Park County Resident Found to have
“Mistreated and Neglected the Cattle Under his Care”
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – On December 15, 2011, a Park County judge barred Vernon E. Wagner, of Park County, from owning, managing, controlling, or otherwise possessing cattle in Park County. The ruling stems from a joint investigation by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Park County Sheriff’s Office.
Vernon E. Wagner of Park County owned a number of cattle and was under contract to care for additional livestock. In May 2010, nearly 400 of those cattle were gathered based on the discovery of at least 140 dead cows and many emaciated cattle. Wagner was then deemed an “unfit owner” of those cattle by the courts. Through a temporary restraining order, the rest of Wagner’s herd was to remain under his care with specific orders pertaining to their proper care as well as a provision that allowed welfare checks by CDA.
The conclusion of the process occurred on December 15, 2011, when Judge Stephen A. Groome, District Court, Park County, ordered a permanent injunction against Wagner. Groome explained that testimony during the trial “…constitutes very strong and convincing evidence of Wagner’s dismal failure to provide adequate nutrition for the cattle under his control.”
Judge Groome also stated, “the court finds and concludes that, unless Wagner is permanently restrained from cattle ranching in Park County, he will continue to neglect and mistreat the cattle under his control in violation of the Animal Protection Act; and that merely ordering Wagner to comply with the Animal Protection Act’s provisions would prove meaningless and would result in more Wagner cattle being abused, mistreated, and neglected.”
A court appointed receiver has possession of the cattle and will care for them until they are sold.
Park County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Fred Wegener
“Sargent Bobbi Priestly, Deputy Bramlett, and Deputy Hardy were pleased with Judge Groome’s decision. I am very proud of this collaborative effort between the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Park County Sheriff’s office.”
Colorado Department of Agriculture
Dr. Keith Roehr, State Veterinarian
“I know Colorado’s cattle industry shares our deep concerns about the improper care and treatment of these cattle; our livestock industry is a vital part of Colorado’s culture and our ranchers are dedicated to protecting their livestock.”
Colorado Livestock Association
Bill Hammerich, CEO
“The Colorado Livestock Association supports the findings, conclusions and orders in this case. Colorado’s livestock industry is dedicated to the care of their animals and we appreciate the effort put forth by both state and local officials who provided the evidence and testimony needed by the court to arrive at their decision.”
Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
Terry Fankhauser, Executive Vice President
“Members of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association hold in high regard proper animal care and husbandry and have no tolerance for animal abuse. The real testament that this case serves is to illustrate, is that Colorado’s systems to stem, report and punish those who break our animal care laws are fully functional and are not in need of remedy.”
The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP) played an important role in furthering the investigation. Each year, the BAP investigates more than 12,000 reports of animal cruelty and neglect in Colorado. Citizens with concerns for animal care and welfare are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency or BAP. For more information or to file a cruelty/neglect report, visit www.colorado.gov/ag/animals and click on “Bureau of Animal Protection.