January 23, 2007
RUSTLING OR CODE ENFORCEMENT?
County is a rural county and people seem to like it that
way. Being a rural, agricultural
county means that people raise cows, goats, chickens, other
livestock and crops. When cows, horses,
goats and chickens are raised, they sometimes “get out”
of the pasture or pen. This is normal. It is not a “crime”
unless it is a common and continuing occurrence.
Code Enforcement officer, “Cowboy” Rogers as some call him,
has now started to pick up “wandering” cows. TWG was called
by several citizens last week telling us about the Code
Enforcement officer picking up cows that could have just
as easily been put back in the pasture. There are only two
“farmers” that have cows in the area where these cows were
picked up. It would probably not have been hard to find
out who owned the cows. In fact, the way it USED to be is
that the cows were put up in the nearest pasture and the
owner came to get them.
Not now! This
is how it is now in Jasper County. Some cows are out on
the highway. The “Cowboy” is riding the roads in his trusty
4x4 Pickup and sees them. He immediately high tails it down
the road to find a cattle trailer. He gets back and rounds
up the cows. He takes them to a “friend’s” pasture down
Clay Road and lets them out. When the owner of the cows
finds out they’ve been “rustled” he goes to get his cows.
He is told he must pay
$1200 to get back 4 cows. After some
talk, Cowboy Rogers tells him it will cost him $400. The
owner balks again and says he’s going to talk with the Cowboy’s
supervisor. The owner then tries to get his cows and realizes
there is no Catch Pen to get the cows up. He then has to
go back to his own property, pick up panels to make a makeshift
catch pen, and then come back to get his cows. Things were
made even more difficult by the horses that were in the
pasture running around.
Who authorized Code Enforcement (CE) to take cows to a “friend’s”
pasture? Who authorized CE to set the fee and then change
the fee? Isn’t this part of the Magistrate Judge’s duties?
Who is liable when the CE officer injures a cow—the County?
The CE officer? Who is liable if the cow is pregnant and
loses a calf because of the round up and hauling? Who is
liable if the cow falls in a ditch on this “storage lot”
on private property?
The BOC has
never discussed such things as rounding up cows as part
of Animal Control or Code Enforcement. When have they ever
authorized taking cows and putting them on private property?
When have they ever authorized using a “borrowed trailer”
to haul private citizens livestock? When have they authorized
CE to set or negotiate hauling and storage fees? Do they
know about any of this and the liability the county could
This type thing
that causes citizens to dislike Code Enforcement and Animal
Control. TWG has heard it over and over—“These people think
they are God. They do whatever they please. They come on
my private property.” This is another area the Animal Control
Committee must think about addressing. Until the Commissioners
get some control, CATTLEMEN OF JASPER COUNTY—BEWARE!!
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how
their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and
discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.