Officers charge Chimayó man in case that prompted ‘Roxy’s Law’ bill

Roxy, an 8-year-old heeler mix owned by Dave Clark of Española, died in 2018 after being strangled by a trap at Santa Cruz Lake. The Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act under consideration by the Legislature is also known as ‘Roxy’s Law.’

A bill that would outlaw the use of traps, snares and wildlife poison on public lands in New Mexico cleared its first legislative hearing Tuesday.

The Senate Conservation Committee voted 7-2 to endorse the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, also called “Roxy’s Law” after an 8-year-old dog who was caught and killed by a neck snare at Santa Cruz Lake in 2018.

Senate Bill 32, which includes exceptions, such as for ecosystem management and religious and ceremonial purposes, establishes misdemeanor penalties for violations of the anti-trapping measure.

The vote came after a nearly two-hour discussion and debate from various interests, including ranchers, hunters, conservationists and environmental advocates.

Tiffany Rivera, director of governmental affairs for the Las Cruces-based New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, said the bill would “greatly impact” the livestock industry because it would prohibit individuals from dealing with predators that “harass and kill” cattle.

“Just as it is important to protect our domestic animals, it is equally as important to protect our livestock,” she said, adding the cattle industry contributes nearly $1 billion to the state’s economy.

Rivera and other opponents urged the committee to hold off on the bill to see how recent wildlife management rule changes by the State Game Commission, including new trapper education requirements and trapping prohibitions within a half-mile of trailheads, played out.



Changes to the trapping rule went into effect in 2020 and included a complete elimination of trapping in areas with heavy recreational activities, such as the Sandia Mountains, said Kerrie Cox Romero, executive director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides. “These improvements were enacted in 2020 after an extensive public input process, and they should be given time to prove themselves as effective.”

Opponents of the practice, however, said the state can’t wait for the anti-trapping bill.

“One of the federally listed endangered species that we work to protect is the Mexican gray wolf,” said Eddie Estrada, a field representative for the Endangered Species Coalition. “With only 87 wolves in the wild in New Mexico, it’s one of the most imperiled wolves in the country, and they’re facing many challenges. Traps are just another obstacle for successful recovery efforts.”

Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center, said trapping on public lands poses a threat not just to animals but to people.

“They’re like land mines basically waiting to harm whatever unfortunate creature happens to step on them, whether it’s a wild animal or a pet dog or a horse carrying a rider or, God forbid, a human being,” he said.

In addition to being a public safety hazard, Chris Smith of WildEarth Guardians said trapping creates an “equity and environmental issue.”

“These animals [caught and killed in traps] are a public asset that benefit all New Mexicans, but they’re killed in unlimited numbers on public lands for private profit by a tiny few,” he said. “That’s unacceptable. I urge you to support this legislation. It’s long overdue.”

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(11) comments

Jul MM

Traps do not belong on public lands! I usually smash up traps I find on BLM or NFS land.

Laddie Mills

Surveys show that the overwhelming majority of public wildlife interests supports Roxy’s Law. Nevertheless, a handful of hunter/trapper clubs and ranchers continue to promote trapping to serve their own self interests. For a $20 license, Game and Fish gives DIY trappers free rein to hide their land mines on public lands with no limits on numbers of traps, bag limits for non-game wildlife, or field regulations/enforcement. With no supporting data and science, trapping can not be called a “management tool.” It violates the spirit of every modern conservation ethics principle and it is incompatible with family outdoor recreation and certain to become a liability and embarrassment in New Mexico’s plans for a robust outdoor recreation economy.

Jim Klukkert

There is no benefit to the citizens of New Mexico, not to our environment, from trapping. Trapping is an UNTARGETED, RANDOM method of killing animals, wild and domestic, common and threatened.

This barbaric practice deserves nothing less than a total and immediate ban. Violators should face felony charges with prison time and heavy fines.

nina lerner

My heart breaks for Roxy and ANY animals that has been trapped and ultimately killed.

Our entire universerce of humans and animals and all others should not be massacred

because of the needs of ranchers.

If and when the time comes when the plants ate left and nothing more.We will be a fairer society. Who said animals should be tortured and killed for our pleasure ?

I have seen a very sad picture of a beautiful large dog whose limbs had to be amputated after being caught in a trap. God help us make the right decisions. Protect the animals, it is our lives' work

Peter Romero

Trying to make laws based on emotion is not a good idea. I ask you to look at the current regulations in regards to trapping in New Mexico before acting on emotion. Its when you have people that don't follow the laws makes the law abiding people look bad. What happened to Roxy was tragic to say the least. From what I know it was done by someone not following the regulations.

Melissa Savage

Not knowing where traps and snares are set, even close to trails, is worrisome. This law is well overdue.

Donato Velasco

Another excuse for irresponsible owners.

Angel Ortiz

To be brutally honest, if Roxy was my dog, I would have made it a point to personally locate the individual who set the trap.

Jim Klukkert

Angel Ortiz- the perp, Marty Cordova of Chimayo was located, arrested and taken to court. The case was thrown out as Game & Fish officers bungled by failing to get a search warrant.

I am pretty sure the combined penalties amounted to a big nothing in the enormity of the crimes, and the pattern of this guy's repeated poaching. All the charges were misdemeanors. Read on....

"State Game and Fish Department officers have charged a Chimayó man with more than 30 criminal counts in connection with illegal trapping — a case spurred by an investigation into how an Española man’s dog had been killed by an illegal snare trap at Santa Cruz Lake.

"Marty Cordova, 42, is facing five counts of trapping within 25 yards of a road, 10 counts of failure to properly mark traps, five counts of failing to check traps every calendar day and 14 counts of unlawful possession of a protected species. All charges are misdemeanors or petty misdemeanors.

"In January, after identifying Cordova from surveillance camera images captured at the trapping site where Roxy died, Game and Fish officers served a search warrant on the man’s residence in Chimayó, resulting in the seizure of snares and foothold traps that were not properly marked.

Officers also confiscated 10 bobcat pelts and skulls, six fox pelts, badger and ringtail pelts, cellphones, a camera and a firearm.

"The case that launched the investigation was the death of Roxy, an 8-year-old heeler mix owned by Dave Clark of Española. Roxy was strangled by a trap."

- Officers charge Chimayó man in case that prompted ‘Roxy’s Law’ bill; Steve Terrell; February 14, 2019

https://apnews.com/article/8150f738503a42499eec5fae36f915a1

"SANTA FE – A Santa Fe magistrate judge has dismissed the case against a Chimayó man charged with 34 counts of illegal trapping, on grounds that the New Mexico Game and Fish Department failed to serve the man with a search warrant and failed to preserve evidence."

Albuquerque Journal: Case against trapper of Roxy the dog dismissed

BY T. S. LAST / JOURNAL NORTH EDITOR

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Scott Slocum

An appropriate, proposed, guideline against irresponsible trapping.

Jim Klukkert

Donato Velasco Another excuse for irresponsible comments.

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