Damage from escaped cattle surveyed
All five county commissioners, a sheriff’s deputy, two landowners, and a fence builder took a field trip Monday to see farmer Randy Eitzen’s downed fences and cattle damage done on Lyle Leppke’s neighboring property.
Peabody fence builder Rusty Entz told commissioners Eitzen had contacted him about building fences.
Leppke showed them Eitzen’s current ragged barbed-wire fences and downed, non-working electric fence strung through small trees on the edge of Eitzen’s property.
“It’s impossible to keep electric fence hot when it goes through trees,” Leppke said.
“Where’s the county attorney at?” commissioner Kent Becker asked as he surveyed Eitzen’s fence. “We can’t do anything without him.”
No cattle were present. Leppke said Eitzen had moved his cattle out about three weeks ago.
The group drove to a field where Leppke stores feed bales to see where Eitzen’s cattle had been eating.
The group then drove to an area where Eitzen’s cattle had been crossing Doyle Creek to get onto Leppke’s ground.
Later, commissioners discussed what they had seen but also said they wanted to avoid having to intervene every time someone’s cattle strayed onto a neighbor’s land. Leppke has had to call the sheriff’s office 44 times in the last four months.
Commissioners unanimously voted to have county counsel Brad Jantz draft a resolution that Eitzen’s fence was inadequate and draft a letter telling Eitzen they want his fence surveyed and a new fence to built within a set time.
Commissioners decided April 17 to take action against Eitzen’s cattle and damage done by them after Leppke and neighbor Larry Andres, and Sheriff Jeff Soyez talked about ongoing problems with Eitzen’s cattle.
Leppke said the cattle had damaged 30% of his wheat crop.
Andres said the cattle were a liability not only to neighbors, but also to the public because they were on roadways where a driver might not see them.
“I didn’t know it was going to be talked about,” Eitzen said last week when asked for comment.
He did say an incident when his cattle were on Leppke’s property “was a while back.”
Last modified April 26, 2023