Roxy died a painful death at age 8. A blue heeler mix, she was strangled in a snare near a hiking trail at Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area.

The state Game and Fish Department said a man from Chimayó set an illegal trap that took Roxy’s life.

What happened to Roxy led a group of Democratic state legislators to introduce a bill to ban all traps, snares or wildlife poisons on public lands in New Mexico. Neighboring Arizona and Colorado already have such a prohibition on trapping.

Ranchers closed ranks to work for the bill’s defeat. They say traps, even ones on public lands, help protect their livestock from predators.

Their argument carried the day. The anti-trapping bill failed in the state House of Representatives in 2019, soon after Roxy’s death had become a national story.

The debate over trapping on public lands in New Mexico went on hiatus. It will resume soon enough, even if members of the state House must limit the number of bills they sponsor next year.

State Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, says a new version of what he calls Roxy’s Bill will be introduced when legislators begin their 60-day session in January.

Outlawing trapping on public lands has been one of McQueen’s priorities since Roxy’s death.

“For me, personally, I think it’s cruel,” McQueen said Tuesday. “Whether it’s a pet or a coyote that’s trapped, the suffering doesn’t change.”

Read the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican »