Saturday, March 25, 2017

Oregon Rancher's Definition Of Neglect And Responsibilty

Last edited on March 25, 2017

The definition of neglect is much less varied than the type of land ranchers winter and graze their product (cattle) on in the eastern Oregon and western Idaho. So when 10 cows died during this past winter, it's hard for me to not call the loss (death) of that commercial product anything other than neglect.

The question is Responsibility and Neglect.

The Definition of Neglect

Verb - Fail to care for properly.
Noun - The state or fact of being uncared for.

The winter of 2016-2017 was, in many areas of Idaho and Oregon, record-setting for the amount of snow that fell during the season. That does make it difficult but not impossible to properly care for one's possessions when their normal storage spot is in the great outdoors. The words I used, "fail," "properly," and "uncared", are important to my allegation that ranchers neglected to properly care for their possessions.

I'm not going to mince words ... the rancher who allowed their cows to die "as a result of heavy snow burying their winter forage and ranchers' inability to reach the livestock with food," is nothing other than neglect. Just like if your kids left that that hammer and a wrench set they used to fix their bikes out front overnight and someone stole them might be considered neglect.

My "neglect" premise doesn't mean we should overlook the fact that ranching is a tough choice of careers and stuff happens that results in unpleasant events like the starvation of 10 cows. Really, those cows are their property. It's not my responsibility to tell them how they should treat their property. Yep, not my "responsibility" at all.

Definition of Responsibility

Noun - 1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone. 2. The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.

This brings me to who is responsible for cleaning up the mess that 10 dead cows floating in a reservoir have created.

"We're not sure whose responsibility it is to remove the carcasses." - The Malhuer County Sheriff

Responsibility is a hot topic in the U.S. right now. People are being told we have a responsibility to pay our taxes, support our elected officials, forego buying i-phones to pay for our healthcare insurance and not question how a certain elected president spends most weekends on a golf course when he said he would be too busy to play that game. So we do what we are told and plod on.

But come on guys ... when you leave your things outside and they make a mess, we normally don't expect a someone else, anyone else, to clean up that mess. Someone owned those 10 cows and someone has the responsibility for that rotting and stinking mess.
Not responsible for the neglect or am I?

The rancher is the person I'm pointing my accusing finger at right now. Yes, without any legal training. With barely any knowledge of the "10 dead cows incident," I will confidently and definitely state "the rancher who owned those cows has to take responsibility for the neglect and get out into that reservoir to collect the dead animals." It might even be a good lesson for those businessmen?

Open Dead Cow Law

Most residents of "The West" are aware of Open Range laws. The concept of that law is that if I hit a rancher's cow while driving down most any roadway, I am responsible for paying the "owner" for said dead cow. In other words, I'm responsible for that rancher's negligence. The negligence of allowing that cow to roam a public highway.

Ranchers accept no responsibility for their cattle but citizens are forced into that position?

And now it appears as if We, The People of the United States, are responsible for the negligence of ranchers who allow their cattle to roam free on public lands without sustenance? That is what I call a Big Ole Pile of Streaming Bull Poop.

Land Ownership?

Doing a quick internet search of landownership in the Owyhee Reservoir area of Malheur County, Oregon indicates that the land/body of water that those 10 cows are soaking in are owned by either the State of Oregon or We, The People of the United States of America.

From A March 22, 2017 Statesman Journal Story


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Dead cattle floating in a reservoir just west of the Oregon-Idaho border are causing trouble for tourists.

About 10 to 15 cattle carcasses were discovered floating in Owyhee Reservoir in Malheur County, Oregon, on Sunday, The Idaho Statesman reported. The cattle died as a result of heavy snow burying their winter forage and ranchers' inability to reach the livestock with food.

Malheur Sheriff Brian Wolfe said the carcasses are alarming to recreationists, who don't know what caused their deaths. The carcasses are also spread out, making them hard to avoid. Wolfe said he wants to assure the public that the livestock didn't die of neglect or abuse.

"There's probably a couple thousands cows out there on winter range," he said. "Some did perish because of the deep snow, and the ranchers weren't able to get to them ... They were trying to get to these animals."

Wolfe said he's going to send his marine deputy out this week to assess the situation and hopefully devise a plan for removal.

"We're not sure whose responsibility it is," to remove the carcasses, Wolfe said. "Nobody else wants anything to do with it, so it ends up being the sheriff."

The cattle died in the reservoir area when water levels were low. When water levels rose, the carcasses began to float.

Originally published on March 25, 2017


Tim Bondy Freelance
Writer & Citizen Journalist

I am currently a proud citizen journalist, aka "enemy of the American People!"


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