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Sheriff Steve Rogers auctioned 40 head of cattle Friday afternoon forfeited to the county in an animal neglect case. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
by Katy Nesbitt/The Observer
Forty head of cattle were sold at auction Friday afternoon following their forfeiture to Wallowa County.
The former owner of the cattle, Ed Scott, failed to post bond that would have prevented the county from selling the seized livestock before his animal neglect trial, which is scheduled for May 22.
The cattle were auctioned by Sheriff Steve Rogers and sold to the highest bidder for $10,000.
“If anyone buys the cattle to give back to Ed Scott, there will be further criminal action,” Rogers said prior to the auction.
Scott, facing an eviction off his Lostine property, asked neighbors Bob and Karen Bennett to let him keep his cattle on their land while he prepared to move. Bob Bennett testified the agreement was that Scott would be responsible for their feed.
Concerned about the lack of feed the cattle were receiving, the sheriff’s office was contacted and a search warrant issued Jan. 29.
A necropsy was performed on a calf too sick to stand and eventually trampled to death. Tissue samples from the calf and samples of hay were sent to labs for analysis.
When the lab work was returned, the sheriff’s office seized the cattle in place on March 8 and charged Scott with four counts of first degree animal neglect and 39 counts of second degree animal neglect. Until their sale Friday, the county took on the responsibility of their care and feeding.
In a March 29 forfeiture hearing at which neither Scott nor his lawyer, Geordie Duckler of Tigard, appeared, Bob Bennett testified that Scott fed the cattle every three or four days, half the adequate amount, and the feed was black with mold.
Chief Deputy Fred Steen and Veterinarian Dave Schaeffer corroborated with Bennett’s testimony, saying that the cattle had an average body score of three on a scale of 1 to 10. Many of the animals had their ribs and spines showing through their hide and their behavior was erratic, according to reports.
Judge Russell West heard testimony on April 10 from Duckler regarding why he hadn’t responded to the March 29 hearing date.
“I’m begging the court to give the guy a second chance,” said Duckler by phone.
Scott did not attend the April 10 hearing.
Paige Sully, attorney for the county, said Scott was handed a petition March 22, seven days before the forfeiture hearing and Duckler was contacted by email in concordance with Oregon court procedures.
Judge West denied the request for a new hearing.
“I find the Oregon Revised Statute procedures were properly followed, the hearing was proper, and I’m denying the motion and overruling the objections,” West said.