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).


Three cats: Two black and one grey Tabby. Barn cats that disappeared from Placitas. #4112

If you see “Blu,” call Randy at 238-0540 or Debi at 553-0778

Dog: Male, Siberian Husky. “Blu” was taken from backyard on Bowersville Road in Algodones on September 6. #4113


Cat: Female, Tortoise-shell cat, appeared de-clawed. Seen September 1 on Basketweaver Court in Anasazi Meadows Subdivision in Placitas. #4110

Dog: Male, Shepherd-Collie Mix, tri-colored with white chest. He had no collar and appeared healthy. Seen for a month in Bernalillo on Don Tomas from the Rotary Park to the Bernalillo Elementary School. Last seen September 9 in Bernalillo on Don Tomas. #4111


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

Roadrunners get thirsty, too! —Todd Rennecker, Placitas

Lalo: This is Luna, our precious white-bellied caique, posing in front of sunflowers. She matches quite well! —Birdwatcher in Placitas

Hey, Lalo,  I was sitting in my backyard reading quietly one evening last week when I heard a thump, and about five seconds later, was totally surprised to see this bobcat. We've had a pair of bobcat siblings around our house for the last year but I never imagined they'd willfully get so close to me. It just nonchalantly cruised through my yard as I sat there marveling at it, and then hopped the wall. I found it lounging under the big juniper just beyond our back wall. It sat there meowing for about 10 minutes and was joined by its sibling—I sat on the wall, not 5 feet away from them, just watching them as they were munching away on one of our many local rabbits. What a cool evening that was! —Shane Mahoney, Placitas

One wild-horse lawsuit fading while another fires up

~Bill Diven

A District Court judge wary of being drawn deeper into the wild-horse controversy in Placitas issued a narrow ruling in September intended to end a lawsuit against the state livestock agency.

Whether it actually ends the case filed by the Placitas-based Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) won’t be known until the deadline for another appeal passes later this month.

At the September 7 hearing in Albuquerque, Second District Judge Valerie Huling denied a request from WHOA to broaden the suit into statewide issues—including the August corralling of a dozen horses roaming Lincoln County. She also rejected attempts to kindle a debate over what is and is not public land in Placitas.

“It’s not a time to expand this case,” Huling said. Any new issues could be added to a separate lawsuit WHOA filed the previous week against the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) in Lincoln County, she said.

Meanwhile, Huling sided with lawyers representing the NMLB and a group of Placitas residents who argued a Court of Appeals ruling on the case here left nothing more to fight over.

WHOA sued the NMLB in February of 2014, alleging the board violated the state Livestock Code by treating loose horses as stray livestock suitable for auction if no one claims them. Instead, a section of the code added by the Legislature in 2007 protects wild horses and those with Spanish colonial bloodlines, WHOA argued.

Huling dismissed the suit without a trial five months later saying the law on stray livestock did include all horses.

But WHOA appealed, and in August 2015 the Court of Appeals overturned Huling’s decision. In their unanimous ruling, the three-judge panel said the definition of livestock did not include “undomesticated, unowned animals.”

But they left untouched 2007 language that limits protection for wild and Spanish horses only to those found on public land excluding federal and state-trust land.

“There is no public land in Placitas other than arguably the Placitas Open Space, and there are no horses there,” attorney Dave Reynolds, who represents the Placitas residents, told Huling. “The only horses in Placitas are on private land.”

The residents joined the lawsuit early, claiming they were entitled to protect their land and the watershed from what, at the time, were herds of free-roaming horses.

WHOA attorney Steven Sanders wanted to continue the suit to determine if roads and some other properties might be public under the livestock law, but Huling said no. “I reject any attempt by anyone to expand the Court of Appeals ruling,” she added.

Following the Court of Appeals decision NMLB has been taking DNA samples and inspecting horses penned by Placitas residents on their private land. But instead of hauling them away for auction if not claimed, those without signs of ownership were turned over to the resident landowners.

Reynolds has referred to that process as the “magic corral,” as an unowned horse that enters it comes out as someone’s livestock. All the loose horses corralled since the Court of Appeals ruling have been turned over to the horse sanctuary at San Felipe Pueblo, he said during the hearing.

The Lincoln County case involves a dozen mares and foals gathered near Alto by a landowner who said that they were a nuisance. NMLB took the horses out of the county but late in September worked a deal with WHOA to bring them back to Lincoln County while the courts decide their status.

Chronic wasting disease found in McGregor Range deer

~Lance Cherry

Five deer harvested in the McGregor Range area of southern New Mexico during the 2015-16 hunting season have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Department of Game and Fish announced.

Hunters who harvested those deer have been notified of the test results. Forty hunters who drew licenses for 2016-17 hunts on the range will be notified and advised of procedures to present their harvested deer for testing.

First discovered in New Mexico in 2002, chronic wasting disease has only been found in the state’s southern hunting units. To date, 42 deer and eight elk have tested positive for the disease. Tissue samples were obtained from hunters who presented their harvest for testing, at check stations during hunts, and from the department’s live-capture efforts.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease found in deer, elk, and moose, which is fatal in these species. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases. The disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk, and moose, causing the animals to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lack coordination, and eventually die.

It is recommended hunters avoid eating meat from deer and elk that appear sick or that have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. However, no known transmission to humans has been documented through the consumption of meat from an animal that has tested positive.

Department rules allow hunters who take a deer or elk within a control area to transport only certain portions of the carcass outside the boundaries of the Game Management Unit from which it was taken. Those portions include meat include meat that is cut and wrapped, either commercially or privately; quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; meat that has been boned out; hides with no heads attached; and clean skull plates with antlers attached. Clean is defined as having been immersed in a bath of at least one part chlorine bleach and two parts water, with no meat or tissue attached.

For more information about chronic wasting disease, the drawing, or a field-testing station location, visit or call the department at (888) 248-6866.

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