U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) personnel have recently witnessed dogs and cats disturbing, chasing, and sometimes killing wildlife on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge.  Breeding birds, small mammals, and young elk are especially vulnerable to these disturbances.  Part of the mission of the USFWS is to conserve and protect wildlife on the refuge for the benefit of the American people.  As such, federal laws mandate that feral animals be controlled on the refuge (USFWS 50 CFR § 30.11).  In addition, disturbing, injuring, and damaging plants and animals are prohibited (USFWS 50 CFR § 27.51a).

When feral dogs and cats without signs of ownership (collar, tags, etc.) are present or harass wildlife on the refuge, law enforcement officers are authorized to dispatch them.  If signs of ownership are present, efforts will be made to contact the pet’s owner.  Owners will be held responsible for any damages, and may be criminally prosecuted.

The USFWS encourages neighboring residents to be responsible for their pets, and take steps to prevent their animals from escaping onto the refuge where they may be dispatched or removed if caught.

For additional information, contact the Baca National Wildlife Refuge at (719) 256-5527.