Stagecoach residents want cows moooo-ved off their property
September 25, 2007
Stagecoach residents can’t wait until the cows go home.
Many have been shooing cattle out of their yards since the summer. Christine Silva said the livestock have torn up her trees, rosebushes, garden and water fountain. She said that, at about 1:30 a.m. Monday, they came into her yard and banged their horns against the house, frightening her teenage daughter.
Though the house was not damaged, the front and back yards were, she said.
She said she has called the sheriff and the brand inspector, and was told it was open range and she should fence the animals out, a prospect she said she couldn’t afford.
“Typically people on this street don’t fence because (the yard) is their showpiece,” she said. “Some places are trashed. We choose to keep ours nice.”
Chip Carroon said sometimes fencing doesn’t help because cattle use their horns to lift up a fence and tear it down. He said some people who store hay for their horses have lost it to cattle.
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Cattle owner, Vince Ferriera, runs about 900 head on Asamera ranch property in north Stagecoach. He said people who ride dirt bikes and ATVs regularly cut down his fences and allow the cattle to roam.
He said he plans to round up the loose cows today.
Ferriera has been grazing longhorns on the property for about a year, and expects to remove most of the cattle as soon as possible. “Most of them will be moved to Eureka,” he said.
He said there’s no way to stop the fence cutters, “unless they can catch the people that are doing it.”
“It is his responsibility to maintain the fences and keep the cows in,” Carroon said. “If the cows are supposed to be restrained by the fence it is the livestock owner’s duty to maintain the fence, even if someone damages it, I think.”
Lyon County Commissioner Larry McPherson, also a Stagecoach resident, regularly rides out that way on horseback and has seen the areas where the fence is cut.
“It’s being constantly cut by the ATV guys that want to go out there riding,” he said. “You can see that fence has been repaired a number of times.”
McPherson said he was sympathetic to the problems homeowners have with the cattle getting out, but puts the blame on the fence-cutters.
District Attorney Bob Auer said that even though Nevada is a fence-out state, the rancher might still have some responsibility, citing NRS 568.300 and a 1959 case, Cook vs. Maremont-Holland Co.
“There’s an old Nevada case where a sheepherder has grazing rights, but his sheep wandered onto the cattle rancher’s area and it was considered trespassing,” he said. “That was an action by a cattle rancher for damages and to enjoin further trespassing. You can’t let cattle graze on someone else’s private property.”
“I think that’s being unreasonable,” McPherson said. “If he fixes it today, and then this weekend, they do it again, I don’t think he has the responsibility to fix that fence every time they cut it. I can understand the people down here, but I don’t think it’s the rancher’s responsibility when someone has cut his fencing.”
Silva was not convinced.
“It’s just so frustrating to put the hard work into your yard and everything,” she said. “My pursuit of happiness is being shot down.”
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 881-7351.