Spying Out the Ranch

DCC Ranch eNews #186 - 9-2-2019

by: Darol Dickinson

Last Sunday afternoon, right in mid-nap time, the ranch phone begin to ring. From 3:48 P.M. to 4:07 P.M. 19 calls came into the ranch office phone. All but one State Patrol call were neighbors or people who knew who Dickinson Cattle Co was. Two people drove 3 miles to the ranch, went upstairs, and knocked on the door informing that a steer was grazing in the Ohio State Highway #800 ditch.

Of course, at DCC this is taken very serious. Although a $5,000,000 liability policy is in effect, the thought of someone tooling down the road, texting, smacking a cow and killing themselves -- that's bad!

At 4:22 P.M. two DCC cowboys were ushering the yearling steer down the ditch to an entry gate, one broken wire was repaired and the phone was silent.

The world is changing. My concern was that someone would be injured, yet the people reporting in were consistently concerned that the steer would be hurt. It is a funny day we live in. The government finances abortions, but put people in jail, up to 25 years, for spanking mafia-brained kids. No one indicated a concern about a vehicle driver being harmed. People called later to see if the steer was hurt?

I have a great appreciation for neighbors who are concerned about the health or safety of DCC cattle. Their motives are pure and kind in every way. God bless good neighbors.

Yet totally opposite -- last month in Colorado Springs a perfectly planned trail drive down the middle of Tejon Street was all smooth-sailing, then, one cow lost her way, slipped away, bolted through a thousand people and in front of several cameras ran dead-on through an open door, right into a Bank Lobby. In seconds two ranch hands rode gung-ho right into the bank, roped the cow, removed her past a little broken glass, into the street. In minutes she was safely in the trailer ready to return to the quiet serenity of a large ranch. Not one person was even scratched during the unplanned, singular stampede. Drovers were professional. The explosive event was handled perfectly -- but, the cow, in the struggle slid on the pavement and skinned her knee. The knee bled.

It seemed  like a wonderful escape from eminent disaster for the drovers, and by-standers -- then  the phone started to ring. Certain self deputized citizens called the ranch owner appalled that the cow was harmed, and bled. They asked questions about how the cow was cared for? Was she properly disinfected, bandaged, and tenderly "rehabbed." Was her knee a fatal injury? Was the ranch consistently abusing their livestock? Were other cattle being harmed on this ranch? And on and on the caller boldly alleged abusive management, flawed animal handling, and the question was -- what else could possibly be problem issues?

Where do we go with this? Not good!

First off, the main job a cattle rancher has is caring for livestock. It includes breaking ice in mid-winter, hauling water in the heat of summer, and of course herd health. Every normal rancher has a veterinarian who is on call and comes when there is a problem. The veterinarian for DCC is the same person since 1993. He knows the herd, the foliage, makes recommendations, approves herd health actions and deals with emergencies day or night. He is not an outsider -- he is on the ranch every month and far more knowledgeable than a newcomer, no matter what the issue.

Caring for livestock is ranching.

In Ohio there is a state Animal Care Board of about a dozen people including the state veterinarian. They have been given certain authority to deal with bad actors in the animal business, mostly cases involve exotic animals -- lions, pythons, pet tigers and most everything with hair, or scales, or feathers.

There are tax funded humane societies, rescue volunteers and free neuter clinics with volunteers all hunting innocent tom cats to put their minds at ease. Some have good training in animal care, some just like animals better than their human care givers. Some Game Wardens have the authority to search properties even to the point of digging to the bottom of home freezers hunting the King's venison.

As Socialistic policies of government control increase in all parts of life, animal care is included. Many branches of government and associations operate on fines, licenses, penalties, and not to leave out confiscations of assets. Some of this exercise is well meaning, but some is over the line.

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." Bible, Proverbs 12:10

Public servant inspectors, employees, volunteers and self-deputized-do-gooders probably, in the most part, mean well. The motives could be debated in each case.

In preparation for your first "inspection" it is time to be ready. Part one is to have an operation with visual appearance to all of healthy professional management. Beyond that, the following document could be an aid when receiving your first knock on the door saying we are here to check your livestock!

A well-meaning person might believe they are doing a good thing "for the livestock" by checking in and evaluating things. A qualified person should have legal authority and know more than the resident veterinarian, have a valid reason of concern, and not have a problem filling out a PUBLIC SERVANT INSPECTION FORM.

A property owner has an obligation to protect all kinds of guests from an "unsafe" condition. Therefore, no property owner should let any inspection be done without a staff person close at hand. Just to allow an "inspector" freely to roam the ranch could be a liability disaster. A ranch owner should be close and have photographic evidence of the total inspection process.

To abstain from all appearance of evil is good, but to protect the business from flawed, malicious or unnecessary compliance is -- life or death. DD

Note: This article should not be taken as legal council for all purposes, and is not a substitute for sound law counsel. For legal issues, always consult a qualified attorney.