There are many flaws in the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, better known as Roxy’s Law, passed by the New Mexico Legislature earlier this year. Unlike most laws which take effect by July 1 of the year they are passed, sponsors of Roxy’s law delayed the effective date until April 2022, allowing another fall-winter trapping season to take place as usual. Even when the law does take effect, it has numerous exceptions, allowing state and federal game managers to trap at will, and allowing anyone to trap and kill prairie dogs at any time for any reason.
A major flaw in Roxy’s law came to light earlier this month when the trapper responsible for Roxy’s death was acquitted for lack of evidence. The defense attorney in the case noted that the NM Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) deleted thousands of photographs related to the case and lost other pieces of evidence such as parts of the trap that snared Roxy. It is clear that NMDGF, which actively promotes trapping and opposed Roxy’s Law, has no interest in prosecuting anyone who violates the law.
Even when Roxy’s law finally comes into effect next spring, there will be no one to enforce it.