Malatya Haber Park County resident found to have mistreated cattle
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Park County resident found to have mistreated cattle


On Dec. 15, a Park County judge barred Vernon E. Wagner, of Park County, from owning, managing, controlling, or otherwise possessing cattle in Park County. The ruling stems from a joint investigation by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Park County Sheriff's Office.

Vernon E. Wagner of Park County owned a number of cattle and was under contract to care for additional livestock. In May 2010, nearly 400 of those cattle were gathered based on the discovery of at least 140 dead cows and many emaciated cattle. Wagner was then deemed an "unfit owner" of those cattle by the courts. Through a temporary restraining order, the rest of Wagner's herd was to remain under his care with specific orders pertaining to their proper care as well as a provision that allowed welfare checks by CDA.

The conclusion of the process occurred on Dec. 15, when Judge Stephen A. Groome, District Court, Park County, ordered a permanent injunction against Wagner. Groome explained that testimony during the trial "constitutes very strong and convincing evidence of Wagner's dismal failure to provide adequate nutrition for the cattle under his control."

Judge Groome also stated, "the court finds and concludes that, unless Wagner is permanently restrained from cattle ranching in Park County, he will continue to neglect and mistreat the cattle under his control in violation of the Animal Protection Act; and that merely ordering Wagner to comply with the Animal Protection Act's provisions would prove meaningless and would result in more Wagner cattle being abused, mistreated, and neglected."

A court appointed receiver has possession of the cattle and will care for them until they are sold.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Protection played an important role in furthering the investigation. Each year, the BAP investigates more than 12,000 reports of animal cruelty and neglect in Colorado. Citizens with concerns for animal care and welfare are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency or BAP. For more information or to file a cruelty/neglect report, visit and click on "Bureau of Animal Protection.


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