clinic. Future construction will include additional cottages, catteries, a therapeutic riding center, and a humane-education center.

To kick off the festivities, Commissioner Jack Thomas was given the honor of digging the first bit of ground with a gilded shovel. “Jack Thomas and Pattie Thomas are longtime animal supporters who have made significant strides in the community for animal welfare,” said Sophia DiClemente. “The Canine Cottage will be named after them in their honor.”

Commissioner Jack Thomas and county officials generously contributed $100,000 to the construction of the cottage, which will house adoptable Sandoval County canines. This contribution was part of a gift presented to Sandoval County by Intel.

Present at the well-attended event were Deputy Mayor Mike Williams, Commissioner Donnie Leonard, numerous local officials, and well-wishers.

Raptor rapture

The sharp-shinned hawk came in low over the ridge of the Sandia Mountains and circled again and again and again. A dozen pairs of eyes followed its every swoop and glide with intense satisfaction.

This Saturday scene is repeated daily for two months at the southern gateway to the Sandias, as HawkWatch conducts its annual spring migration count of raptors.

Devon Batley, field coordinator, explained the migration count to the group, which included a UNM graduate sociology class that was celebrating a day out of the classroom with a bottle of wine.

She showed off a one-pound Cooper’s hawk, captured and banded moments earlier. It was held in a tube, where it lay quiescent, then was extracted to show off for the crowd. Tossed into the air, it flew merrily on its way.

The HawkWatch spectacle lasts seven days a week until May 5, and the public is always invited.

Since early February, volunteers have tabulated 2,193 raptors, including 311 Cooper’s hawks, 166 sharp-shins, and 287 golden eagles.

This is just past the midpoint of the observation season, when the migration is close to its peak. “The total is pretty close to normal,” Batley said.

Last year, the volunteers tabulated 3,085 raptors, including turkey vultures, ospreys, bald and golden eagles, northern harriers, northern goshawks, Swainson’s hawks, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, merlins, and peregrine falcons.

This is HawkWatch’s twenty-second year in the area. In addition to the spring season in the Sandias, it conducts fall observations near Capilla Peak, in the Manzano Mountains.

To get to the Sandia site, take Route 66 through Tijeras Canyon, go north at the small brown hiking sign through the Monticello subdivision, follow signs and park where the dirt road ends. The trail goes north for a short distance, then the HawkWatch path splits off to the right and climbs the ridge to the east. (The main trail straight ahead continues on to Three Gun Spring.) The climb is fairly steep but not difficult and takes about fifty minutes. Coming down, you can run all the way in fifteen minutes.

For more information, call 255-7622.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Independent, the home newspaper for the East Mountains and Estancia Valley since 1999.

Jaguar from protected area in Mexico photographed in New Mexico

In April, the Albuquerque BioPark’s Rio Grande Zoo presented a special lecture, “Jaguar Conservation.” Coinciding with Earth Day, this lecture highlighted a jaguar that was photographed near Animas, New Mexico, along with the latest efforts in protecting jaguar habitat in northern Mexico.

The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere. In North America, it is also one of the most endangered species.

The Northern Jaguar Project and Naturalia are two conservation organizations working to protect the northernmost population of jaguars in the world. In the last one hundred years, the range of the jaguar has been reduced by over 50 percent and almost completely removed from the United States. The two organizations have launched a project to protect the largest area of non-fragmented jaguar habitat in northern Mexico. It is their belief that protecting this northern population is the first step toward restoring jaguars back in the American Southwest. In addition to protecting jaguar habitat, the conservation strategy includes environmental education, research and monitoring of large cat populations, and developing new ranching techniques.

Once found in the southern United States, jaguars are now only rarely seen in the extreme southern regions of Arizona and New Mexico. In February of 2006, a jaguar was photographed near Animas, New Mexico. This was only the second jaguar to be photographed in the state in the past ten years. It is believed that the jaguars seen in the United States are traveling north from the same region being protected by the Northern Jaguar Project and Naturalia.

For further information, call the City of Albuquerque’s BioPark Education, at 764-6245. The Albuquerque Biological Park is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, and a better future for all living things. With more than two hundred accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit





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