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Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone met with members of the Los Alamos Stable Owners Association Friday at the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge, hoping to clear up some security issues. Earlier in the day, some of the owners took the chief on a tour of the stables.
Lately, the North Mesa Stables have been plagued with a rash of theft and vandalism incidents. Thursday’s meeting and tour had two goals, to have the chief and the stable owners get to know each other and how they operate, and two, see if they could all come up with some workable solutions. At the meeting, owners talked about security issues such as run ins with coyotes, teenagers doing “donuts” with their cars in lots where owners exercise their horses, speeding and of course the incidents of theft and vandalism.
LASOA President Mark Bayless detailed to the chief the solutions they tried so far, including improved lighting, neighborhood watches, and a gate system.
“What we are hoping is that the chief can look at some of our options and see where we can go from there,” he said at the meeting.
One of the main obstacles the stables have always had is that though the land and roads throughout the property is purposely set aside by the county for stables, the stables are private property. With 24 hour public access, it’s legally been hard to keep mischief makers and vandals away.
As for the coyote problem, one stable owner said “...it’s about time somebody takes a gun out there and thins them out. It’s just a matter of time before a young kid gets hurt.”
One stable owner mentioned that the coyote problem wasn’t just a matter of where the stables are located either. She mentioned that in the 30 years she’s been here, she’s never seen them so bold. “I’ve never seen a coyote just walk into the pens before and just stand there and look at you with absolutely no fear.” she said.
Another stable owner brought up the fact that this is leading to another problem: people setting traps of poisoned bait which could become a danger to the area’s pet population.
While Sgambellone said he is still researching the coyote issue, he told the stable owners at the meeting that they are keeping track of the vandalism and theft incidents that occur there.
“... And why that’s important is that even though you feel that we won’t be able to catch anybody doing things to you, is because it’s gives us more information as to when these things are occurring and when these things are occurring,” Sgambellone said.
At the end of the meeting Sgambellone thanked the stable owners for inviting him and that he will be spending some time to study the matter.
Bayless seemed pleased with how things went.
“It was a great opportunity to meet with Chief Sgambellone, talk with him and give us our concerns as stable owners,” Bayless said. “Hopefully, we will be able to come up with some solutions.”
After the meeting, Sgambellone said his first priority is to organize the information he’s received.
“I know there’s already been a lot of work done with the other departments within the county, so I want to make sure we’re all on the same page and evaluate what we can do and move forward together.”
Dan McCarn, a stable owner and a chief organizer of the meeting, was also pleased. He was also one of the stable owners that showed him around the stables, telling him about all the lighting problems, as well as the speeding, vandalism and other safety issues.
“ I think he got an earful of everything that could go wrong,” he said.