Page 1


Cattle Continued from page 10 winter was over.� Eberling pointed out that during the winter of 2007-2008, there was more snow than the winter of 2009-2010. According to figures provided by Doesken, in the 2007-2008 winter, 56 total inches of snow was recorded at the Antero Reservoir weather station. During the winter of 2009-2010, 41 inches of snow was recorded at that station. Rancher testifies Eugene Schroder, a rancher from southeastern Colorado and a veterinarian, testified that he had the opportunity to look at Wagner’s cattle in June 2010. He said the animals he saw at that time looked good for having come through a hard winter. “The cows looked great,� he said. “They [were] just excellent. I didn’t see a problem.� Schroder said he went through the 2006 blizzard that shut down parts of southeastern Colorado. He said many ranches had significant losses of livestock from that blizzard. He also said it was a reality that there would be animal loss during adverse weather conditions. “It’s not one of the better parts [of ranching], but it’s a reality,� he said. During Schroder’s testimony, Wagner’s attorney, Zettler, introduced a report from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource

PARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN AND FAIRPLAY FLUME Conservation Service regarding the available forage on Wagner’s ranch land. According to that study, Wagner had the equivalent of 552 palatable production pounds per acre. According to Schroder, that meant if Wagner had 100,000 acres of land, and if Wagner had 1,000 cows and if each cow had 100 acres on which to graze, each cow would have 55,200 pounds of forage available on Wagner’s land each year. (Based on those figures, there would be 55.2 million pounds of forage available on Wagner’s land.) If a beef cow needs 40 pounds of forage every day, one cow would need 14,600 pounds of forage per year. For 1,000 cows, Wagner would need 14.6 million pounds of forage just to feed his herd, and according to those figures, he would have plenty that would be left over. Upon cross examination by Eberling, Schroder said that not all of Wagner’s range would have the 552 palatable production pounds per acre, but he believed that NRCS estimates were fairly accurate. Eberling also asked Schroder that if a ranch was covered in snow and the forage wasn’t available, did the rancher have a duty to provide forage to the cows. Schroder said a rancher should if he or she could get to the animals. “If you can’t get to them, and there are situations where it happens, then what are you

going to do?� he said. Day six Former Rep. Wes McKinley testified on Tuesday, Jan. 29, that the weather in March 2010 was a disaster incident, and could be to blame for the loss of Wagner’s animals through no fault of Wagner’s. He said widespread animal loss could be common if cold weather hits a herd during the spring, when most animals are calving or have calved. He said pregnant cows that were about to give birth or cows that had recently given birth that were nursing calves had the highest nutritional need of any stage of their lives. In March, ranchers are expecting the weather to start getting warmer and the snow to start melting off. Instead, the winter of 20092010 was the second-coldest on record at the Antero Reservoir weather station, and it produced the third most snow from December to March in 2010 since records were started in 1962. Zettler asked McKinley if that type of incident would qualify as a “disaster� under Park County’s emergency management plan, which was cited extensively during McKinley’s testimony. “It definitely did,� he said. McKinley said the cold weather and blowing snow created a disaster situation for Wagner, and under that definition, he should have been eligible for help from the county.

Park County Sheriff’s Blotter, Jan. 21-27 By Chris Duran Correspondent Bar argument On Jan. 21, a Lake George man called 911 and told the operator that another man was threatening him. The caller said that he used to own the bar where the argument was taking place. He would not tell the operator his name, instead handing the phone to the other man on the property. This man told the operator that his mother owns the bar, and that the caller was stealing various items. The responding deputy cleared the scene and declared the dispute a civil matter. The parties will go to court. A violent confrontation A Fairplay man called 911 on Jan. 27 and reported that his stepson had kicked him while the caller was driving. He immediately stopped the car and told the young man to get out, and eventually pulled him out of the passenger’s seat. According to the caller, his stepson struck him, and he responded in kind. Neither party was hurt, and the young man walked away from his stepfather. Both later gave statements to the Sheriff ’s Office, and the Department of Human Services is now involved in the matter. Hit and run, mailboxes On Jan. 25 a 911 caller reported that a driver had plowed into a mailbox bank

located on County Road 43 in the Bailey area. The caller heard metal crunch but did not see the accident. However, he/she believed that the vehicle’s bumper and headlights had fallen off during the accident. (See story, Page 3.) Returning for possessions With much profanity, a Fairplay woman called the Sheriff ’s Office on Jan. 27 and told the operator that she was attempting to pick up her belongings from a house, but the occupant would not let her leave. The responding officer took a report of the run-in. Frightened child A Park County resident contacted the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 23 and voiced concerns about a very young girl who had been trying to run away from her home. The caller said that the girl was afraid of her mother. An officer checked on the family, and the Department of Human Services followed up the next day. Worried neighbor A man in the Woodside Park subdivision in the Pine Junction area called the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 24, greatly concerned about his elderly neighbor. The caller said that he hadn’t seen the man for a week, knew that the man had heart problems, and that he’d found his neighbor’s dog running free. The caller knew that his neighbor’s wife was

often out and about, but he’d not seen the couple’s vehicle. A deputy performed a welfare check and reported that the man was fine. Hit and run, parked vehicle A resident of Western Union Ranch, a subdivision in the Hartsel area, contacted the Sheriff’s Office on the evening of Jan. 26 to report that his/her parked vehicle had been sideswiped and that no one had left contact information or reported the accident in any manner. The caller found tire tracks that led over a nearby hill and followed them, to no avail. Summary The Park County Sheriff’s Office responded to three animal control calls, 122 citizen assist calls, 16 paper services, 125 traffic stops, and seven welfare checks. Arrests Alexander Amato, a nonresident, was arrested on Jan. 22 as a fugitive of justice for failure to appear in a San Luis Valley court. He was released on Jan. 23. Pamela Templin, from Fairplay, was arrested on Jan. 24 as a fugitive of justice for failure to appear in a Summit County court for driving under revocation. She was later released. Note: Send any follow-up information on arrests, such as no charges filed or dismissal, to or call 303-838-4423 Ext. 10.


Eberling, during an aggressive cross examination of McKinley, pressed the former state representative on the difference between a disaster and an emergency, and asked him if the Park County commissioners had declared an emergency situation like they had in February 2008 during the South Park drifting problems. “I don’t know,� McKinley said. “I do know there was a disaster by definition of state law.� He said he came to that conclusion based on information provided by Doesken, the state climatologist who testified for the defense on Monday. McKinley, and other witnesses, testified that it wouldn’t be unusual to lose up to 10 percent of a cow herd during bad spring snows, and to lose even more of

a calf crop. It was also revealed during the cross examination of McKinley that he provided $7,500 to the Wheat Ridge-based Animal Law Center, the law firm that represented Wagner when his cattle were seized by the state in May 2010. McKinley said he didn’t pay the money for the defense of Wagner; he paid the money so the attorneys would continue the case. “I paid $7,500 so they would continue with the case,� he said. “You are a biased witness as you sit there today,� Eberling said. McKinley said he paid the money because he saw an instance of the government trySee CONDITION, Page 16

JUAN DURAN Former Colorado Division of Wildlife technician Juan Duran testifies on Jan. 29 in the Vern Wagner animal cruelty trial that Wagner had a lease on the Tomahawk State Wildlife Area across from Wagner’s ranch starting in 2005. Duran tesitied that Wagner’s cows looked fine to him. (Photo by MIke Potter/The Flume)

PRICELESS The love in the eyes of a rescued dog

See it for yourself ... ADOPT or FOSTER a homeless dog Visit our website to view available dogs

Colorado Peke & Pom Rescue


Vernwagner2d 020113 page11 ff 0201 11 bw