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NM Senate approves trapping ban

In this file photo from February, Michelle Lute, national carnivore conservation manager for Project Coyote, next to her dog, Captain Ginger, testifies to the Senate Conservation Committee in support of Senate Bill 32, a bill to ban trapping on public lands. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — The state Senate late Tuesday passed a bill that would ban traps, snares and wildlife poisons on public land in New Mexico — legislation supporters said would help prevent animal cruelty.

The measure, Senate Bill 32, will head next to the House with just 11 days left in the session.

Democratic Sens. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales of Ranchos de Taos and Brenda McKenna of Corrales said the ban would protect dogs and other pets from strangulation or catastrophic injuries.

At least nine dogs have been caught in privately set traps or snares on public land in New Mexico this trapping season, according to Animal Protection Voters.

“Imagine trying to free a pet or yourself under these highly stressful and painful circumstances,” McKenna said.

Opponents of the ban offered their own gruesome examples, arguing that traps and similar devices are necessary for ranchers to keep coyotes from feasting on baby calves and defenseless animals.

“It’s important they have these tools to protect their livestock,” Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, said.

The legislation includes a host of exceptions to the ban, such as for Native American ceremonies and ecosystem management by government agencies. Cage traps would also be permitted in some circumstances.

Supporters of the measure call it Roxy’s Law, named for a blue heeler mix killed in 2018.

It won approval 23-16. The debate didn’t fall along party lines, with Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the issue.

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