Derek Franz

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June 5, 2013
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Filled-in cattle guards spill the beef in Eagle Ranch

EAGLE — Cattle guards filled in with mud were responsible for the large herd of cattle that wandered into Eagle Ranch on Tuesday.

Eagle Police responded to calls about the stray bovines that morning and suspected it was due to a break in the fence. The exact cause wasn’t immediately available at the time because the ranchers and Eagle Open Space Director John Staight were busy in the field, rounding up the cows.

“I heard about the cattle and drove out to check the situation and there were about 50 cows walking down the pavement on 4th of July Road,” Staight said. “No one else was around. I started shooing them back up toward the Third Gulch Trailhead — I was like a one-man show for a while.”

When the herd came to the fence, it split into two groups and crossed at two places where there were cattle guards, which normally prevent cows from crossing.

“That’s when I realized the gaps between the bars had filled in with silt, allowing the cows to walk across,” Staight said. “The cowboys have worked very hard to be good neighbors. They recently walked the fence a couple times and made some good repairs. The fence was in great shape, so they were surprised when the cattle got out.”

Staight spent the rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday helping the ranchers to rectify the problem.

“We dug out the cattle guards and they were confident the cows wouldn’t cross back over,” he said.

On Tuesday, a landscaper in Eagle Ranch said there was hardly any damage – “just a lot of cow pies everywhere.”

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The VailDaily Updated Jun 18, 2013 09:43PM Published Jun 12, 2013 04:48PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.