May 26, 2010 4:12 PM by Elaine Sheridan
A Park County judge declared a Park County man "unfit to own livestock" after the Department of Agriculture seized hundreds of his cattle.
Vernon E. Wagner is being investigated after authorities found at least 140 cows dead on his ranch . 400 cattle were gathered on May 14th, many of them were emaciated and in dire need of care so those were removed from the property.
The sick cattle and their calves are being held and fed for at the Rocky Mountain Livestock Sale in Salida. Those cattle will be sold on May 28, 2010.
"The cattle seized by the Department have had weeks to recuperate and are doing much better after suffering from a profound lack of care by Wagner," said Assistant State Veterinarian, Dr. Nick Striegel. "Ultimately, our goal and responsibility is to protect the welfare of the cattle; the court's decision will allow us to continue to do that."
The additional cattle will remain under Wagner's authority until the trial that will determine if he's allowed to own livestock. The total number of cattle on the property is unclear but estimates range from 400 to 1,000. The Department of Agriculture will monitor Wagner's care and management of the cattle.
Park County Sheriff's Office is investigating this case and charges against Wagner are pending the outcome.