Santa Fe, NM – Senator George Muñoz (D-4- Cibola, McKinley & San Juan) has introduced the Care & Humane Disposition of Equines Act, which would appropriate $500,000 to the New Mexico Livestock Board’s Horse Shelter Rescue Fund to support the feeding and humane care of horses in the Four Corners region of New Mexico. Sen. Muñoz says he has recognized that there is not enough state support to help care for abandoned and abused horses.
“When the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) seizes abandoned or cruelly-treated horses, they should have the funds to pay a licensed horse rescue shelter for the horses’ care. The public needs to know that horses are in good hands while the cases against the owners go through the judicial system,” said Sen. Muñoz.
Because of a persistent and worsening drought, rising hay prices, and an unyielding economic downturn in the state, many horse owners have found themselves unable to properly care for their horses. In addition, some areas of the state have free-roaming horse populations that cannot be sustained with current range conditions, in some cases causing horses to wander into other areas.
When the NMLB seizes horses in these particular situations, the animals are placed in non-profit horse shelter rescues, which are licensed and regulated to help care for them. But, because the NMLB does not have a specific budget to fund these shelters for the cost of temporary horse care, the shelters must rely on private donations.
“It is unreasonable for the State to expect non-profit horse shelter rescues to absorb the costs of care for horses that are in the custody of the State. In contrast, dogs and cats seized by law enforcement officers are almost always held at government-supported animal shelters,” said Laura Bonar, Program Director for Animal Protection Voters.
This appropriation would cover the cost of care for hundreds of seized and stray horses at horse shelter rescues, which represent the only legitimate, licensed infrastructure the State can currently use for the care of horses in need.