Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rancher Saves Socorro Woman’s Dog

By John Larson

SOCORRO - Thanks to a good deed by a local rancher, a Socorro woman who thought she had lost him forever, now has her dog, Dundee, back home safe and sound.
Dundee’s story involves two tales – one from Socorro police, and the other from the rancher.
Tuesday, July 20, New Mexico Tech researcher Elizabeth Larkin tied up her dog outside Wal-Mart while she ran inside to pick up a prescription.
“A man sitting on the bench said he would watch the dog for me if I paid him,” Larkin said. “I told him no thanks, I’ll only be inside for five minutes.”
When she came back out five minutes later, her dog, Dundee, was gone. She believed the man had taken the dog.
Larkin reported the theft to Socorro police, who viewed the security camera video which showed a man taking the dog. Officer Luis Chavez was able to identify the suspect as Monroe Monte, of the Alamo Navajo Reservation.
In his report, Chavez said he met with Monte the next day, Wednesday, and asked him if he had taken the dog.
Monte said he “had taken the dog but the owner told him to take the dog,” and that the dog was in Alamo. The officer told Monte that he would not be charged with larceny if he brought the dog back.
In reality, Monte had sold the dog for $20 in Magdalena the day before.
On Tuesday, Socorro County rancher Travis Lewis was leaving Socorro on his way back to the Martin Ranch heading west on Highway 60 when he noticed what he described as an “obviously intoxicated” man hitchhiking toward Magdalena with a dog on a leash.
He said he considered stopping to give the man a lift but decided against it.
“We were passing through Magdalena, and I guess he had gotten a ride because we saw the same guy with the dog on a leash at the Golden Spur,” Lewis said. “There was something not right about the man having this particular dog because the dog seemed very uncomfortable. It didn’t seem right and the animal was not happy at all.”
Rather than get into a conflict over challenging the man’s ownership of the dog, Lewis said to him, “That’s a nice dog you have there.”
The man [Monte] then offered to sell the dog for $50. “I told him I couldn’t afford that,” Lewis said.
The man then said he would take $25 for the dog, but Lewis said, “I don’t have that much on me, but I’ll give you $20.”
Lewis then took the dog back to his ranch north of Magdalena, and that evening he noticed a tag on the dog’s collar. Larkin’s telephone number was on the tag.
He called her and said, “I think I’ve got your dog,” and he related the story of how he got the dog from the man.
He brought the dog back to Socorro the next day, Wednesday.
Lewis was offered $20 as a reward, which he refused. “I’m just glad we could get the dog back,” Lewis said.
Dundee was back home after a whirlwind trip which began outside Wal-Mart.
Monte was charged with larceny, and a non-traffic citation was filed Monday, July 26, with Magistrate Court.

Photo by John Larson

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