NM Legislature 2017: Two Bills We Hope Pass

new_mexico_state_capitol_east_entranceSB 126 (“Change Livestock and Animal Definitions”), sponsored by Sen. Pat Woods, clarifies the definition of livestock in the NM livestock code to include all horses, not just those domesticated or raised on a farm or ranch. We wrote about this bill in an earlier post. To support this bill, contact  Sen. Woods and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 284 (“Disposition of Trespassing Horses”) is also sponsored by Sen. Pat Woods. This straightforward bill gives the NM Livestock Board (NMLB) jurisdiction over any horse trespassing on private land, as it had just two years ago, before the NM Court of Appeals (WHOA v. NMLB) divided horses into two categories, livestock horses and non-livestock horses. That court decision essentially forces property owners to assume ownership of any trespassing horse that appears to be unowned (e.g., a “non-livestock” horse) and prevents them from utilizing NMLB’s estray livestock services. To support this bill, contact Sen. Woods and members of the Senate Conservation Committee.

Both SB 126 and SB 284 will ensure that property owners can utilize NMLB services to remove trespassing horses, no matter what type of horse. Why is this important? Uncontrolled free-roaming horse populations are damaging large swaths of private and public land in New Mexico. In rural areas, reducing free-roaming horse numbers will improve ecosystem health, wildlife habitat and road safety.