Article in Making Tracks, Winter 2016 Issue

In August 2016, APNM’s Cruelty Case Manager was alerted to an extreme animal cruelty case in which two missing dogs in Taos were found severely injured, caught in cruel leg-hold traps on a neighbor’s property. Both were found still alive after surviving overnight through freezing rain. The dogs, Speckles and Rosie (aka Chi Chi), had also been bludgeoned in their heads. Unfortunately, Rosie did not survive (a necropsy by the State Veterinarian confirmed that the dog died due to injuries to her head).

Speckles sustained a gash to her head and injuries inflicted by the trap. Trying to free herself, she also badly damaged her front teeth. Speckles was deeply traumatized by this terrifying and painful experience.

The Taos County Sheriff’s Office, the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish have investigated and will not be bringing charges due to insufficient evidence.

Steel leg-hold traps are extremely cruel devices. Their steel jaws snap shut on whatever part of the body is in proximity to the trap. They are strong enough to break bones and to cut off circulation, often causing permanent damage.

The infuriating outcome of this tragic story underscores why New Mexicans need to ban traps here. Traps set “legally,” with identification, are horrible enough, harming and killing animals without any discrimination for who gets caught and killed. But illegally set traps like the ones that caught Rosie and Speckles, which had no identification and weren’t claimed by anyone, give law-breakers the opportunity to get away with heinous crimes without any repercussions. This is unacceptable. To help ban steel traps and poisons on public lands in New Mexico, sign our petition at