Rancher responds to concerns about cows on West Ridge portion of Eagle Crest

The rancher who owns the cattle that have made it onto property on the western edge of Eagle Crest says she has worked extensively with the Homeowners Association to limit conflicts.

Under Oregon law, it would be the homeowners’ responsibility to “fence out” the cattle, not the rancher’s responsibility to “fence in” the cattle on legal open range.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s office lists on its animal control page: Oregon is an open range state and unless you reside in a “livestock district” it is the land owner’s responsibility to fence their property to prevent livestock from entering onto it.

Despite the division of responsibility, the rancher says she has paid to repair or build fences to be a good neighbor.

The BLM confirmed the rancher has worked with the H.O.A., not just to limit conflicts, but also in partnership to use the cattle to help reduce fire fuels.

Homeowners in the area told Central Oregon Daily News they are frustrated with the cattle making it onto their property but acknowledged, people often take down the clips on the fences to access the BLM land for hiking or other recreational opportunities.

“We have spray for deer. Spray for rabbits but we don’t have a spray for cows. So they are standing in this pond behind me, a 1,000-pound cow. I was thankful it didn’t put a hole in the liner because it’s expensive to replace liners obviously,” said Al Baker, a resident of Eagle Crest Ridge concerned about the destruction the cows have left behind.

Bill Hunt says he has played cowboy several times, banging an aluminum broom handle on the asphalt and shouting at the cows to herd them away.

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