Morey: An unsettlement for Vail Valley sheep herder (letter)
Regarding the article from the Vail Daily that appeared in the Summit Daily last week: It is our opinion that the sheep rancher should have been paid for his sheep that were lost to predators after this entirely preventable and tragic incident understandably caused him to stop using sheep-herding guard dogs.
His working dogs lost their lives for doing their job, one of which “was old, arthritic and losing its teeth.” The financial worth of his lost sheep and working dogs should have been withheld from the settlement and paid directly to him, although in the most just manner this should come from the victim’s liability insurance not the rancher’s.
Raising sheep is (was?) his livelihood. No intelligent person, or anyone with a shred of common sense, rides a bike through a herd of sheep or a herd of anything. To lose over a quarter of his sheep to predators the year following had to have been quite the financial blow. Why weren’t the race organizers held accountable for not notifying this rancher far enough in advance to move his herd? Is it not their responsibility to ensure a safe race?
Two days of race prep going on is no advance notice at all, whether seen by the shepherds or the rancher himself. We have, when traveling rural roads, encountered sheep being moved, and it’s not fast: You sit in your vehicle and wait. They’re not on wheels — they walk. It’s a shame that legal aid from the Animal Legal Defense Fund for this case was not sought immediately. If so, there might have been a different outcome.
This incident and its outcome seven years hence surely is, as one Vail Daily online poster wrote, “a stain on the community.”
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