The New Mexico County Predatory Control Act deals with predatory wild animals and rodent pests. On federal lands, the federal government pays for rodent pest repression. On public federal or state lands, the state and federal cooperative funds pay for rodent pest repression. On private land, rodent pest repression is based on voluntary cooperation of owners, but if the owner fails, after written notice, to destroy the prairie dogs, the state rodent inspector is authorized to enter the lands and destroy the prairie dogs at the expense of the owner. Any person who interferes with the rodent inspector is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100 to $500.
§ 77-15-1 . Cooperation with United States; appropriation
§ 77-15-2 . Agreement for cooperative work
§ 77-15-2.1 . State-managed predator control program continued; creation of permanent state-managed rodent pest control program
§ 77-15-3 . Apportionment of appropriation; sale of furs and specimens; bounty
§ 77-15-4 . Payment of cost of rodent pest repression
§ 77-15-5 . State rodent inspector; salary; destruction of prairie dogs; cost; interfering with inspector; penalty
§ 77-15-6 . Short title
§ 77-15-7 . Purpose of predator control program; method of establishment
§ 77-15-8 . Petitions; signatures required
§ 77-15-9 . Form of petitions
§ 77-15-10 . Filing of petition; verification by board of county commissioners; creation of program; creation of predator control board
§ 77-15-11 . Special levy
§ 77-15-12 . Abolition or continuation of program
§ 77-15-13 . Powers of county predator control board
§ 77-15-14 . Program in addition to all other programs
That the state of New Mexico will cooperate with the bureau of biological survey of the United States, department of agriculture, in destroying predatory wild animals and rodent pests in the interest of the protection of crops and livestock and the improvement of range conditions. The work of destroying such predatory wild animals and rodent pests is to be carried on under the direction of the bureau of biological survey. There is hereby appropriated for the eighth fiscal year and each year thereafter until otherwise provided by law, the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for paying the state's share of the cost of such operations as may be provided in the cooperative agreement hereinafter mentioned: provided, that not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) be furnished for such cooperative operations each year by the federal government.
L. 1919, Ch. 119, § 1.
The president of the New Mexico college of agriculture and mechanic arts [New Mexico state university] is hereby authorized and directed to execute a cooperative agreement with the secretary of agriculture or the bureau of biological survey, for carrying on such cooperative work in such manner and under such regulations as may be stated in said agreement.
L. 1919, Ch. 119, § 2.
The state-managed predator control program, authorized by Subsection K of Section 4 of Chapter 155 of Laws 1980, is continued on a permanent basis and a permanent state-managed rodent pest control program is established within the New Mexico department of agriculture, subject to the availability of funds.
L. 1981, Ch. 20, § 1.
The funds hereby appropriated shall be apportioned for predatory animal destruction and rodent pest repression in such amounts as may be stated in such agreement or in the absence of such agreement as may be determined by the president of New Mexico state university, who shall forward a certificate of such apportionment to the department of finance and administration and a duplicate thereof to the state treasurer, who shall thereupon credit the funds available for the said appropriations to the predatory animal fund and the rodent pest repression fund respectively as stated in said certificate. Said funds shall be expended in amounts as authorized by said president and disbursed by warrants issued by the secretary of finance and administration upon itemized vouchers or payrolls certified by the predatory animal inspector of the bureau of biological survey or by the state rodent inspector or the assistant of the biological survey in charge of rodent pest repression, respectively.
All furs, skins and specimens taken by hunters or trappers paid from the state funds shall be sold upon sealed bids, after advertisement as may be prescribed by the president of said university, and the proceeds of such sales shall be paid to the state treasurer to be credited and added to said predatory animal fund; provided, that any specimens so taken may be presented free of charge to the New Mexico museum or any state institution.
No bounty shall be collected from any county for animals taken by hunters or trappers operating under such agreements, and scalps of animals so taken shall be destroyed or cancelled or marked in such manner that they cannot be used by any other person for collecting of bounty.
L. 1919, Ch. 119, § 3; L. 1977, Ch. 247, § 158.
On lands which are a part of any national forest, Indian reservation or other national reserve, rodent pest repression is to be carried on at the expense of the federal government. On state lands leased or sold under contract for which the purchaser has not yet obtained the title, rodent pest repression is to be prosecuted on a cooperative basis with such lessee or purchaser on such terms as may be agreed upon. All leases hereafter issued for state lands, and all contracts hereafter made for the sale of the state lands, shall provide that the lessee or purchaser shall be obligated to destroy the rodent pests upon such lands and upon failure to do so to pay the cost of rodent pest repression upon such lands by the state rodent force or the cooperative force provided for by this act, which cost shall not exceed ten cents ($.10) per acre for the infested areas of such lands.
Upon public lands of the United States or of the state, not included in reservations or covered by lease or contract, rodent pest repression shall be carried on and paid for out of the state and federal cooperative funds available as hereinbefore mentioned.
Upon privately owned lands rodent pest repression under this act shall be based on voluntary cooperation of owners, lessees or occupants; poison materials or prepared poison grain to be supplied to such cooperators at actual cost, payable to the state of New Mexico, and the moneys so received shall revert and be added to the said rodent pest fund.
Landowners may arrange with the state rodent inspector or assistant of the biological survey in charge of rodent pest repression in any part of the state for the destruction of rodents on their lands, under written agreement; provided, that the state shall be reimbursed for the actual cost of such treatment to be paid into the state treasury within thirty days after the presentation of the itemized account therefor by the foreman or person in charge of such work; and if not so paid such amount shall be a lien upon the said land. Provided, the amount of such lien shall not exceed ten cents ($.10) per acre for the infested areas treated.
L. 1919, Ch. 119, § 4.
A state rodent inspector shall be appointed by the president of the New Mexico college of agriculture and mechanic arts [New Mexico state university], such appointment to be made from a list of names furnished by the bureau of biological survey; said state rodent inspector shall be at all times subject to and under the direction of the bureau of biological survey. He shall be paid a salary not exceeding one hundred fifty dollars ($150) per month and actual and necessary traveling expenses while performing the duties of his office; such salary and expenses to be paid out of said rodent pest fund in the manner provided in Section 3 of this act.
In case any owner of land infested by prairie dogs shall fail, after written notice from the state rodent inspector served upon such owner in person or mailed to his last known post-office address, to destroy the prairie dogs in such infested areas or to enter into a cooperative agreement as provided by the preceding section to have the same destroyed, or in case the owner is unknown to the county assessor, it shall be the duty of the state rodent inspector, or some member of the cooperative force designated by him, and such inspector or member of said force is hereby authorized, to enter upon said lands and to destroy the prairie dogs therein at the expense of the owner of said lands; which expense shall be a lien upon said lands; provided, that such expense chargeable to the owner or against land of unknown owners shall not exceed ten cents ($.10) per acre for the infested areas; provided further, that in case any tract of land not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres actually owned and occupied as a home by a citizen of this state is infested with prairie dogs and such owner can show to the satisfaction of the state rodent inspector or assistant in charge of the work that he or she is financially unable to pay the cost of destroying the prairie dogs therein, such cost shall be borne by the state and paid out of the rodent pest repression fund.
The state rodent inspector, or the person so designated by him, shall keep an itemized account of the actual expense of materials and labor and necessary traveling or other expense in connection with destroying the rodent pests upon any such lands under such cooperative agreement, or of destroying such prairie dogs in the absence of such agreement, and if the owner shall fail to pay the same within thirty days after notice to him in person or by mail to his last known post-office address, the amount of such costs and expenses, not exceeding ten cents ($.10) per acre, shall be certified to the county assessor of the county in which such lands are situate, together with an accurate description of the land by government subdivisions or other descriptions sufficient to identify the same, and a statement of the number of acres of said land so infested and treated. It shall be the duty of the county commissioners of said county at the time and in the manner for levying other taxes, to make a special levy upon the lands so described sufficient to pay the amount of such costs and expenses, not exceeding ten cents ($.10) per acre, of such infested land, together with a penalty of five percent and interest at the rate of one per centum per month from the date of such certificate, which tax shall be entered upon the assessment roll assessed against the owner of said lands, or assessed to unknown owners, as the case may be, and shall be collected at the time and in the manner provided for the collection of other taxes upon said tax roll, and transmitted to the state treasurer without the deduction of any percentage thereof and credited to the state rodent pest fund.
Should there be any land infested with prairie dogs in any county, the owner of which land is unknown, and such land is assessed in such county against unknown owners upon the tax roll for the then current year, it shall be the duty of the state rodent inspector to cause the prairie dogs therein to be destroyed, and the expense thereof, not exceeding ten cents ($.10) per acre of infested areas, shall be certified to the county commissioners, levied upon said land and assessed, collected and paid into the state treasury to the credit of the rodent fund as hereinbefore provided.
Any person who shall interfere with the said rodent inspector in the discharge of his duties as herein provided shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense; provided, that in case of any small tract of land not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres in extent, actually occupied as a home by any resident of the state of New Mexico, who is able to show to the satisfaction of the state rodent inspector or assistant of the biological survey, in charge of said work, that he or she is not financially able to pay the costs of clearing said land of the prairie dogs therein, such cost shall be borne by the state and paid out of said rodent pest repression fund.
L. 1919, Ch. 119, § 5.
This act may be cited as the “County Predatory Control Act.” [FN1]
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 1.
Predator control programs shall be established in any county by the board of county commissioners upon receipt of a valid petition for that purpose. The predator control program shall be for the protection of sheep and goats, or cattle, or both groups of animals, against predators, for one-, two-, three-, four- or five-year periods.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 2.
The petitions for the establishment of a predator control program shall be valid for a program for the protection of sheep and goats, if in the proper form and signed by the owners of at least fifty-one percent of the sheep and goats listed on the tax rolls in the county, and shall be valid for a program for the protection of cattle if in the proper form and signed by the owners of fifty-one percent of the cattle listed on the tax rolls in the county. If a signer of the petition owns both cattle and sheep and goats, and wishes to sign the petition for the limited purpose of cattle, or for the limited purposes of sheep and goats he may do so by indicating after his signature “sheep and goats only” or “cattle only” as the case may be, in the column headed “Limitation.” If there is no qualification and the signer owns both classes of animals, the signature shall be valid for both predator control programs. If the livestock are assessed under a partnership or firm name, the signer shall list the name under which assessed. The petition shall state a maximum rate of assessment.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 3.
The petitions shall be in substantially the following form:
PETITION FOR COUNTY PREDATOR CONTROL PROGRAM
To the Board of County Commissioners of .......... (name of county)
The undersigned, owners of at least fifty-one percent of the sheep and goats, and fifty-one percent of the cattle (or either, as the case may be) on the tax rolls of .......... (name of county) county, New Mexico, hereby petition the board of county commissioners to establish a county predator control program as authorized by .......... (cite applicable law) to last for a period of .......... years from the date of the establishment of the program. This program shall be financed by a mill levy on the appropriate kind of livestock in this county at a rate not to exceed .......... ($)per head.
We further petition the board of county commissioners to appoint the following five livestock owners, residents of this county, to serve as the county predator control board:
1. ............................................................. 3. ................................................................
2. ............................................................. 4. ................................................................
Date Name under Limitation
Signed Signature Address which assessed (if any)
The petitions may consist of as many sheets of paper as needed, as long as each sheet is headed as provided in this section.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 4.
The petitions shall be filed on or before the first Monday in August in any year at a regularly scheduled meeting of the board of county commissioners. After examination of the petition, if the board finds the petition in order and properly signed by the owners of at least fifty-one percent of the sheep and goats, and by the owners of at least fifty-one percent of the cattle, the board shall declare a county predator control program established for both classes of animals for the period specified in the petition. If the petition is signed by the owners of fifty-one percent of either class but not both classes, the board shall declare a county predator program established for that class of animal for which the petition contains the required signatures for the period specified in the petition. The board shall further appoint the persons designated on the petition as the county predator control board, to serve for the period of the county predator control program. The predator control program established shall commence on January 1 following the establishment of the program, and shall continue for the term specified on the petition. If any funds remain after the termination of the program, these funds shall be refunded to each livestock owner assessed under the County Predator Control Act in the proportion that the number of head of his livestock protected and assessed under the act at the date of termination of the program bears to the total number of head of livestock protected and assessed under that county program at the date of termination. Any pelts collected shall be sold and the proceeds placed in the county predator control fund.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 5.
A. Upon the establishment of a county predator control program, the board of county commissioners shall order a special levy of a tax in the form of a mill levy that will produce not more than the rate limitation set on the petition and not more than one dollar ($1.00) per head on all animals in the county to be protected under the county predator control program. This special levy shall be over and above any other special levies and shall not be construed to be within the constitutional twenty-mill limitation. The proceeds of this special levy shall be deposited with the county treasurer for expenditure upon order of the county predator control board and shall be spent, during the existence of the program, solely for predator control.
B. The amount of the levy shall be stated on the petition, and the county predator control board shall certify it to the board of county commissioners on or before the first Monday in August following its appointment. The special levy shall be assessed, levied and collected as other taxes in the county and at the expense of the county.
C. The owners of fifty-one percent of the animals assessed under the County Predator Control Act may require a change in the amount of the levy within the statutory limit by petitioning the county predator control board on or before the first Monday of July of any year.
D. Any owner of dairy animals or of feedlot animals being fattened on full feed for slaughter and which animals are included in the animals on the tax rolls for this special assessment may have these animals excluded from the special assessment by filing a certified statement containing the description and count of the animals with the board of county commissioners prior to September 1 of the year in which the tax is assessed.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 6; L. 2005, Ch. 233, § 1, eff. June 17, 2005.
The owners of fifty-one percent of the animals covered by a county predator control program can abolish the program in any year by a petition to the county commissioners on or before the first Monday of August of any year in the same manner as the program was created.
If it is desired to continue a program past the date set for its termination, it must be done by the same type of petition by which the program was initiated, and must be filed by the first Monday of August of the year preceding the termination date.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 7.
The county predator control board shall expend the moneys collected under the County Predator Control Act for a predator control program for the county. The board may do so by establishing a separate predator control program or by contracting with other federal or state agencies or with agencies of other counties.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 8.
The county predator control program established under this County Predator Control Act shall be in addition to other state and federal programs, and shall not be construed to be in lieu of those programs.
L. 1965, Ch. 92, § 9.