Friday, July 29, 2011

Fairfield rancher copes with loss of ewes, lambs, plus federal fine

Rick Christy, a farmer and rancher in the Golden Ridge area between Fairfield and Augusta, says he would not change a thing, from killing the grizzly bear that was attacking his sheep this spring to paying a fine for violating the federal Endangered Species Act. But he isn’t happy about either. Christy shot and killed a 340-pound sub-adult grizzly bear as it and a second bear attacked and killed sheep on his property in the early morning hours of May 10. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the shooting and determined that Christy had violated the federal Endangered Species Act by killing the grizzly, which is listed as a “threatened” species under the act. The USFWS then levied a $2,000 fine against him for the misdemeanor violation. The USFWS found that Christy violated federal law because he killed the grizzly in defense of his flock. Under state law, it is legal for a livestock operator to protect property, including livestock, if it is under attack by predators. But federal law only allows the killing of a threatened or endangered species if the action is taken in self defense...more

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