Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Dave Harper

If you lose or find an animal in Placitas area, call the Animal Hotline at 867-6135. The Hotline is a nonprofit service run by Dave and January Harper to help reunite lost and found pets. Placing a Lost or Found in the Animal Hotline is a free service courtesy of the Signpost—we can sometimes even include a photo. Call Dave and January at 867-6135 or 263-2266 and leave a detailed message, or email the Animal Hotline at: (but call, too).


Old dog: Medium-sized shaggy, tan dog lost from north of the Village of Placitas on September 15. Skinny, medium-sized male dog who is nearly blind was lost from near the end of Camino de las Huertas. #3916


Two dogs: Two large black dogs (possibly Dobermans) spotted in western Placitas, La Mesa area, off Calle Chamisa on September 18. #3918 & 3919


Horse: Horse available for adoption. Call Dave at 263-2266.


Animal News

Lalo’s pet prints:


Lalo loves to receive your pet and animal photos to print in the Signpost.
Email them to “Lalo” at:
Or mail prints to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889 Placitas, NM 87043

This bobcat climbed up the wisteria to the deck off our dining area and was sitting in a plant pot. It left and then came back a few hours later.  —Gary W. Priester



We had a visitor here in Placitas Trails when a bear, weighing approximately 250 pounds, was treed next to a residence located on Placitas Trails Road. The Sheriff and Animal Control were on scene and, when I left, were setting up the air bag, so the creature would not hurt itself. —Thom Langlois

Trophy bull elk found dead, poaching suspected

—Rachel Shockley, Department of Game and Fish

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officer KC Gehrt recovered a dead, world-class, bull elk outside of Reserve on September 4. Poaching is suspected.

Hunters discovered the rotting, but completely intact, elk carcass in a canyon, a mile and a half east of Little Round Mountain. Hunters in the area last saw the massive elk alive on September 1.

“It’s stealing,” hunter Jeff Lewis said. “The state lost a huge amount. That’s a once in a lifetime bull.” Lewis and his hunting partner Don Roach had been tracking and shooting video of the enormous elk for three years.

“Up until this year, every time we would have an encounter with him he would disappear,” Lewis said. “But this year he was visible every morning and every night. We thought we would have a chance to have a stalk on him and have a chance to harvest. But the poacher must have seen him too. It’s really horrendous.”

After examining the elk, Gehrt was able to find what appeared to be trauma to internal organs, in particular to the tops of the lungs, which would be consistent with injuries caused by a small caliber bullet. Due to extent that the elk had decomposed, Gehrt was not able to find the bullet.

“In the past, poachers have waited to return to an animal because they couldn’t find it or they were waiting to claim the animal when they had a hunting license,” Gehrt said. “That is what I suspect happened here. The wanton waste in this situation is sickening. It’s one of the reasons that trophy poaching should be a treated as a felony.”

Gehrt measured the elk’s antler length to be 422.375 inches, shy of the Safari Club International (SCI) New Mexico Big Game Record of 437.625 inches.

Although archery season opened on September 1 in Game Management Unit 23, it is illegal to hunt elk with a firearm during archery season. If caught, the poacher could only face misdemeanor charges and potential civil penalties no greater than ten thousand dollars for the unlawful killing of a trophy elk this size.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” said Gehrt. “We are following up on every lead.” One witness saw a silver Dodge pickup with dually-style rear wheels and New Mexico plates in the area around the time of the elk’s death. Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call Operation Game Thief, toll-free, (800) 432-GAME (4263), or visit Callers can remain anonymous and may earn rewards if information leads to charges being filed.

Kindness to animals is good for everyone

—Animal Protection of New Mexico

Children know what many adults have to re-learn: the strong bond between a person and an animal enhances the lives of both. But reported incidents of animal cruelty are so prevalent in New Mexico that there seems to be a different message being sent to our youth. From helpless kittens thrown in a dumpster, to a locally sponsored coyote hunt, kids are learning there is another standard out there for the way animals can be treated. Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) seeks to reduce the harmful impact to youth and families caused by these acts through proactive and positive interventions in schools and communities.

Teaching compassion through academics, APNM has launched an innovative academic school-based program for fifth through eighth grade students. The subject matter of the ten-week, 30-hour journey is compassionate animal care. Participating students are exposed to interactive lessons, all hands on, about the responsibilities involved in adopting and caring for a companion animal.

APNM respond to calls from New Mexicans around the state through two animal cruelty hotlines, its own and that of the Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force. Each call is taken by the APNM Animal Cruelty Case Manager who assists by making the appropriate referrals to law enforcement, providing information about applicable laws and other resources, and documenting information about the case. Information received is confidential and callers may remain anonymous. In cases where animal abusers have not been identified, APNM may offer rewards ranging from $500 to $10,000, depending on the severity of the case, for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those who have broken the law. In New Mexico, extreme animal cruelty can result in a fourth degree felony conviction.

To report animal cruelty call: 1-877-5-HUMANE (1-877-548-6263). For more information, log on to or
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