Senate Bill 32 , the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, passed the Senate Conservation Committee by a vote of 7-to-2 on Tuesday.

The bill would outlaw traps, snares, and poisons on public lands with exceptions for the protection of human health and safety, scientific research, professional ecosystem management and the protection of sovereign tribal religious practices. SB 32 establishes misdemeanor penalties for the violation of anti-trapping measures.

SB 32 is also known “Roxy’s Law”, named after a an 8-year-old heeler mix owned by Dave Clark of Española named Roxy who died after being strangled by a trap at Santa Cruz Lake in 2018.

“This vote gives us hope that very soon, rare and beautiful animals will no longer fall victim to cruel and indiscriminate leghold traps and strangulation snares,” Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity in Silver City said.

“These killing devices should never have been allowed on public lands.”

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-Ranchos de Taos), Sen. Brenda McKenna (D-Corrales), Rep. Chris Chandler (D-Los Alamos) and Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-Galisteo).

“It’s past time this madness ended,” said Chris Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Public lands should be safe, wildlife should be respected, people should not be afraid to take their dogs or children on a hike. The solution is simple. The Legislature needs to act.”

Kevin Bixby, the executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center, spoke on the dangers of the traps.

“Traps are like landmines, catching and harming any creature unlucky enough to step on them,” he said. “It’s time to get them off our public lands.”

The Legislative Finance Committee said the Department of Game and Fish “expects SB 32 to reduce the sale of furbearer licenses by an unknown amount. No other agencies reported a potential fiscal impact”.

Michelle Lute, Ph. D., the national carnivore conservation manager for Project Coyote believes the bill will reduce the amount of unnecessary animal deaths.

“As a wildlife biologist, I can say definitely that trapping is not a legitimate form of wildlife management,” Lute said. “Our public lands and the wildlife that live on them must be protected from such cruel and wanton waste.”

The bill now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Read this article in the Carlsbad Current-Argus »