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).


DOG: Tan and white medium size dog lost from the Village of Placitas in mid July. Spayed female. #3896 (See photo above)

2 DOGS: Weimaraner (grey female) and Heeler/cattle dog (tan and white male) lost from the mesa (northern Placitas) off Camino de las Huertas on July 30. Both are microchipped. If you have any info on Lacy and Adrian, please call. #3901 and 3902 (See photos)

CAT: Siamese cat lost from Ranchos de Placitas on August 17. “Basho” is a three year old neutered male, Siamese mix who weighs about ten lbs. and was lost from near Juniper Road and Camino Redondo. He is a very smart, puppy-like cat, who responds to his name when called. #3906 (see photo above)


TURTLE: Box turtle found crossing the road in Placitas West (near the two-mile marker of Highway 165) on July 30. #3897

DOG: Chihuahua/Jack Russell/Terrier cross found on Camino de las Huertas near the Placitas Community Center on August 19. Small, white and tan female. #3905


CAT: Red cat seen in the Village of Placitas, near the winery in early August, hanging around, being very friendly. #3903

DOG: Black dog seen hanging around the neighborhood in Ranchos de Placitas, off Camino Redondo on August 17. Seemed pretty frantic, looked like he has a bit of chow in him. #3904


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

Dear Lalo,

This bobcat family recently visited me for a full night and day in Sundance Mesa in Placitas. They were perfect visitors who even brought in their own jackrabbit dinner. During their 18-hour stay, they did normal cat things: eat, groom, play, sleep; repeat.

You'll enjoy these views of my friends watching and listening as the big storm approached, just before they moved on.  I hope they found another safe place to hide from the lightning and rain. At least they were well fed!
—Eda Weddington

Black bear seen at Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas several years ago.

Bears are back

—Barb Belknap, Signpost

There have been at least ten different bear sightings in Placitas in August, of at least three different bears, that were reported to the Signpost. One person emailed us an incredible little video of a small bear running from juniper to juniper down Las Huertas Creek arroyo. The bears are back.

Years ago, when it gushed rained in the summer, there were always bears in Placitas. Sometimes they’d shut the gate at the elementary school and escort our kids to the bus.

I remember one poor bear who followed his nose to a Tuapa kitchen, stuck his head right into the small adobe house’s door where he was hit over the head with the cook’s frypan. Those were the days when the bears had the run of the place and, in that bear’s case, more legal rights. There was no darting or concern. The wielder of the pan was charged an animal-cruelty fine by the police ($350, I think) and the bear went on his merry way.

About twenty years ago, I heard often of the bee hives in Tunnel Springs being ripped apart for their honey. The apricot and cherry trees and berry bushes out San Francisco Road offered a feast and hang-out to happy bears.
But after years of drought and few bear sightings, this summer, a couple in the Tunnel Springs area was surprised to be awakened by a crash at two o’clock in the morning. The quicker one ran out to see their trash can overturned and the back of a black bear disappearing over a rise.

In the Cedar Creek subdivision this year, there were three separate sightings from August 11 to August 22 at three separate residences. It appeared that that bear had not become "habituated," since all reported that it ran away when approached.

Several others in the Placitas Heights area reported seeing bears, bear scat, and hearing dogs bark at odd hours of the night.

Another couple in the Las Huertas Canyon area sees a bear roaming near their house often.

Three bears were reported to have been seen in Bernalillo. One was removed near Rotary Park.

One Placitas resident suggested starting a Bear Observer’s Association called B.O.A.

But in the meantime, the Department of Game and Fish urges residents to bring in their bird feeders at night and to not feed the bears. They offer the slogan: “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

Don’t feed the bears

—Dan Williams, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Cibola National Forest do not support and are very concerned with a proposal by animal activists to supplementally feed bears. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Cibola National Forest have prohibitions in place against leaving food in the forest. Violations are punishable by fines of up to five thousand dollars for individuals and ten thousand dollars for organizations.

The agencies’ statement is in response to a proposal by the Sandia Bear Watch organization to put out supplemental food for bears because of the ongoing drought. The Department of Game and Fish and the Cibola National Forest fully support the prohibitions in place for several reasons, including:

  • Providing supplemental food to bears teaches bears to associate humans with a ready food source, causing safety issues that often force officials to kill problem bears.
  • Feeding bears would create a false carrying capacity of the habitat, where bears would become increasingly dependent upon artificial food sources to support existing populations.
  • Only dominant bears would benefit from supplemental food “caches.” Younger, non-dominant bears would be driven off or killed by dominant bears protecting their food.
  • Hikers, hunters, and other visitors to the forest could be in danger if they happened upon a supplemental food cache that may be aggressively defended by bears.
  • Purposefully feeding bears is contrary to State Game Commission rule that prohibits creating an attractive nuisance.

The Department of Game and Fish and the Cibola National Forest encourage everyone to learn the facts about bears and other wildlife, and how to keep them alive, while protecting yourself and your property. Download “Keeping Bears Alive and You Safe at

Placitas Animal Rescue submitted this photo of “found horses”
to the New Mexico Livestock Board in August.

Placitas Animal Rescue corrals estray horses

—Ty Belknap, Signpost

The New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) published several found livestock notices on its website during the month of August, advertising horses caught by Placitas Animal Rescue owner Gary Miles. The first notice listed eight head of mixed horses—two stallions, two filly foals, and four mares all found roaming the Placitas area.

The second notice listed thirteen mixed horses, including four grey mares, one grey gelding, five young filly foals, and four horse colts, “taken up” by Gary Miles in the Overlook subdivision area in Placitas.

Gary Mora of the NMLB said that five horses were gathered by Miles in July, and that the NMLB has advertised these horses on their website and that they are following the estray process through Chapter 77 of the livestock code.

Chapter 77 allow individuals and property owners to gather estray horses on public or private property so that the NMLB can legally dispose of them after providing proper public five-day notification that allows owners of the animals to make legal claims. Regulations described in Chapter 77 are probably beyond the capability of most residents of Placitas, as they were written for rural areas where people have corrals, fence panels, feed, and water tanks available to provide impoundment for livestock, while working through the procedure with the NMLB. Miles is uniquely qualified in these areas.

After a five-day public notice, the NMLB can conduct an auction, or, believing that the animals will not sell, can convey ownership for a nominal fee to the person who impounded the horses. NMLB reported that some of the horses have been sold to Miles.

On August 14, Miles sent out a group email that read:

I have run Placitas Animal Rescue for the past 25 years. We have recently initiated a program called the Placitas Wild Horse Management Team, and it is now in full operation. Our team has veterinarians, trainers, feeders, waterers, and caregivers. As we move forward in managing Our Placitas Wild Horses, we will use PZP contraceptive and humane adoption to slowly reduce our Wild Horse Families to keep our lands, herds, and public healthy and safe. We also have Operation Keep EM North to keep the Wild Horses north of and off Highway 165 to protect the public and the horses. This program is working since the Wild Horses are now staying far north of the Highway. The recent rains have also helped to provide for more grass on the open plains north of Placitas where the horses have traditionally roamed.

For more information, contact Placitas Animal Rescue at 867-0004.

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