It’s your job to keep cattle off your property

Published 6:25 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It was a problem that solved itself, but it was almost a matter to be addressed by the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors.

In fact, one day, it still could be.

Several times in April, Lunenburg County Animal Control responded to repeated calls about the same several cows grazing in the yard of someone other than their owner.

What D. Ray Elliott, the county’s animal control officer, discovered was that the owner of the cows wasn’t in violation of any county ordinance because Lunenburg is a “fence out” locality.

“It’s the obligation of the guy to fence the cows from coming on his property,” Elliott told supervisors at their May meeting. “The owner of the cows, he has no responsibility.”

The county could have had the owner sign the cows over or seize them and sell them at auction, but Lunenburg would have still incurred the expenses of their transport, maintenance and food, Elliott said.

Indeed, Elliott said, the owner once invited the county to “do what you want to do with the cows.”

Ultimately, the four cows ended up being taken to slaughter, County Administrator Tracy Gee noted.

She said the matter was brought to the board just so they would know.

“You may not make any changes but at least you’re aware of it,” she told them.

Meanwhile, supervisors noted it was an isolated event.

Supervisor Frank Bacon said “99 percent” of farmers do fence in their cows, and when they get out make a point to get them back in as quickly as possible.

Elliott added that most neighbors want to “do the right thing.”