Farm Bureau comdemns cattle killer

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Union County Farm Bureau condemns actions of cattle killer

Union County Farm Bureau submitted a letter to the editor condemning the actions of a LaGrande resident who killed seven cows that trespassed on his property on Aug. 15.He charged with seven counts of aggravated animal abuse and first-degree criminal mischief in connection with cattle shootings earlier this month.

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– Union County Farm Bureau’s letter follows:

The Union County Farm Bureau condemns in the strongest terms the alleged unlawful shooting of seven cows by LaGrande psychiatrist, Dr. Joel Rice. Under no circumstances does the Union County Livestock District or the Oregon Revised Statutes allow for any landowner to shoot and/or kill any trespassing livestock.

Farmers and ranchers strive to be good neighbors. Livestock and crops are our livelihood and we work to take the best care possible of them.

The statutes and ordinance spell out a process that landowners should take in the event of a livestock trespass. A landowner should first contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture Brand Inspector to help identify the owners and notify them to retrieve their livestock and fix the fence that allowed the livestock out. If that fails, the landowner is to call the Union County Sheriff’s office to enforce the ordinance. Current law provides a process for landowners to recoup costs as a result of damages from trespassing livestock. Again, there is no provision for a landowner to shoot to kill the offending livestock and endanger the lives of neighbors and others.

The Union County Farm Bureau strongly urges the Union County Court to prosecute Dr. Joel Rice to the full extent of the law.

Gene Hardy,
President, Union Co. Farm Bureau