I apologize to my readers for the two week absence. It wasn't planned, I just kept not getting to it. It has been two weeks made up of animals. First we have the cougar in the back yard of a county resident. That generated much controversy and criticism. Next we had the Scrimshaw family struck by a drunk driver while horseriding near their home on County Road 45. Both of these incidents happened in ajoining neighborhoods off highway 14 and in my old stomping grounds. My family and I lived in the area and once owned a Video Store and Mail Center in the area. I know the family whose yard the cougar was put down in and I know many of the neighbors in the area of the horse incident. Both incidents caused me much stress and sorrow.
The night of the cougar incident I received a call from my Sergeant who advised me that a cougar was in the backyard of an old friend of mine. The cougar was eating a housecat and we felt the cougar was probably the same one who had been eating housecats in the city also. We had called N.M. State Game and Fish who usually are prompt and handle these situations by tranquilizing the animals for us. The Sergeant advised me that the local Game and Fish officers were out of town on training and we were attempting to find someone else with a tranquilizer rifle. I advised him to put the animal down if it tried to leave. I could not take the chance that the animal would leave and then return another day to find a small child in a yard. This animal had shown that it was not afraid of populated neighborhoods and could attack if given the chance.
My wife was lying in bed next to me and heard me give the order. She immediately began expressing her disapproval with my order. After I got off the phone with the Sergeant we discussed the issue and why I told the Sergeant to put the animal down if it tried to leave. She expressed her disappointment that we could not find a tranquilizer gun but understood why I gave the order which I did. A few minutes later I received a call from the Sergeant that we located a Game and Fish Officer in Edgewood. He was probably 40 minutes away. I hoped and prayed he got there before we had to take action. 45 minutes after I received the first call I got a call back that the animal tried to leave and was put down by my deputies. The Game and Fish Officer arrived about 10 minutes after we put it down. I still know that we did what we had to do and I will take the criticisms that I have received and chalk it up to " that's why the buck stops here".
I feel bad for my wife who was forced to defend me to animal loving co-workers and friends. Especially since no one cares more about animals than she does. She pulls over and chases prairie dogs off the street so they don't get run over. Her and my son bring home dogs much to my annoyance every year. I will never forget the time she was driving on Fifth Street near Saint Michaels Drive when she saw a large prairie dog in the road. She wanted to scare it off the road so she threw a 16 ounce plastic Pepsi bottle at it just trying to scare it. She hit it on the head with the bottle by accident and after it looked at her with a dazed but pissed off look before it ran off the road to live another day. I am literally laughing right now as I type this story. Its one of the many reasons I love her. (she makes me laugh).
The Horse Rider DWI incident was next and was horrifing yet you can't help but thank god that the children and father lived. Once again the animals died. The highway 14 area was once very rural and did not have the problems that more populated areas had. Now it like all areas have grown and the once rural area is very heavily populated. Growth in the area is exploding as the city and county push growth purposly into this area which has been targeted as almost the only planned (if you can call it that) growth area in the county. It reminds me of a quote by Robert C. Gallagher "Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine."