Animal control, deputies stretched thin

By Trish Hernandez
Posted 9/12/19

Well hello again, dear readers. It has been a long time since my last column and now I am back to share animal news and events in our community. Thank you to everyone who contacted me and continued …

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Animal control, deputies stretched thin


Well hello again, dear readers. It has been a long time since my last column and now I am back to share animal news and events in our community. Thank you to everyone who contacted me and continued to give your support during these past months. I am doing much better and this column will be at the beginning of every month.

So much to share with you and thank you for your long-standing and dedicated support. Please send me your event and other animal information that you would like published. Let's get the Animales page really going again. It was a great service to our public and fun to inform about pet events and other pet news throughout our community.

This first column is about our sheriff and his department. The sheriff and I have a long-standing relationship full of different phases regarding animal control, as many of you may be aware. Our relationship is good and I am happy to dedicate this column to our Taos County Sheriff''s Department.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe's official tenure of office began Jan. 1, 2015 and will end Dec. 31, 2022. He has been elected twice and will serve for a total of eight years. The sheriff's legal territory is all of Taos County, which covers 2,206 square miles. The animal control coverage for our county is also within the sheriff's department, consisting of two animal control officers, Richard Sanchez and Rita Cardenas, who oversee and respond to animal complaints within the county.

Animal control is on duty seven days a week, which means weekends are included. These officers are on a rotating schedule for the seven days. They answer calls made to central dispatch for stray dogs and cats, reported animal abuse, abandonment and any other irregularities.

According to Hogrefe, he needs twice as many deputies for law enforcement to cover this large area of 2,206 square miles. The forests and mountains are not under the sheriff's office jurisdiction even though they are in Taos County. It is a vast area to be responsible for, with a small number of deputies to enforce the law.

Currently there are 31 people on the sheriff's staff, with 26 in actual law enforcement. To be most effective the sheriff needs to hire at least half that amount for our large area of patrol. The county commissioners regulate the budget. We are a fairly low-income county and the money is not there for needed deputies.

Essentially, the sheriff's responsibilities in Taos County are to preserve the peace of the public and enforce the laws and ordinances of Taos County. You can access more information on the Sheriff's Department web site and on the Facebook page. Also, friend the sheriff on Facebook and get his several daily posts.

Once hired as a new deputy sheriff, new hires are sent to in-state and out-of-state training institutions. In-house training includes orientation with a senior officer. Hogrefe also requires his deputies each to wear a recording camera that films as well as captures audio dialogue for the safety and accuracy of his officers and also the accused and victims. New deputies learn the county's geography, all the major landmarks and roads of our county and different locations.

Makes good sense doesn't it?

In addition to the sheriff's other extensive duties he oversees the Taos Detention Center until a new qualified director is found to take over.

Hogrefe came to Taos County from Red River where he resides with his wife, Susan. The Hogrefes became grandparents for the first time and I do believe our sheriff's eyes twinkled when he spoke of the newest cherished member of their family. Fortunately, his son lives in Red River so that new baby will have loving parents and grandparents bringing him up. I can only imagine how wonderful it is for our sheriff to come home to this happiness every day after a day of stress that comes with the job.

Hogrefe's professional time in law enforcement began in Red River with animal control and he soon became an officer on regular patrol culminating in serving as Red River's town marshal. He served a total of 22 years in the town's law enforcement.

Before becoming Taos County sheriff, Hogrefe served as interim Taos chief of police and that is where I first met him. He actually took the time to call me to come in and and meet the newly hired animal control officer for the town. It was a generous and positive gesture.Much more to write about Sheriff Hogrefe and his department. Definitely an overwhelming job to oversee in Taos County.

Thank you, Sheriff Hogrefe, and thank you to all your deputies and staff.

Have a pet question or want to suggest a topic for this column? Email or call (575) 613-3448.


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