A bill to change the way horses are "disposed" of by the state has been introduced in the NM House of Representatives! This bill, championed by Animal Protection Voters, would give horse rescues the first right of refusal for equines that have been taken into custody of the New Mexico Livestock Board. Four Corners Equine Rescue stands in solid support of this bill.
To illustrate how this bill would change the current process we have to look no further than just last week. A stray horse (now known as Rookie), was listed as an estray. At the end of the 5 day holding period no owner had stepped forward so Rookie went up for auction via sealed bid on 2-16-17. We thought Rookie had a place to go, but at the last minute the bidder backed out. What to do now? Relying of funds raised by theNMEEF, FCER stepped up and placed a bid to prevent Rookie from going to public auction, where chances are very good he would go to slaughter. We had not planned to do this, and had not prepared to take him in. Since Rookie is a stallion, our normal process would be to send him directly to the trainers for gentling and castration. But the"Mustang Pens" at the trainers are currently full. So this week we're driving 170 miles to get appropriate panels (at a cost of $200 each), which we will erect at the trainers to make pen for Rookie. Then it's off to Santa Fe (where Rookie is being held), a 400 mile round trip. Board fees at the holding facility is $10/day so getting him out of there is a priority. We have a dismantled 12' shelter, but there is no time now to put that up. It will have to be done later. Manpower to get this to happen is being reallocated from other projects already on this weeks schedule.
How would this change if HB 390 is passed? Rescues would be responsible for finding a place for Rookie, but without the threat of auction being eminent! We'd have more options and more time. Breathing room would be a welcome relief.