The Horse Shelter took in five cruelty seizure dispositions at the end of last year, and due to the existing livestock code and laws, we had to participate in online auction bidding to keep these horses safe and spent over $4,000 to do so. Other NM equine rescues were in the same position, and amongst the rescues, we were able to save all of the horses put up for bid after seizure court-ordered disposition.
Years ago, with the help of Animal Protection Voters (APV) and Animal Protection New Mexico (APNM), we tried to update NM’s livestock code to allow state equine rescues to have first right of refusal on these horses and all the horses found abandoned by the state. At that time, it did not get signed into law.
APV and the NM Livestock Board helped us revive these efforts in this legislative session. We are thrilled to report that SB271 passed through all committees and was signed by the governor. Senate Bill 271 gives registered NM Equine Rescues first right of refusal on equines found at large/estray by NMLB or seized from cruelty cases subject to court-ordered disposition; these are the horses we have always taken in.
The updated statute allows rescues to focus on what we do best – rehabilitating the horses and getting them the medical care they need to recover and thrive, so they can be adopted into good homes. It also acknowledges the state’s trust in rescues.
This is a major milestone achievement for NM equine rescues and shows our progress over the last decade. We appreciate the efforts of APV and APNM, the NM Livestock Board, bill sponsors Senator Carrie Hamblem and Representative Nathan Small, legislators and the governor.
NM Equine Rescues have established themselves to be vital to our state’s ability to help these homeless horses. We have worked hard in the last decade to establish relationships of trust with all parties involved and appreciate the efforts of all involved in seeking to improve the conditions for horses in NM. Working hand in hand with all parties is vital to truly serve the horse population in need. We are proud to have earned the trust to be NM’s resource for unwanted horses.
Susan Hemmerle Executive Director of THS & Co-Chair of the New Mexico Equine Rescue Alliance