Rancher explains why he shot neighbor’s bulls
Steamboat Springs — A Routt County rancher says he was protecting his property and livestock when he shot two bulls in the testicles.
The shooting happened in June 2014, and the defendant last week accepted a plea agreement offered by the Routt County District Attorney’s Office. Four felony charges were dismissed, and the defendant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief.
The defendant said he accepted the deal because he wanted to avoid the expense of a trial, and he did not want to risk being found guilty of a felony. On Friday, he said the shooting was related to a neighbor’s bulls getting onto his property in South Routt County.
According to the defendant, one day the neighbor’s bull got onto his property, but he was able to move the animal to a meadow. A few days later, there were two bulls on his property that had gotten in through a broken fence. He said he was not able to move them from his property on his own, so he shot them in the testicles in an attempt to castrate them. One of the bulls died.
“I admit, it was a little unorthodox,” the defendant said. “I did not want the bull to die.”
The defendant said he was upset because it was three weeks before his scheduled breeding season, and he was afraid the bulls would impregnate his cows too early.
“You can’t really stop a bull if they decide to chase a cow,” the defendant said. “If it had been breeding season, it wouldn’t have been a big deal.”
The defendant said he later learned the bulls had impregnated 32 of the 80 cows on his property, adding that he had to spend countless hours checking the cows and the calves. Nine of the calves ended up dying, along with a cow.
The defendant said he is suing his neighbor to recover damages from the lost livestock.
As part of his plea deal, the defendant was ordered to pay damages to his neighbor for the two bulls.
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