ESPAÑOLA, N.M. — Española Humane workers never know what’s going to come through their doors, but Wednesday brought an unusually rare case.

“Almost unrecognizable as a dog,” said Mattie Allen, director of communications for Española Humane. “It’s pretty shocking to see a dog come in that is clearly strangulated.”

Rio Arriba County Animal Control officers brought in a seven-month-old puppy with a severely swollen head and an undeniable snare around his neck. The puppy was having a hard time breathing.

A good Samaritan called officers when they saw the dog running just north of Española.

“Fortunately, for this dog, he was able to actually pull the cable from whatever it was attached to and break himself free,” said Allen.

A vet team was able to sedate the dog and cut off the snare.

Two days later, the little guy, temporarily known as Muffin, is looking good as new.

But the incident raises questions about New Mexico’s trapping laws.

“The problem with these snares is that they’re indiscriminate. When you set a snare like that you can trap anything it does not discriminate what type of living being is getting strangled by this thing,” said Allen.

Roxy’s law went into effect last April in New Mexico, making it illegal to use traps, snares, or poisons to capture, hurt, or kill an animal on public lands. It doesn’t apply to private land.

Officers don’t know where exactly Muffin got caught, but advocates say they hope all property owners think twice about snares.

“I do hope that people are not setting these snares to trap dogs,” said Allen.  “It could be any type of wildlife, it could be a cat, it could be your family’s dog, it could be a kid. And it will go around a head and a neck, a foot, a hand, a paw, it doesn’t discriminate.”

Española Humane is taking suggestions for Muffin’s permanent name on its social media pages.

He’s getting neutered and up-to-date on shots and will be up for adoption soon.

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