Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who Is Killing, Maiming Cattle?

By John Severance

VEGUITA -- Somebody is killing and maiming cows in northern Socorro County.
In the past two years, Socorro County Sheriff deputies have been called at least nine times and possibly more to investigate who has been shooting, injuring and dragging cattle in the Veguita area.
The Barela family owns three cows that have sustained injuries in the past five months. One cow was shot, another cow was run down by a truck and still another was the victim of a bow and arrow. Socorro County is considered to be open range and cattle do not have to be fenced in.
Deputies were called to the intersection of Escobar and Diaz in Veguita on Dec. 25.
According to the report, it was noticed that a cow had been injured and was lying off the roadway. It appeared the cow had been struck, possibly by a vehicle. The cow had been shot. Both of its legs were broken from being dragged across a dirt road and Carlos Barela had to put the cow down.
"You could see her trying to get up but kept falling down," Carlos Barela told KRQE television this week. "Once we saw the legs curled up there was no way."
The Animal Protection of New Mexico is offering a reward of up to $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the Christmas Day incident and any of the other incidents. If you have any information, call 877-5-HUMANE.
The Christmas Day incident is just one of many. On Nov. 17, Gilbert Barela called deputies to his La Joya residence. The complaint said the victim witnessed the suspect chasing his cows. The victim stated he was using a scope at the time and saw the suspect chase the cows in his vehicle and then exit that same vehicle at his residence. Deputy Casey McFadden met with the suspect, who was very uncooperative, according to the report. One of the cows that the suspect was chasing arrived at the livestock pen limping, apparently struck by the suspect’s vehicle.
On Oct. 31, Gilbert Barela called deputies to his La Joya location. Barela stated the suspect was allowing her dogs to chase after his cattle. The victim told Barela that she was going to shoot his cows because they had damaged her fence and would shoot them if they returned to her property. The deputy met with the suspect who showed him the damage caused by victim’s cows.
On Aug. 25, deputies were called to Veguita by Joseph Barela, who stated the suspect was chasing his cattle with her vehicle. The deputy met with the suspect at an earlier date in regards to her chasing cows and the suspect had been cited into magistrate court.
In December, Veguita resident Brett Jones presented a livestock petition to the Socorro County Commission. Jones wanted to apply for an order that would prohibit the running of livestock within the limits of Rio Grande and Terra Grande Estates.
County attorney Adren Nance said in December, “The petitioner has not met all three elements required for the Board of County Commissioners to issue an order prohibiting livestock running at large.
“Although at least 25 residents of the area did sign the petition, they are not residents of a “town or district” as the area is a subdivision, not a townsite. Additionally, the area was not properly posted. Therefore, the Board cannot issue the order,”
Jones issued his objections and told the commission he was going to sue.
As Jones was being escorted from the commission meeting by Sheriff’s Deputy Preciliano “Shorty” Vaiza, vice chair Dan Monette yelled out, “We’ll see you in court.”
On Dec. 14, Jones filed suit against the commission, County Manager Delilah Walsh and Nance in Socorro Magistrate Court.
On the same day, Jones filed two other suits. One was against Gilbert Barela and deputy Casey McFadden. The other was against Myles Cubertson, Bobby Pierce and Mary McCoy for unspecified damages.

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