Marty Cordova, of Chimayó, was acquitted of the 10 remaining charges against him Nov. 10. Cordova was on trial for illegal trapping which led to the 2018 death of an 8-year-old Heeler mix named Roxy and the passing of “Roxy’s Law,” banning the usage of traps, snares and poisons on public lands in New Mexico.

Dave Clark of Española, Roxy’s owner, was hiking on a trail around Santa Cruz Lake when he watched her run through a snare trap that wrapped around her neck.

As he was taking his dog back to his truck, he heard another noise and found a bobcat also caught in a snare trap.

Cordova was acquitted of all 10 counts against him — 23 of the 33 charges against him were dropped.

Cordova’s lawyer Yvonne Quintana said the charges were dropped because of improper handling of evidence.

“The charges that were dismissed, there was improper handling of evidence by game and fish,” Quintana said. “They lost evidence. They deleted evidence. There were thousands of photographs that were deleted.”

Quintana said New Mexico Game and Fish failed to preserve a single snare and said the case was a long process at chipping away at the state’s case for their mishandling of evidence.

“I have to say this is one of the toughest trials I’ve done and it was a big trial,” Quintana said. “This was over his head for three years. It’s quite a relief to finally be done financially as well, as level(s) of stress of having to deal with something of this magnitude. I think the jury made the right determination in making the right acquittals.”

Despite Cordova’s acquittal, Quintana said there was a huge impact from the incident.

“Mr. Cordova received a lot of very negative publicity,” Quintana said. “But to the detriment of New Mexico, trapping may not be my favorite thing, but it’s a practice that has gone (on) for thousands (of) years and it is no more as a result of this case.” 

Quintana also said trapping wasn’t the only irresponsible thing that happened that day.

“The failure of that dog to not be on a leash on public lands, that is part of the reason for the loss of that animal as well,” Quintana said.

Clark said he was disappointed in the ruling and didn’t want to speak on the trial beyond that.

“The important story is Senate Bill 32, ‘Roxy’s Law,’” Clark said. “To me, that is important. I wasn’t too invested in this process because it’s pretty hard to convict somebody three years after the fact.”

Clark said even though “Roxy’s Law” goes into place in April, he still won't be letting his guard down when taking his animals hiking.

“I don’t really think there’s good trappers and bad trappers. I think trappers, unfortunately, kill unintended victims,” Clark said.

(1) comment

JJMac

Really, the lawyer is going to put some of the blame on the dog not on a leash. If the trap was not there, it would not have mattered.

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