A week after a van filled with more than 100 chihuahuas crashed in eastern New Mexico, people still find more helpless dogs who survived that crash. 

“I have never seen anything like this in my life, like what we are facing now, last week what we went through, what we are still going through,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Nelson Kotar. 

Last week Kotiar thought they had the problem solved. When multiple metro area rescues stepped up to take in most of the injured chihuahuas. More than 80 went off to metro rescues and fostered to recover before getting adopted. And around 20 dogs didn’t survive the crash.

But over the last few days, some dogs in that van are suddenly showing up. 

“Last Saturday, a traveler was traveling up Highway 54 north. And they picked up another chihuahua running on the side of the road,” Kotiar explained. “We also got a call yesterday that one of the ranchers found two of those dogs. I expect more dogs running around here, and we ask people for help. If you find any dogs call the city of Santa Rosa Police Department.” 

What did the state policy say?

New Mexico State Police say the driver, 40-year-old Missael Rodelo, and all his passengers were brought to the hospital after the crash. There he surrendered all of those chihuahuas. 

NMSP also gave Rodelo citations for failing to stay in his traffic lane and not having insurance. 

But, when we asked State Police if Rodelo would face any charges for animal cruelty, a spokesperson said that the decision was up to the City of Santa Rosa. 

“We had a council meeting to talk to our attorney. How can we follow up with this matter because somebody needs to get a citation because that many dogs, the vehicle, and had no seat in the back? It’s horrible,” Kotiar said. 

Santa Rosa officials are still weighing their options, but the mayor says their priority is making sure these dogs are safe. 

“I’m so worried about those dogs. We are hoping people will find more dogs still alive, so we can find them good housing,” Kotiar said.

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