Monday, March 26, 2018

I can finally talk about this: Part 4 - funny business

So at this point in this saga it's roughly November 15th.

here's a summary of this entry:  Nov 13-17:  Ms Sheltons cows turn up on  my property and run around for 3 or 4 days.  I don't know they are her cows, eventually the end up back at the fence
closest to her property and she retrieves them.  She makes claims in the video that somehow my bull did this.  She'll later claim that I hired someone to do this, or that I "suggested" that someone do this.  that changes later to a story about how I took her gates apart at the hinge side and opened them that way - and she knows this because one of the bolts on the gate was shinier than the others. 

 I've got the regulatory folks under control - there are only so many agencies, and eventually everyone who's involved gets a feel for the nature of the complaints that Ms. Shelton is making, and they settle into a routine, too.   While they are interested in complaints and follow up on them, all of these agencies have bigger fish to fry than me and nothing seems to be wrong when they check it out.

The criminal charges are pending - 4 counts of animals at large - and we've got a trial date of March 21st for a jury trial.  I'm concerned about going to court - I still don't have any good explanation for why the animals are out.  They've got pictures of pigs on the road.  It would seem that they have me dead to rights - it's hard to argue with the pictures.

The new camera system installation has completely shut down the animal complaints.  Which is good, but suspicious as well.  It points out that I've got a human problem, not an animal problem.

In the meantime, I've gotten word from the planning department that their official policy is that fences should not be in the right of way, so I take down my fence and move it back 20', so that it's
out of the right of way.   It's a bit of work, but I'd rather have the fence in the right place than have to move it again later.  So I tear down the 800' of fence, move it back 20', and put it back up.

While the fence is down I replace it with a temporary fence that you'll see in the video below.

On November 14th I'm counting my cows in my pasture and I come up with an extra cow.  On the 15th I count them more carefully and come up with 3 extra cows.  I take a picture of those cows the next morning.
Extra cows in my pasture - 2 black cows + spotted calf
These cows are about a half mile northeast of my farm buildings in a fallow area of pasture.  You can see the barns of my upstream neighbor in the distance to the north.   The cows are where it says "3323 feet" in the picture below - I'm standing little south of the cows when I took that picture.

Black cows are common in this area; so I call the four neighbors with cows closest to where they were and over the next 24 hours they all come back and say it's not their cows.
later that day, the 16th, the cows are at the other end of my property, next to the fence between dale and I.
that's annoying because they'ge torn down the fence i use to keep the cows out of my grapes and
they've been in the grapes.

On the 17th the darn cows are back in my grapes again.

just chased them out of my grapes for the 3rd time
I still don't know who owns these cows and they've been all over my property for days.  Usually cow owners notice their animals gone, but so far no one has claimed them.

So I'm out looking at these cows and Ms. Shelton comes to the fence and starts yelling at me.  "what happened!  what happened!!".  I walk away and think about this.

This is a really touchy area.  She is the sole witness in a criminal trial and has a history of filing restraining orders against me and making wild accusations against me.  I asked my attorney what he suggested if I were to encounter Ms. Shelton and he said "video the entire incident, start to finish.  You don't want to be in a he-said-she-said situation with her.  Be obvious about your recording - don't hide it.  "  So following my attorneys advice I made the video at the bottom of this entry.

Let me summarize the video (below at bottom of this entry):  I walk up to dale and ask her if those are her cows.  She doesn't respond.  I tell her that if they are her cows that she should get them back.  She doesn't respond.  She has a theory on how her cows got on my property - my bull has somehow caused it - and points to an area of the fence that is damaged as "proof" of this.  I ask her to get her animals back and walk away. 
fence damage
The top of the woven wire fence is bent over towards my property.  I would associate that pattern to something coming across the fence towards me.  If an animal had gone the other way it would have bent in the direction of that travel, away from my property.  From this I would guess that her cattle crossed the fence here onto my property.

The Sheriff did respond and I think I talked to the deputy about this.  He laughed and said "don't worry about it", and that was the last I heard of it before I got the public disclosure a few weeks later that showed that Ms. Shelton attempted to get me charged with livestock theft.  No charges were filed and I was not contacted by anyone about investigating this incident.  I have the impression the sheriff thought her cows had gotten out and that was that.

Note:  this animal stuff happens out of the range of my cameras.  Whatever is going on here I don't have security camera footage of it, and the other stuff that happens also will occur outside the range of the security cameras.

037 from bruce king on Vimeo.


grasspunk said...

Man, so polite and patient! This is nuts, what a neighbor.

Bruce King said...

The question I keep asking myself, and I ask her directly in the next video is "what do you want? What do you expect to get at the end of this? Is this the sort of relationship you want to have with a neighbor?"

In my opinion she's very angry but I'm not sure at what, or who. I just happen to be the target of that rage for the last 5 years. I'm pretty sure that someone else was her target before that - a neighbor said to me "Bruce, I'm so glad you moved in. Now she can focus on you instead of me!" - I didn't know what he meant at the time, but now I do.