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Placitas’ free-roaming horses must go now, agency orders

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The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District agency has ordered the state Livestock Board to immediately remove all the free-roaming horses in Placitas to prevent damage to the land and to ensure public safety.

Coronado is an independent political subdivision of the state, tasked with protecting the environment. Its district covers an area stretching from Sandia Pueblo to the south, Santa Ana to the west, Cochiti to the north and the Santa Fe County line to the east.

The agency sent the order Monday to Livestock Board interim director Ray Baca and board spokesman Bobby Pierce.

Last week, representatives from Coronado and the Livestock Board attended a workshop organized by Sandoval County Commissioner Orlando Lucero to discuss environmental and public safety concerns related to the horses in Placitas.

Soil and Water District representatives spoke last week about the damage the horses have done to land in Placitas.

The order said no agency has done an inventory of the free-roaming unbranded “estray” horses in Placitas, which now number more than 100. It said the horses have caused extensive damage to the watershed, soil and landscape, leaving it vulnerable to erosion.

It said the horses have also caused pollution to surface water at Rosa de Castilla Spring, Las Huertas Creek, and Acequia la Rosa de Castilla in Placitas.

The order said the horses pose a threat to public safety because they can injure humans. It also claimed that five horses have been killed in accidents on N.M. 165 in the last nine months.

“Therefore, the Coronado SWCD hereby orders the New Mexico Livestock Board to immediately remove all the estray feral horses in the Placitas Area,” the order said.

The Journal was unable to reach Coronado or the Livestock Board for comment Monday evening.

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