For frequent visitors slithering and prancing into town, a new law enforcement vehicle is following behind them.
In Tombstone, wild animals find temporary homes in the cracks of the wooden sidewalks, the doorways of shops and, on occasion, the doorsteps of residents’ homes. Some often regularly make a meal out of resident’s garbage and pets.
This is when James Everetts, the appointed animal control and Marshal’s Office code enforcer springs to action as the driver of the new Humvee. The Marshal’s Office was given the Humvee from military surplus.
“This was put on the road about two months ago,” said Everetts, also known as Rattler. “I designed it, with a friend and my son. It was all camouflage, but we changed it.”
The ‘Tombstone Marshal’ armored military Humvee looks for these animals on the prowl: rattle snakes, javelinas, bobcats, mountain lions and deer, not only in the city’s limits, but also in the desert outskirts.
“They crawl over here frequently,” Everetts said. “Honestly rattle snakes really never hibernated this year because it didn’t get very cold.
According to Everetts, there have recently been a lot of sightings and phone calls placed through dispatch to remove rattlesnakes from Tombstone. They are taken three miles outside of town.
Opening the back hatch of the Humvee, Everetts pointed to and explained some of the equipment he uses while on the road. Some of the useful tools include: a bucket and snake stick and a large crate used to carry some animals.
Everetts further explained that the Humvee will need to have a gated separation installed. This barrier will separate the animals from the driver, and ensure safety. Currently, the Humvee only allows for the transportation of snakes and domesticated pets.
“If bobcats, mountain lions or rattlesnakes get in town, and school is in, my first concern is the middle school. I also worry about younger kids walking home from school,” Everetts said.
According to Everetts, coyotes and javelinas have been strolling through Tombstone more often than ever before.
“This is the first time, though, that I’ve really had a problem (with house pets getting attacked by coyotes). A couple times they even stole people’s dogs,” Everetts said.
While out in the desert terrain, Everetts looks for footprints and also sets booby-trap trails to distract animals from town.
“By doing this, (animals) usually stray further away from town. I also pick up rocks, rub them on my hands, and then throw them back so when (animals) pick up the human scent, they get nervous and go a different away,” Everetts said.