Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Mountain bike dog attack case ends with $1 million settlement
Renee Legro topped the final hill of a Camp Hale mountain-bike race and found herself riding in the middle of a herd of sheep.
If you’re a Great Pyrenees guard dog, a human on a bike looks like a predator among your sheep, and you kill predators.
Legro was attacked and mauled by two massive Great Pyrenees, a violent collision of the new West and the old. One dog grabbed her right hip and yanked her off her bike, as the other dog pounced. The wounds were massive and deep, but the stitches only touch the surface. Legro’s wounds still reach her very being.
That was July 9, 2008. Legro and the dogs’ owner, Rio Blanco County rancher Sam Robinson, slogged through criminal and civil court for seven years — two misdemeanor criminal trials and civil cases appealed all the way to the Colorado State Supreme Court.
Travelers, Robinson’s insurance company, lost its final appeal and was facing an August civil trial. Travelers finally settled for $1 million.
The case is over, but Legro’s healing is not, said her attorney Joe Bloch.
“Justice is an elusive concept, especially in a case like this,” Bloch said.
The settlement could have been more, Bloch said, but the Robinsons are not rich. Sam Robinson has been a Sunday school teacher. His family has been on their land for five generations.
“They’re salt of the earth people,” Bloch said. “As upset as Renee and Steve Legro were, they did not want to go after the Robinsons’ personal assets.”... As the new and old West are forced to co-exist, ranchers and recreationists have clashed for years. This case found itself on the top of that sword, with the Robinsons supported by the ranching and wool industries and the recreation industry rallying behind Legro.
Robinson was convicted of a misdemeanor, owning a dangerous dog. That conviction was overturned on appeal, and a different six-person jury convicted him again.
The courtroom could have been a metaphor for the chasm between the two sides.
During both trials, Robinson’s family, friends and supporters sat on the left side of the courtroom, while Legro’s friends sat on the right. No one from either side crossed over. That paved the way for the Legros’ civil lawsuit.
Sam Robinson spoke eloquently and proudly about his family’s ranching heritage and the life they love. Legros tearfully told of hospitalization, depression and emotional problems, and losing her new speech pathology business...more