LAS VEGAS — Officials say cowhands rounded up more cattle from federally controlled range land where a Southern Nevada rancher claims a longstanding right to graze his herd.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service said Tuesday that 234 cows have been corralled since Saturday from a 1,200-square-mile area closed to the public for the operation about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
The BLM says the cattle have trespassed for decades, and that Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy has racked up more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees while losing federal court cases. Bundy’s son, Dave Bundy, was arrested Sunday and freed Monday.
Cliven Bundy claims to own at least 500 of more than 900 animals that rangers say are treading on protected habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.
The dispute is the latest in a battle that has raged for years about federal management of resources and wilderness throughout the West. In the 1970s and ‘80s, the Sagebrush Rebellion pitted Nevada ranchers against the government over land-ownership rights. Roundups of wild horses have drawn much of the attention in recent years.
Dave Bundy, 37, was issued a court summons on criminal charges that he refused to disperse and resisted officers, said Natalie Collins, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas. His court date wasn’t immediately announced.
His mother, Carol Bundy, said her son was beaten by agents after his arrest Sunday on State Route 170 between Mesquite and Bunkerville. The BLM and National Park Service didn’t respond to questions about the beating allegation.
Carol Bundy and Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover said about 100 protesters rallied Monday against the BLM roundup of cattle that Bundy’s father, Cliven Bundy, says belong to him. The elder Bundy estimates he owns about 500 animals.
“We’re under martial law,” Carol Bundy declared, adding that the family intended “to stand until the cows come home.”