According to the US Forest Service, however, they are no longer entitled to do so, and the USFS has posted notices along the fence line of their property advising people not to attempt to enter the ranch. Lands are being seized, and the cattle removed, “one way or the other.”
Now they say that the cattle may be redeemed if the Laney’s pay for the costs of rounding up the 80 head of cattle – a hefty $40,950.
Reductions in the herds, loss of appeals, a hard life, all because of a fish.
Originally, the Laney property was just 115 acres surrounded by around 144,000 acres of public lands for which Mr. Laney paid grazing rights. But after a “study” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided that the lands could not sustain his 1,188 head of cattle, the Forest Service reduced his cattle herd to a meager 300 head.
Kit’s fight for the land and the ranching lifestyle cost him dearly over the years, even to the point of a divorce, as both Kit and Sherry grew exhausted from the battle. They were barred from improvements on the “wilderness” land for several years, which required them to ride out to livestock on horseback rather than hop in a truck. That and the continual stress of appeals, took a toll, though they eventually reconciled.
Oh, and this one is over an “endangered species” called the “Gila Trout,” in case you were wondering.
The continuation of a battle
On Saturday, April 12, Kit Laney was served with a notice that his ranch would be shut down on Wednesday and his 300 head of “trespass” cattle removed from the land. This situation comes just a week after Rancher Cliven Bundy had a similar situation in Nevada.
New Mexico’s “Brand Law” states that cattle cannot be transported across state lines without permission from the State Livestock Board. According to a Tea Party Tribune article, Catron County Sheriff Cliff Snyder notified the Forest Service that he will demand that law be enforced, and that cattle “cannot be shipped and sold without being in direct violation of NM Statute.”
“I intend to enforce the state livestock laws in my county. I will not allow anyone, in violation of state law, to ship Diamond Bar Cattle out of my county.” Sheriff Cliff Snyder
Unfortunately, in the case of Mr. Bundy, the federal agents just killed some of the cattle that wouldn’t move without regard to the law or any vestige of conscience. In this case, federal agents say the cattle are being held at an undisclosed area out of the state. Apparently the feds slipped past the Sheriff. (continue reading)