ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Chimayo man was facing dozens of charges for illegally trapping animals after a family’s dog died in one of his traps. After a judge dismissed the case, animal advocates fear this will send the message that illegal trapping won’t be prosecuted.

“What happened to Roxy just cannot keep happening in New Mexico,” said Jessica Johnson, a spokesperson for Animal Protection of New Mexico.

It’s been almost a year since this 8-year-old blue heeler mix, “Roxy,” met a tragic fate while hiking with her owner near Santa Cruz Lake.

“Roxy got caught in a neck-snare trap. Unfortunately, the trap squeezed around her neck, and although he tried to release her…she strangled to death,” said Johnson.

Through an investigation, Game and Fish officers learned Marty Cordova of Chimayo had placed the traps. Cordova faced a slew of charges for the unlawful protection of endangered species, failure to ID traps, and trapping within 25 yards of a roadway.

But now, a judge has dismissed the case. Animal Protection of New Mexico, which had been fighting for Roxy’s case, says it’s just another blow.

“We’re extremely disappointed with the outcome. This really looked like it should have been a slam dunk case,” Johnson said.

Cordova’s attorney filed motions to suppress evidence, saying Game and Fish officers never served or left Cordova with a copy of their search warrant. They also claim that officers wouldn’t provide the photographic evidence to the defense, and they threw out evidence before Cordova’s attorney’s could inspect it.

“Enough’s enough. We just need a clear, strong ban on these devices on public lands,” Johnson said.

After Roxy’s death, Animal Protection of New Mexico helped file legislation called Roxy’s Law. It didn’t pass, but they’re hoping her story will encourage others to push for change.

“The power is really with the people of New Mexico. We have the ability and the right to demand better…to demand safe public lands,” said Johnson.

The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning the charges against Cordova can be re-filed. However, the District Attorney’s office said without that evidence, it can’t move forward.

Animal Protection of New Mexico plans to refile Roxy’s law in 2021.

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