Dogs at large in county

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The Socorro County Commission heard from a concerned citizen about dogs at large in the county during its regular meeting July 23.

Catharine Stewart-Roache, who has lived in Socorro 11 years, has spoken to the Socorro City Council about the matter and said she is trying to address it in the county as well. Stewart-Roache, a bicycling and running enthusiast, has had numerous encounters with dogs at large.

She noted the county’s definition of a dog attack is similar to the city’s, and includes when a dog chases a person.

Stewart-Roache said as she was riding her bicycle to Lemitar earlier the same day of the commission meeting, five dogs came at her from a residence on Slaton Road. When the dogs ran after her, she said the owner told her the dogs would not bite her.

“I’m so tired of hearing that, having been bitten twice,” Stewart-Roache said.

She said she told the dogs’ owner she was calling the sheriff’s department, so the man left. A deputy arrived on scene about half an hour later.

Stewart-Roache said during the same bike ride, she encountered three other loose dogs on state Road 408 and three more on Schmittle Road. She said all those dogs on the loose is an unacceptable and dangerous situation in the county.

Stewart-Roache said the Davis house has been reported at least six times, but Mrs. Davis has not been cited and her dogs not taken away. She said the county and city need to enforce their ordinances concerning dogs at large and proof of vaccinations.

Stewart-Roache said when she was bitten by a dog in the city of Socorro in February, the owner told law enforcement all their dogs had shots. However, Stewart-Roache later discovered that two of the dogs were current on their shots and two were not.

“And it took me a lot of money and a lawyer to find that out,” Stewart-Roache said. “And it’s not the citizen’s responsibility to find that out.”

She added that if an incident occurs such as the mauling death in Truth or Consequences, the county will be responsible. In 2011, a woman in T or C was mauled to death by four dogs at large.

Commission Chairman Daniel Monette said the commission will direct the county manager to follow up with the sheriff’s office to ensure animal control ordinances are being enforced.

Stewart-Roache also mentioned dogs at large frequently on Barn Market Road. District V Commissioner Juan Gutierrez asked if that owner had been cited, and Stewart-Roache said she didn’t believe so.

In other new business, the County Commission:

  • Repealed the county’s burn ban and fireworks restrictions. Walsh noted counties across the state are repealing burn bans due to the recent rainfall, and fireworks vendors are no longer open for business. District III Commissioner Phillip Anaya complained none of the law enforcement agencies took action against those lighting banned fireworks all over the county. He heard complaints from constituents that nothing was done to enforce the fireworks restrictions, and said it doesn’t do any good to pass a resolution unless it will be enforced.
  • Accepted a $10,000 Wildfire Risk Reduction grant award through the Bureau of Land Management for fire prevention, outreach and education programs.
  • Agreed to contribute $1,400 to help fund Alamo Indian Days, to be held Oct. 11-12.
  • Acknowledged the county’s $2.5 million CD investment at First State Bank. Lujan said quotes for investments at other banks were low, but by letting the CDs roll over at First State Bank the county was guaranteed a rate of 2.3 percent.