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


CAT: Long-haired male tabby, very dark, with black spots, lost from three miles north of the village of Placitas, off Camino de las Huertas and Questa del Aire. Twelve years old. Lost on September 14. #1837


DOG: Black lab hit by car and killed on Highway 165 in the village of Placitas on August 27. #1828

DOG: Medium-sized long-haired black dog spotted on Arroyo Venada in Ranchos de Placitas on September 6. Very shy and frightened. #1830

DOG: Purebred male shepherd pup found on South Hill Road in Bernalillo on September 10. Well-behaved; partially trained. No collar or tags. #1832

DOG: Female pit-bull mix, brown, with white face and chest. Recently had a litter. Found running down main street in Bernalillo. #1835

Animal News

Gary Miles, Jack Thomas tour clinic

Gary Miles, of Placitas Animal Rescue (left), gives Sandoval County commissioner Jack Thomas a tour of a mobile spay-neuter clinic that has been operating in New Mexico.

The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, owner of the truck, announced it would cease operating in the state at the end of September, and Miles is looking for a way to purchase the $140,000 clinic or an older truck, offered for sale at $70,000.

The county recently chipped in $1,600 to bring the reduced-fee clinic to Placitas, where 117 cats and dogs and one rabbit underwent the procedure. Miles said he has been collecting private donations, including $10,000 from an anonymous donor, and hopes some way can be found for the county to participate.

The county has yet to respond officially, and SNAP officials could not be reached for comment, as they evacuated their Houston office with the approach of Hurricane Rita.

Pecos Bighorn

Pecos Wilderness bighorns find new homes in Arizona

Thirty-two Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep have new homes in Arizona following a successful and speedy trapping and relocation project August 18 in the Pecos Wilderness.

The one-day trapping operation was accomplished in record time. Similar efforts have taken three days or even longer to net or dart sheep at elevations of around twelve thousand feet and transport them by helicopter to staging areas below. The operation involved about forty workers from Game and Fish departments in New Mexico and Arizona, and the U.S. Forest Service.

The captured sheep were traded to Arizona for an equal number of desert bighorn sheep.

“It's really a win-win situation for everyone,” bighorn-sheep biologist Elise Goldstein said. “Arizona needs more Rocky Mountain bighorns and we need to thin out our herds; and Arizona can provide us with more desert bighorns, which we need to build up our herds.”

Goldstein said the Pecos bighorn herd is estimated at 275 to three hundred animals and was outgrowing its range. Statewide, there are approximately 850 to 930 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and about 230 to 250 desert bighorn sheep in New Mexico, she said.

Because of the operation's record speed, the project cost was substantially less than the anticipated $60,000. The project was funded through federal excise taxes on hunting and angling equipment, with a 25 percent match through a raffle and an auction of two bighorn sheep permits donated by the state Game Commission to the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.

Rare albino turkey vulture spotted at Heron Lake State Park

Bird lovers from all over the country are sure to be enraptured, as one of the most unusual raptors in the world has been spotted at Heron Lake State Park, in northwestern New Mexico. State Parks officials say the unusual albino turkey vulture was seen flying in the air near the surrounding Rio Chama River Valley two weeks ago, and has adopted the park as its temporary residence ever since. Although Heron Lake is known to attract vultures around fall, this is the first time an albino turkey vulture has migrated into the park.

“It's not only exciting that the vulture has chosen our park to roost, but as a bird-watcher, I'm thrilled to see an anomaly like this—it looks almost otherworldly,” said Heron Lake Park ranger Siscily Lederman.

There have only been two albino turkey vultures documented in the country, both of which are currently in captivity. The birds are white, and have no pigmentation in their eyes and feathers but appear to have pink coloring around their eyes.

Consequently, they often have difficulty seeing, as their eyes can become damaged from overexposure to the sun.

State Parks officials expect the big bird's stay to be brief, since it's typical for most migratory vultures to leave the park around the middle of October.

Despite an often unfavorable reputation, these carrion-eaters play a valuable role in the environment, since they feed off carcasses that can be breeding grounds for disease. They locate their food both by scent and by sight.

For more information, contact Heron Lake State Park, at (505) 588-7470 or






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