Stop training dogs to kill

The disgraceful criminal actions of Scott Bidegain [who resigned in February as chairman of the New Mexico Game Commission] in setting up a canned cougar hunt for anyone willing to pay the money to kill our wildlife brings to mind that the general public may not be aware of the way the dogs used to hunt cougars and bears are trained.
    The dog trainer uses kittens, puppies, or other small pets, often obtained from “free to good home” newspaper ads, sprays them with commercially available cougar scent, puts them in a bag attached to a long pole, and jiggles the bag high up in a tree to train the dog to the “treeing” part of the hunt.
    The trainer will take the pet out to an open area and set it free. Already terrified of the dogs from being held in a bag in a tree, the kitten will flee. Then the dogs are freed to follow the scent and chase the small animal until they invariably tear the domestic pet to pieces.
    This manner of training is obviously extreme cruelty to animals and is a felony. Since it is a crime, it is a closely guarded secret among those who sell trained cougar and bear hunting dogs. Guides buy these pre-trained dogs so they can profess ignorance of these training methods.
    As in the Bidegain case, the buyer can travel from another state while an animal is kept at bay by the dogs. Being driven to a trapped animal and shooting it is not hunting. It is killing for the fun of it, to get a trophy. The “hunter” pays thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars to easily kill a terrified wild animal. Only if an outfitter uses dogs can they guarantee that the paying trophy “hunter” will be able to kill a treed bear or cougar. These “hunters” only hunt with a guarantee of success. Outfitters and private landowners, as well as the State Game & Fish Department, profit from the sale of licenses, permits, and the actual “hunt.”
    Dogs who follow an animal scent other than cougar or bear are called “trash runners” and are “disciplined” by cruel methods. Author David Baron in The Beast in the Garden (Norton, 2004) writes about measures such as “shocking a dog with a cattle prod, pelting it with birdshot, or beating the dog unconscious or to death.” Baron quotes Frank Hibben: “catch the dog in the act, then put a lasso rope around his neck and hang the dog from a limb until his toes just touch the ground and work him over with a quirt, rope, brush, pieces of electrical light wires or a chain.”
    The only way to end this illegal and cruel training practice is to put an end to allowing dogs to be used for hunting cougar and bear.
    I first learned about this practice in 1998 when I lived in Valencia County and my magnificent registered paint horse Nightwind (aka Bart), was shot to death in his pasture by a neighbor who trained and sold these dogs.
    The neighbor, Larry Thomas King, was a convicted rapist who had violated his probation in Texas and moved to New Mexico. King was involved in an irrigation dispute with my husband and me when he killed Bart.
    King obtained and sold horses from the Livestock Auction in Los Lunas owned by Dennis Chavez, who hauls thousands of horses to Mexico to slaughter every year. After an investigation by the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police, King was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, pled guilty and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.
    When The Horseman’s Voice magazine published the story of Bart’s death, a woman called and told me about the manner of training these hunting dogs. She had purchased a horse from King and he had asked her if she had any puppies or kittens she wanted to give away, and told her how the pitiful animals would be used to train his dogs.
    Information about the cruel practices also came out in the sentencing hearing. King’s girlfriend, Jean Mocine, confirmed this method of dog training during cross-examination by U.S. Attorney Louis Valencia. When confronted with the information, she said, “Well, that’s how we train ’em.”
    Isn’t it time that the Game & Fish Department become the “Wildlife Department,” staffed by people who love and respect wild animals, people who consider the balance of nature as necessary, and that animals are hunted by real hunters using their own hunting skills without the use of cruelly trained dogs?

Gloria McCary

Editor’s note: Scott Bidegain acknowledged taking part in the cougar hunt when he resigned in February. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Oklahoma lawyer Jason Roselius paid $9,000 to hunt cougar at Bidegain’s family ranch near Tucumcari. When Roselius was called to the ranch, a cougar already had been cornered in a cave, and he killed it with one shot. Game & Fish prosecuted because a hunter is required to be present from the time hunting dogs are released.

Now is the time to help horses

I would like your readers to know about a special opportunity to help horses and other equines this year in the state of New Mexico. Our organization, Animal Protection of New Mexico, has received a challenge from a very dedicated, generous donor who has offered to match every gift in 2014 to our Equine Protection Fund, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000!
    The Equine Protection Fund is a partnership with the New Mexico Community Foundation that offers assistance to needy families to provide life-saving services for their equines, including emergency feed assistance and help with humane euthanasia.
    The challenge grant consists of two $50,000 grants, one for immediate direct services, the other for future services through the fund’s endowment. The total possible gift for New Mexico equines comes to $200,000! That translates to helping 1,200 more horses, donkeys, and mules this year if we can meet the challenge.
    The Year of the Horse is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the needs of horses in our state, and the kinds of efforts being made to alleviate their suffering. I encourage your readers who care about horses to donate for either immediate or future needs at Checks may also be sent to AP NM, P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192. Please designate “EPF Now” or “EPF Future” for the current and future funds. I am happy to offer further information for anyone who has questions at or (575) 405-8567. Thank you.

Victoria Kanof
Equine Development Officer
Animal Protection of New Mexico

Mayor deserves apology

I not only found your article titled “A Beastly Bruising”  inappropriate within a Village publication, but also very slanted in its rendition of our current Mayor’s standings and quite slanderous toward his supposed campaign tactics regarding Chris Allen. I clearly see where you stand and hopefully you realize this can only lead to yet more turmoil and potential problems within the village. I understand Chris Allen desiring to free her name as an individual of animal cruelty, but to place blame on her opponent is way out of line. I believe an apology is due to our current Mayor Scott Kominiak for this slanderous portrayal, as both sides of the campaign were filled with nasty rumors and to have this publication in the Bosque Beast is an embarrassment to this Village!

Deborah Michael Gonzales

Bowl them over

I would like to invite animal-loving artists to participate in the 2014 Bowled and Beautiful fundraiser, to be held on Oct. 4. I have collected several dozen bowling balls, and am seeking artists to transform them into unique masterpieces. The art will be sold at a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the local rescue groups Second Chance Animal Rescue and NMDOG . Please contact me at (505) 440-3208 or

Ed Goodman

Dogtober in June

Corrales residents are invited to the 2nd Annual Dogtoberfest on Saturday, June 7, from 1 to 5 pm at 750 E. Valverde. There will be music, light refreshments, raffles, and a silent auction with lots of great items to raise money for Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary, which provides compassionate end-of-life care for older unwanted dogs, horses and poultry. Many of our happy senior ambassadors will be on hand to greet you with smiling faces and wagging tails. Every penny goes to the animals.

Ulla Pedersen, director
Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary
Santa Fe