May 12, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Animal Protection Voters-Political Action Committee Issues Endorsements in Three District Attorney Races
Voters in the 1st Judicial District, 4th Judicial District, and 11th Judicial District Div. II are urged to support the candidates who will do the best job of standing up for the protection of animals.
Santa Fe, N.M. – Animal Protection Voters, New Mexico’s leading political and legislative advocacy organization for animal protection—via its political action committee APV-PAC—announced its endorsement of three candidates in contested primary races for District Attorney. Recent notable animal-related criminal cases have been handled by those three judicial districts, making it important who serves as District Attorney in these districts.
1st Judicial District: Scott Fuqua
During his former tenure as a staff attorney and then Director of Litigation for the New Mexico Attorney General’s office, Fuqua was involved in several significant animal-related cases, including blocking the opening of a horse slaughter plant in Chaves County, and successfully defending the constitutionality of the state cockfighting ban in district court and on appeal. Fuqua also recently served for approximately five years on the Board of Directors for Animal Protection Voters.
In the 1st Judicial District in 2018, a dog named Roxy was killed by an illegally set neck-snare near a hiking trail, and the suspect (Marty Cordova) was found to have violated dozens of other wildlife laws—but the case was dismissed on grounds that the New Mexico Game & Fish Department failed to serve a search warrant and failed to preserve evidence. Fuqua identifies the principle issue as the need to properly train law enforcement officers to treat animal cruelty cases seriously. Under his leadership, he would staunchly support the prosecution of animal cruelty cases as well as push for vigorous enforcement of the ban on dog fighting and cockfighting.
4th Judicial District: Tom Clayton
In the 4th Judicial District in 2015, a dog named Hubble was one of four dogs seized from a severe neglect situation, found chained and emaciated, and he died from the neglect—but the judge declared a mistrial when it was discovered law enforcement withheld evidence from both prosecutors and defense attorneys. The 4th Judicial District is also facing an ongoing case of animal hoarding, involving large numbers of malnourished, sick animals living in filthy, cramped conditions—putting strain on the local community to care for the animals while criminal proceedings for the accused (Jessica Taylor) are pending.
Clayton acknowledges the need for more education within the community and training of law enforcement officers, and he has seen firsthand how that can impact the outcome of an important case. As the Chief Deputy who oversees the prosecutor assigned to handle animal abuse cases in the district, and as member of the local Animal Welfare Task Force, Clayton’s past experience provides a strong foundation for continuing to work in coalition with local partners to seek justice for animal victims of cruelty and neglect. Clayton understands that animal abuse has a close nexus to other forms of violent behavior and believes all statutes—including animal cruelty/neglect cases—should be prosecuted and individuals held accountable.
11th Judicial District: District Attorney Paula Pakkala
District Attorney Paula Pakkala’s office recently successfully prosecuted George Milliken in the Extreme Animal Cruelty case in which he first trapped his dog in a leg-hold trap, then shot the dog with a crossbow, and then left the dog to die. Pakkala has proven that she takes animal abuse seriously. The sentencing memorandum in the Milliken case said the prosecution was “appalled at the defendant’s behavior and believes imprisonment will have a specific effect on the rest of the general population,” and, “In a jurisdiction where cruelty towards animals is endemic, where the term ‘rez dog’ is synonymous with neglect and hopelessness, the citizens of McKinley County must begin to think twice before harming animals, particularly those that they have undertaken to own.” Milliken was sentenced to two years in jail plus probation, and three years counseling. The fierce sense of justice demonstrated by Pakkala and her office is indicative of the compassion, focus, and vision with which she conducts her work on behalf of the public.
About Animal Protection Voters
Founded in 2002, Animal Protection Voters is the leading legislative and political advocacy organization for animal protection in New Mexico. Powered by grassroots supporters, its mission is to:
- Actively promote and support animal-friendly legislation at the state, federal, and local levels;
- Build an effective political voice for animal advocacy in New Mexico; and
- Hold New Mexico’s elected officials accountable on animal issues.
For more information about Animal Protection Voters’ accomplishments, current priority issues, and annual scorecards, please visit www.apvnm.org, and be sure to follow Animal Protection Voters on Facebook and Twitter.
About Animal Protection Voters-Political Action Committee (APV-PAC)
APV-PAC is the only political action committee in New Mexico dedicated solely to electing humane state lawmakers that support animal protection. Follow APV-PAC on Facebook to stay updated on its election work throughout the state.