Los Chavez residents angry over trapped pets

LOS CHAVEZ, N.M. (KRQE)- People in one New Mexico neighborhood are worried about their pets. They say a chihuahua got caught in a trap set by one of their neighbors, a neighbor who’s paid to protect animals.

Wanda Couch rescued her chihuahua Nika when it was only 7 months old. She says she takes precautions to keep her dogs fenced in, but Sunday morning, Nika got out as Couch was pulling out of her driveway. When Couch returned, she was shocked with what she found.

“She just said, ‘Your dog’s in a trap. He’s not going to let me get her,’ ” says Couch.

Mary Crumpton lives across the street from Couch.

“I heard a severe yelp. It was like a blood curdling yelp, and I thought maybe she was being attacked or maybe got hit,” Crumpton recalls what happened Sunday morning.

Crumpton says she got worried and went to look for Nika. It wasn’t long before she found her in a neighbor’s backyard. The home belongs to BJ Winchester, an inspector for the New Mexico Livestock Board.

“I thought maybe it just had gotten snagged on a rope or something and was caught up and it was just scared so, when I got close enough to see it was an actual trap on her foot, I really was astonished,” explains Crumpton.

Crumpton showed KRQE News 13 where she found Nika. It’s the same spot where there are three set leg hold traps. Yet, according to Animal Protection of New Mexico, it’s perfectly legal for Winchester to set the leg hold traps on his property. The two called the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office who escorted Couch onto the property and helped free Nika.

“It just crushed me because she was our first chihuahua,” Couch says.

Couch claims Winchester admitted to deputies he’s trapped more than 20 animals on his property. She says she’s just thankful her neighbor found Nika when she did.

“I’m glad she wasn’t caught anywhere but her foot, and it’s still swollen, but it’s gone way down since last night,” Couch explains.

Nika is expected to make a full recovery.

We caught up with Winchester. He refused to talk with us about the traps in his backyard.

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