It is an abusive and illegal RUSE against the 86% and againt NM’s Protected Wild Horses, all for a Highway and Development on Federal Public Lands through Placitas, La Madera, and Puertecito without Due Process.
By Patience O’Dowd, president, Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) 10/2/2023
Ordinance 5-24-23.1 to BAN Water/Assistance to “FREE ROAMING HORSES” does not apply to Wild Horses.
WHY? Because Sandoval County did not want to be sued for something it has no jurisdiction to do. It is a RUSE for a Highway and a Development-Crime-Ring, folks. Counties do not have jurisdiction over wildlife AND it is not codefied in Sandoval County Animal Control Ordinance. Not even after September 1, 2023 as planned and as announced. Please continue to live your lives without fear of criminalization or fines.
Placitans have been terrorized all year by draconian threats to criminalize and jail elderly Placitans (to selectively harm Wild Horses and their advocates) and more. ALL with no legal basis beyond our ill-placed trust as Americans in our local government.
My goal for this article is to relieve some of the REAL STRESS caused by the Sandoval County government, in this instant case, nothing less than a Development/Developer-Crime-Ring against 86% of Placitans. Law abiding, tax paying Placitans with an average age of 60 have been harrassed all year by our County Manager Wayne Johnson, County Attorney Michael Eshleman, and County Sheriff Jessie James Casaus and their fellows on the County Commision. They picked up the shovel of dirt that our State “representatives” Senator Brenda McKenna and Representative Matthew McQueen were not able to pass at the 2023 legislative session (Senate Bill 301).
Instead, Sandoval County, without jurisdiction over wildlife, pounded us with a choreographed faux Ordinance in an abusive and authoritarian police-state manner. A three-ring circus, harming the innocent and the innocent constituents.
Try to Keep in mind, that New Mexico’s Wild Horses are NOT defined as “Free Roaming Horses” and they are not subject to this faux Ordinance that has nothing to do with Wild Horses in the State of New Mexico, or in Sandoval County, NM. Our Placitas Spanish Colonial, returned native wild horses, are well established legally and biologically as “Wild Horses” (See Findings of Fact Nos. 12 to 17) and as “wildlife,” by statute, by Attorney General Opine, and as upheld by the Higher Courts of New Mexico, twice, as well as by the NM Constitution’s Green Amendment of 1971, Article XX, Section 21.
Our NM media from the Albuquerque Journal to the NM TV News to the local Sandoval County Signpost keep this information well hidden with false stories about Wild Horses, written by professional journalists. Their stories convincingly imply these horses are not legally protected, that they are starving, that their population is not managed, that they are causing all/many accidents; and each story implies that Our NM Media really cares! Sorry. They dupe meticulously and repeatedly.
Who and what caused four (4) recent seperate vehicle and road rage human fatlities in Placitas? Hint: Not the Wild Horses!
See section below titled: No HUMAN Vehicular Deaths in Placitas involving Wild Horses.
Twenty Twenty Three (2023), the year our government which is under oath to serve us, without bias, pursuant to NM Article XX, Section 1, has instead, endangered and all but detroyed some of their constituent’s lives. One good citizen’s son sold her house right out from under her to protect her from abusers, criminalization and jail — by getting her out of Placitas, essentially against her druthers. I am sorry and I hope she will move back. I know her, and what she has joyously and bravely lived for is the commune with nature here, in this Willdlife Corridor and the Sandia Mountains.
This is the beautiful Sandia Mountain Wildlife Corridor. During drought, compassionate citizens of Placitas, La Madera, Puertecito, and San Pedro Creek Estates, and around the mountain are literally asked and expected to water wildlife, including Bears, etc. However, Placitans are being terrorized and tricked against their personal and community morals into not helping the Wild Horses they enjoy and coexist with so that the State and Sandoval County can move forward with the non-transparent developement-ring’s plans and the illegal lack of due process on the Buffalo Tract. Note: The USDA FS appears to have been a party to wiping out wildife at the Sandia Mountain through intent and negligence regarding upkeep of springs and no provisions for drinkers/guzzlers.
Our Sheriff Jessie James Casaus has conflicts of interest that he has not mentioned. Was Sheriff Casaus setting up another woman in her sixties when he told her to go ahead on the “D.L.” (Down Low) and ignore the Ordinance? This is recorded. Or, does Sheriff Casaus just realize that this Ordinance is naught but a HOAX? Of course.
Thanks largely to NON-TRANSPARENT and Out-of-State Developers trying to DESTROY the Sandia Wildlife Corridor, with no due process, virtually every new Senator and/or Representative for this area works (outside the law) to find a Wild Horse “solution.” Solution for what? These Wild Horses are already under contraceptive population management (due to natural predator wipe-out) under the proactive preservation law NMSA 77-18-5. This law understands and navigated the rampant Conflicts of Interest in NM. The law which WHOA passed with Senator Komadina in 2007.
What they mean by “solution” is a “look good” way to get rid of Wild Horses by downgrading them from Wild Horse to “Free Roaming Horses,” or to “Dumped Horses.” This, to illegally deny preservation and to allow jurisdiction (and wipe out) by any political subdivision of the State with a Conflict of Interest who can hire a “look good” “equine expert” for political cover. They claim Saftey reasons against these peaceful herbivores or “range management” issues of private-property-yards! Ha!
By the way, feeding only preserves vegetation, makes up for pavement, drought, climate change and decreases concern about vegetation. Moreover, the mowing action of Wild Horses reduces ladder/vegatation height and decreases hazard of wild fire. With upper front teeth, unlike rumiunants, horses mow, they do not pull plants out by the roots as do ruminants (Cattle, Elk, Deer, Sheep, Antelope, Goats).
SANDOVAL COUNTY – ADMITS they have no jurisdiction over Protected Wildlife.
See below, excerpts of Sandoval County’s corrected and updated (in accordance with State Law NMSA 77-18-5) named “2019 planned Sandoval County Animal Control Ordinance,” Section 4.9 Prohibited Activites. a) They admit that prohibitions against “running at large” do not apply to Protected Wildlife. c) They admit that prohibitions against animals disturbing the peace do not apply to Protected Wildlife. e) They further admit that impounding Protected Wildlife is illegal.
This is after they admit they should have updated their animal contol section in 2007 when WHOA and Senator Komadina passed the Wild Horse Protection and Preservation law. This is the law, whether they update their Animal Ordinance or not and they are not above the law which they fully undertand as upheld in the courts and on the books since 2007.
They also admit to the definition of a Wild Horse.
SANDOVAL COUNTY OFFICIALS ALSO KNEW AND CRIED OFTEN about SB301 being Tabled, meaning not passed at legislature.
Representative McQueen and Senator Brenda McKenna’s Bad Bill Senate Bill 301 (SB301) (2023) was TABLED 6 to 2 on March 7, 2023. Therefore, NMSA 77-18-5 is still the law of the land since 2007.
SB301 would have illegally recharacterized WILD HORSES to “FREE ROAMING HORSES” and, removed preservation and more, and was therefore TABLED.
However, Sandoval County went ahead and tricked, abused, and harassed their consituents with the faux ORDINANCE regarding “Free Roaming Horses,” which was not law.
It was all revoltingly choreographed by both parties led by former NM STATE AUDITOR WAYNE JOHNSON(R) and pushed by COUNTY COMMISSIONERS KATHLEEN BRUCH(D) AND LUJAN GRISHAM APPOINTEE COMMISIONER JOSHUA JONES(D).
SENATOR MCKENNA also sponsored SB301 in 2023 and sponored or supported three other BAD Bills in 2021: SB111, SB385, and SB32. WHOA fought them successfully and had SB32 (Roxy’s Law) amended to disallow illegal trapping of wild horses and defeated the others.
Senator McKenna sponsored another Bad Bill/constitutional amendment SJR2 in 2022 that WHOA worked to defeat. The Speaker of the House also joined in to defeat SJR2 the faux “Green Amendment” that if the people voted for through false advertisement, would have deleted our Green Amendment of 1971 Article XX, Section 21, and thus our Wild Horse Preservation Bill of 2007 as well as our other clean air and water protection bills, etc., passed since 1971!
Both Senator McKenna and Representative McQueen have been working to wipe out the Placitas horses from the moment they each won in our District. They have both used LOOK GOOD Bills and “Experts” who admit to knowing nothing about Wild Horses and are aligned with the Cattle Growers. These experts include both the NMLB and a group with an ANIMAL PROTECTION name that is, however, aligned with the Cattle Growers. Thus, legislators of both parties hide their cruel preservation-wipe-out votes behind LOOK GOOD experts with LOOK GOOD NAMES, while claiming they do not understand the bill. This is systemic corruption that has been occurring since at least 2017.
Like Representative McQueen (District 50), Senator McKenna (District 9) also claims to be pro-wildlife as a Director of “Wildlife For ALL,” but admits she knows nothing about Wild Horses. However, despite this admission, and with no basis, she has also claimed that the Placitas Wild Horses were dumped in Placitas in 2007. She additionally claimed, with no basis, that the Wild Horses are not native. However, we believe McKenna’s 2007 claim was to enable Sandoval County Planning and Zoning changes.
Senator McKenna herself was also surprisingly abusive to citizens and shockingly authoritarian, while completely ignoring civility and basic rights to due process. Commissioner Kathleen Bruch was also present, and condoned Senator McKenna’s shocking behavior. (Video-Recorded.)
STEFANIE GARCIA RICHARDS, NM STATE LANDS COMMISIONER
Stephanie Garcia Richards has also been part of the many plots to get the Placitas Wild Horses off the Buffalo Tract (BLM Lands) and out of Placitas, to allow for Highway/Development/Gravel Mining in this Wildlife Corridor.
She was part of a Land-Grab-Plot to change the Placitas BLM Lands to State Incorporated Lands in 2019 for Development with SENIOR WAREHOUSING (Recorded).
Facebook Alert from 2019 posted below.
CLAIMS OF “SAFETY ISSUES”?
Our State Representatives claim Safety Issues and together with Sandoval County/ Sandoval County Sheriff are the cause of Safety Issues:
1) Safety Issues with No KNOWN SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS? Other than a plan to kill the wildlife in the Wildlife Corridor against the will of the people and the Placitas Area Plan. This plan includes the USDA FS and Sandoval County. Wink Wink!
2) Letting EXTREME SPEEDERS with EXTREME CHARGES OFF. This accident was also in December 2021, just before 2022 legislature. Wink Wink!
3) STAGING accidents using a SAFE VEHICLE, a Dually, during legislature. During the first week of legislature 2023. Wink Wink!
4) OUR NM Government is and has been making it Unsafe for Wild Horses and Wild Horse Advocates with Intent. This is ALL a crime.
No HUMAN Vehicular Deaths in Placitas involving Wild Horses.
Wild Humans in Placitas have caused at least four (4) violent and tragic deaths in the last 6 years. However, there have been no deaths due to Wild Horses in Placitas since 1987 when the writer moved to Placitas, NM.
1) In September of 2017 a Sandoval County Sheriff’s officer tragically but accidentally backed over a Placitas female on her property and killed her while responding to a call from herself and her husband.
2) Placitas resident Attorney Paul S. Livingston who was advocating against Gravel Mining on the Buffalo Tract was killed by a driver under the influence of Alcohol in 2017. See the signage dedicated to him below.
3) A local Placitas man was killed driving a motorcycle at night, no helmet, speed involved, 2018.
4) A road rage stabbing death in the Historic Village of Placitas – Road rage due to percieved speeding and associated road rage from being asked to slow down on a local road marked 10 mile per hour in June 2019. This was covered in the local “paper.”
IF there is ever a human death due to Deer, Coyotes, Bears, or Wild Horses in Placitas or at I-25, it will be due to malicious negligence of the Governors, NMDOT, and Sandoval County, et al., with intent and refusal of:
1) proactive, lawful,
3) known mechanical safety improvements, including,
4) functional cattle guards, and
while stressing the elderly in Placitas (average age of 60) with criminalization for being kind to the wildlife they coexist with on their own property regarding this faux Ordinance.
Or they will be blamed for choosing not to make real mechanical improvents because the wildlife crashes (hits/mile/10yr) in Placitas clearly do not rise to the level of a HOT SPOT per the 2022 Wild Life Corridor Action Report, See Appendices C and E. If so, this faux Ordinance is again undue harassment of Wild Horse Advocates and protected Wild Horses. However, not being a top hot spot is no excuse not to have a Cattle Guard at the interection of Rt. 165 and I-25.
See page ES-5 of the link above for the Wildlife Corridor Action Report. “The WVC hotspot modeling resulted in identification of 60 WVC hotspots across the state, totaling 349 miles of NMDOT roads. The hotspots ranged in size from 1 to 34 miles. The number of wildlife crashes per mile per 10 years ranged from 17.6 for the top hotspot to 1.0 for the 50th to 60th hotspots. The hotspots were selected based on sheer numbers of wildlifevehiclecrashes per mile. Deer (both mule and white-tailed deer) were overwhelmingly the topanimals involved within the hotspots, with 2,579 reported crashes (2009-2018); the hotspotswere therefore largely located where these two species were reported to be involved in crashes. Elk were the second most often involved wild animal within the hotspots, with 737 reported crashes in the database. There were 118 reported black bear mortalities and 13 cougar mortality data points in the 60 hotspots. . .”
Those guilty will be: Governor(s), NMDOT, Sandoval County, and the USDA FS working jointly to kill off the wildlife by thirst and cause accidents with intent, as their “solution” is an inhumane political RUSE and is not a Safety Remedy. It is neither a proven or standard traffic accident remedy nor is it scientific. Moreover, it is against the will of the people in this beautiful and important Wildlife Corridor, and all moving to Placitas know upfront that it is a Wildlife Corridor.
WILDLIFE CORRIDOR Next 6 Miles.
DEER HITS in Placitas. Despite NMDOT Wildlife Corridor Signage gained by WHOA and an Attorney about 13 years ago, the NMDOT/USDA FS fencing here is useless given that the cattle guards are completely filled in with decades of dirt.
The NM Wildlife Corridors Action Plan published 6/2022. See page 6-191 (this is one page folks, not 185 pages like it sounds) showing Deer hits on Rt. 165 in Placitas from I-25 to the back of the mountain. (See red diamonds above for Deer Hits.) In this report one can also SEE how much Money is spent elsewhere on Wildlife Corridor safety — it is an astounding contrast.
This is What Crashes Look Like All Across the State. THE STATE INCLUDING SANDOVAL COUNTY 2021 .
Understand that the “First Harmful Event” (See Table below and at link above on page 14), may not have occurred if the driver was not a contibuting factor as in at least 58.6% of the crashes, i.e., under the influence, speeding, etc. See full table of Contibuting Factors on page 10 of link above. There are another 36.1% of unknown reasons. Note: The horse numbers below include owned or “domestic” horses across the state.
Link: See page 14 for entire table.
NATURAL RESOURCE FUNDING
OUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES also KNOW there is plenty of funding for Wildlife Corridors.
NOTICE OF TORTS filed in 2023 regarding Sandoval County et. al,
2) Illegal Ordinance /No Jurisdiction by Team Sandoval County
3) Making New Mexico dangerous for Wild Horse Advocates and Protected Wild Horses by Team Sandoval County
FAILED — ORDINANCE TO BAN NUTRIENTS (WATER) to WILD HORSES https://www.sandovalcountynm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/202303_WildlifeFeedingOrdinance.pdf
PASSED — ORDINANCE NO. 5-24-23.10 “Free Roaming Horses” – LIVESTOCK – Not Wild Horses: https://library.municode.com/nm/sandoval_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=SUHITA