PLACITAS, N.M. (KRQE) – With beautiful views and a quiet community, Placitas appears pretty peaceful. However, one woman who lives there says lately, she’s not living the simple life. She arms herself with bear spray when she takes a walk to protect herself against dangerous dogs.
She says dogs let loose are terrorizing people in Placitas. Ali Vaisvil says about two weeks ago, two loose dogs charged her and her dog Ruby during a walk.
“We go walking every day through our community here in Placitas,” said Vaisvil. “We were attacked by two loose dogs just out running loose when there’s a dog ordinance to keep them in their yards. They chased a good mile down the street that’s just behind us here.”
Luckily, a neighbor came to her rescue. She says he chased the dogs away with a shovel before they could bite her.
“If it hadn’t been for a Good Samaritan, it probably would’ve ended up a lot worse,” said Vaisvil. “We had a nice neighbor come to our rescue.”
Vaisvil says it’s not the first time she’s been attacked. She says her own mom and other neighbors have also been run down by dogs.
“My mom got attacked on one of the trails here and actually landed in a cactus patch and had some injuries,” said Vaisvil. “One of my neighbors actually was bitten by a loose dog in the community.”
She says her fellow neighbors are walking on eggshells. Many don’t feel comfortable even going outside.
“It’s been an ongoing problem. It’s not the first time we’ve been attacked in this community or that loose dogs have chased elderly folks,” said Vaisvil. “Especially since a lot of them are elderly or senior citizens and they’re scared. They don’t want to have to walk with guns and knives and that kind of thing. They just want to peacefully be able to get exercise and enjoy this community.”
Vaisvil says she’s made numerous reports but there’s only one animal control officer in that part of unincorporated Sandoval County. He’s spread thin, covering Placitas to Cuba.
“It’s a pretty wide, 70-mile range, just about,” said Vaisvil. “It’s one guy and he’s super nice but he can’t be everywhere at once.”
There’s a loose dog ordinance in place in Sandoval County. It’s against the law for animals to run loose and punishment can range from warnings to tickets and even arrests and fines. Vaisvil says she’s frustrated.
“You come up here to enjoy the scenery, to enjoy a little more laid back lifestyle and people here are super active. They bike, they hike, they go out,” said Vaisvil. “We’re always outside and we want to be able to have the peace of mind to ride our bikes or to hike or takes our dogs for walks without the fear of other dogs attacking us.”
She and other neighbors are making complaints until someone listens up. They want to see changes in their community.
“It would be nice to see another animal control officer, a few more boots on the ground, just to help enforce the laws in the community,” said Vaisvil. “And to have citizens be aware there is a loose dog ordinance.”
Sandoval County says although there is one animal control officer on duty for that area — two total for all of unincorporated Sandoval County — their sheriff’s deputies are also trained to take animal control calls. The county says they do have plans to expand their animal control to include more officers.
KRQE News 13 asked the county’s animal control if any animal owners in Placitas have been ticketed recently for their loose animals. KRQE has not received that information back from Sandoval County.