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    Has this been discussed yet? ( The Mountain Bike Livestock dog incedent)

    If it has could someone redirect the thread and combine?

    ***

    Ranching, recreation collide in the great outdoors
    Fri 27 Nov 2009
    By Nicholas Riccardi

    Reporting from Camp Hale, Colo.-- As soon as Renee Legro saw the sheep, she screamed.

    The herd, 1,300 strong, has been coming for 30 years to graze in this valley on the backside of the Continental Divide. But as Colorado has become an adventure sports destination, the once-empty valley has filled with hikers, campers and mountain bikers like Legro, and she was about to tragically embody the collision of the old West with the new.

    Legro, 33, screamed because she knew what came with the herd -- guard dogs. Shortly after she rolled down a hill and came upon the sheep, a dog leaped at her, locked its jaws on her hip and yanked her off her bike.

    A second dog pounced as she fell. The two enormous canines, powerful enough to fend off bears, tore at her until her cries drew two campers who drove them off. The emergency-room doctor lost count of how many stitches she required.

    To Legro and her husband, Steve, there was one person responsible -- Sam Robinson. One of a dwindling number of sheepherders in Colorado's mountains, Robinson, 54, turned to guard dogs a decade ago, after the state banned the use of traps to prevent mountain lions, coyotes and bears from destroying herds.

    "We don't have any other option," Robinson said.

    The Legros see things differently. In their years of hiking, biking and skiing the magnificent open spaces near Vail, they have fled from ranchers' dogs several times. "I cannot bring my dog up to the forest and let it run wild and attack people," said Steve Legro, 37. "Neither should anyone else."

    They wanted Robinson charged with a crime.

    This fall, on a blustery day 14 months after the attack, Robinson drove through the high mountain valley in his beaten Ford F-250 pickup. A ***** leaned against the dashboard, and an empty can of Rockstar energy drink sat in the cup holder.

    With the perpetually tan face of someone who spends his time outside, Robinson explained how his way of life was under attack.

    "It's the suburban mentality -- they think their milk comes out of a plastic jug, they think their meat comes out of a container," he said. "They don't realize you have to live like a Third World person to produce meat in the United States."

    A herder who can trace sheepherding back generations in his family, he grew up helping his father run sheep on the Flat Tops, 10,000-foot-high plateaus northwest of here. Robinson's three children learned to walk at a pass at 12,000 feet -- on 25,000 acres where the National Forest Service permits his herd to graze each summer.

    At the center of the land lies Camp Hale, formerly an Army base, now a huge draw for summertime recreation. Robinson would move his herd when warned of a major event at the camp, such as a religious meeting that drew tens of thousands. But the Lycra-clad vacation crowd irks him.

    "My dad warned me, this state was going to be turned into one big playground," Robinson said. He sees sheepherding as environmentally virtuous, unlike the recreation industry, which has filled his beloved mountains with bike shops, hotels and spas -- and the sewers and electrical lines to support them.

    "You're producing a very high quality product from fresh air, sunshine and rain," he said of raising sheep. The recreation industry, he said, "produces smiles and giggles but not much else."

    Robinson revels in his unusual lifestyle. "It's almost like time travel. During the day I'm doing the same thing they were doing 6,000 years ago," he said. "Then we go to Denver and see the opera, watch planes land at the airport."

    Robinson and his wife, Shari, were returning from a trip to the Midwest on July 9, 2008, when they swung by to check on the herd, being tended by a hired Peruvian shepherd. They were startled to find the area overrun with mountain bikers. Vail's recreation department had scheduled a bike race and never informed the herders.

    The Robinsons figured their dogs wouldn't be a problem, though five days earlier one, Lucy, bit a jogger and was taken away by animal control. It was the first time, the couple said, any of their dogs behaved aggressively toward a person.

    The Robinsons ordered the remaining two -- Tiny, 9, and Pastor, 11 -- tied up during daylight to avoid another incident. The race was set to conclude before sundown.

    Though not trained to attack people, the dogs, both white Great Pyrenees, were fierce protectors of Robinson's herd. Pastor's muzzle bore scars from skirmishes with coyotes. Tiny once chased a mountain lion up a cedar tree.

    For Renee Legro, the July 9 event was to be her first race in years. A Chicago native who fell in love with Colorado on family ski vacations, she moved near Vail after getting her degree in speech pathology in 2000.

    She married Steve Legro, a fugitive from Boston's urban sprawl. They hike and bike, but in outdoor-crazed Colorado they are more a normal, middle-class couple than extreme adventurers.

    Caring for their daughter, Megan, born in 2007, had kept Renee off a mountain bike until she and a friend signed up for the race. "This was going to be my one big night out," she said.

    During the race, she was beset by problems with her bike, first a snapped chain, then a flat tire. By the time she fixed the flat, the sun was setting and the race largely over. Renee could have returned to the start with a race organizer but decided to finish the course.

    She was almost done when she descended the hill and saw the sheep in her path.

    Eagle County animal control officers told the Robinsons there would be no criminal charges. Tiny and Pastor were quarantined and could never be let loose again, so the Robinsons requested they be destroyed. They asked their insurers to contact Renee and figured that was the end of it.

    But the Legros were outraged. They felt the Robinsons weren't showing remorse and heard -- inaccurately, the Robinsons say -- that they were still using guard dogs even after the attack.

    The Legros spent weeks scouring state laws and collecting stories of other recreationists threatened by ranchers' dogs. Finally, they persuaded Eagle County Dist. Atty. Mark Hurlbert to treat the case like any dog attack. He charged Robinson with a single misdemeanor -- ownership of a dangerous dog.

    "Unfortunately," Hurlbert said, "his dogs committed a crime."

    In Colorado, owners of a dog that protects livestock are exempt from civil liability for bites. There is no exemption in criminal law. To convict Robinson, prosecutors merely had to prove his dogs bit Renee.

    Alarmed, Robinson decided he couldn't get new dogs to protect his herd. "I would never touch another of them, not the way that law reads," he said. "No matter how good a dog is, you never know."

    But free of the protective dogs, Robinson's herd was raided by predators. He lost 26% of his sheep in the last year. His sense of victimization grew. First the state had outlawed the traps that kept his herd safe. Now, he said, it was taking away his last line of defense.

    In September, Robinson appeared in Eagle County Municipal Court and argued that other dogs, not his, could have been responsible for the attack. But after Renee recounted the mauling in agonizing detail, the six-member jury convicted Robinson at the end of a one-day trial.

    At the sentencing in October, the Robinsons, including Sam's 87-year-old father, and their supporters sat on the left side of the courtroom. The Legros -- and Renee's parents and brother -- sat on the right.

    Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Sullivan tried to promote a reconciliation, or at least a truce, but that was not to happen. "These two sides of the room," she said, "don't have any understanding of what the other side has gone through."

    The Legros spoke first. Tearing up, Renee Legro said she had to close her fledgling speech pathology business after losing a month to hospitalization and weeks after that to depression and insecurity.

    She faces more surgery and has trouble walking, and she is terrified around dogs -- including the family's 16-year-old pet, Sarah. "I'm not as confident as I used to be," she told the judge. "I'm not as strong as I used to be."

    Legro asked for jail time, but Sullivan was clearly reluctant. "Dogs end up being the last protection the herd can have," the judge said.

    Sullivan asked Robinson if he had thought of moving his herd out of Camp Hale. Robinson, who was forbidden by his insurance company from admitting to the attack, said he was required to graze there under his deal with the Forest Service. If he had been warned of the race, he reiterated, he could have moved them and avoided what he called "this whole horrific thing."

    Sullivan asked the Legros if that changed their stance.

    It didn't. "No one seems to get the idea that these dogs need to be taught not to bite someone," Steve Legro said.

    Sullivan spared Robinson jail -- he could have received up to 18 months -- but ordered him to perform 500 hours of community service and to donate $500 to charity.

    Each side left the courtroom unhappy. "This is a Sunday school teacher who has no record who's suddenly a criminal," Shari Robinson said of her husband.

    The Legros said they had been torn about asking for jail time but felt that Robinson remained unrepentant. "He is so focused on his right to be there that he couldn't bring himself to see what it is like on the other side," Renee Legro said.

    The couple returned to their home in Eagle, a middle-class community largely inhabited by families priced out of Vail. They live in a new two-story house in a development designed to resemble the Victorian and Craftsman-style homes that speckle these mountain towns.

    The small subdivision and its nearby park are filled with young families walking their dogs.

    nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com


    ******

    From the way the article reads the biker was taking a shortcut through a ranchers flock.

  2. #2
    ed
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    Dogs on the trail piss me off. It's not the dog's fault on my local trails. It's the owners. If I had the choice of plowing through the dog or the owner...well, ya know.

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    People should be responsible for the actions of their dogs. Working dogs can be trained to not maul people. It seems to me that any business owner should operate his business in a way that is safe to the community. If a mountain biker was riding past a steel mill and a piece of heavy equipment mauled that biker, the steel mill would be held responsible. I don't see why this is different.

    If I lived in an area where this was a problem I'd bike with an easily accessible firearm and I'd use it if needed.

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    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Hey, maybe after they ban the dogs and jail the owner, mountain lions will be waiting after setset and these two yuppie scumbags will get eaten instead of bitten!

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    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Both industries need to co-exist. The recreation industry provides employment and tax revenue for financially strapped counties in the Rockies.

    A sheepherder has a moral and legal responsibility to post warnings that guard dogs will attack any moving "animal." Human or carnivore. This would have to be decided in a civil court. An injured rider has every right to expect safety in a recreation area. If someone is leasing the land from the state or BLM, they are subject to the same liability laws as a main street Business. The government agency that granted the land use permits requires that a certificate proving insurance coverage be placed on file. File suit against the liability provider.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

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    To charge the rancher would be extremely idiotic.
    “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... that’s what gets you.”- Jeremy Clarkson

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    ed
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    To "charge and sentance" the rancher to jail time is idiotic. To make him get controllable animals is fair. Where I live, people keep their livestock fenced in. Dogs stay on a leash. I get pissed when a dog is on the trail off a leash...especially when he feels the need to "be protective" of his owner b/c this giant thingy on wheels his heading toward them. Animals are unpredictable. I got bit on the leg. I felt like hopping off my bike and grabbing Benji by the freakin' collar and chucking his flea-bitten butt into the woods. Today's society however...is more protective of animals than it is people.

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    What you are talking about and what happened are two very different things, Dogs on your trails probably arent working dogs protecting livestock. Also, I'd assume all those sheep are free range, so building that much fence would be incredibly pricey.
    “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... that’s what gets you.”- Jeremy Clarkson

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    Don't really have a bike. craigcraigcraig's Avatar
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    this makes me mad. People need to get out of their bubbles and realise it's not go to work in a building everyday. To keep your money alive in this case you need something with some serious cajones behind it. BIG DOGS that protect sheep from other BIG PREDATORS. You can't blame a snake for striking same way you can't blame a dog bred to protect from protecting. I have 2 australian heelers and they know to slow something down you bite it's heels, whether is a human or a cow, now granted we have taught them to not bite people because there are often people around. When there is nothing around but predators you teach them to take out or scare off anything. Not the dogs fault not the riders fault. Maybe the guy should help out with medical bills but community service and donating to charity is a joke. I hope he donates to the NRA or something like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by craigcraigcraig View Post
    this makes me mad. People need to get out of their bubbles and realise it's not go to work in a building everyday. To keep your money alive in this case you need something with some serious cajones behind it. BIG DOGS that protect sheep from other BIG PREDATORS. You can't blame a snake for striking same way you can't blame a dog bred to protect from protecting. I have 2 australian heelers and they know to slow something down you bite it's heels, whether is a human or a cow, now granted we have taught them to not bite people because there are often people around. When there is nothing around but predators you teach them to take out or scare off anything. Not the dogs fault not the riders fault. Maybe the guy should help out with medical bills but community service and donating to charity is a joke. I hope he donates to the NRA or something like that.
    Seconded, Shepard breeds are extremely protective of their "herd" (we have two Aussies). My guess is that the person who was attacked did something (more than likely it was unintentional) to "threaten" the safety of the herd.
    “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... that’s what gets you.”- Jeremy Clarkson

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    On the other hand...if these guys wants to raise sheep, why not do it on their own land? If they want to do it on land that belongs to all of us, then he'll have to play by rules set by all of us, yuppie mountainbikers included.

    I was just wondering yesterday as I climbed a local trail: how come people have to pick up their dog ****, but I'm dodging huge piles of horse **** all the way up the mountain? Finally caught up to and passed the horses, who were trying to tell their riders they wanted to go home (which they did apparently because I didn't encounter them on the way back down).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    On the other hand...if these guys wants to raise sheep, why not do it on their own land? If they want to do it on land that belongs to all of us, then he'll have to play by rules set by all of us, yuppie mountainbikers included.
    If you start doing that, that opens another can of worms.


    Another thing, and I've just remembered this: If you've ever been hiking or whatever on BLM land or in a wilderness area (at least in Colorado), you should remember the signs warning about close to the exact thing that happened to the yuppies.
    “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... that’s what gets you.”- Jeremy Clarkson

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    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    ...If they want to do it on land that belongs to all of us, then he'll have to play by rules set by all of us, yuppie mountainbikers included....
    Unless it's the getto, then it's a culture that requires respect and we have to let them do what ever they want...Go, Obama, take back the land from everyone but hikers and horse riders!

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    Senior Member obie's Avatar
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    Neighbor nearly lost his thumb as result of a wrestling match over a stick with his Pyrenees. Said he didn't play "that" game anymore.

    Entering the MTB world now I think I need to know soon what my sprint speed is...just sayin'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
    Unless it's the getto, then it's a culture that requires respect and we have to let them do what ever they want...Go, Obama, take back the land from everyone but hikers and horse riders!
    The point is that the land belongs to everyone. For many years, special privileges have been given to people who use it for their own personal financial profit: ranchers, mining companies, oil companies, logging companies, and so on. Instead, these individuals should only have the same "voting" rights on what is proper use of the land as the hikers, cyclists, etc. that wish to use the land for recreation instead of exploiting it for profit. Which ever group is more numerous will make the policies. Or should.

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    When I go biking and come across an area where they're cutting timber I don't get hurt. Why? Because there are signs telling me that logging is taking place and I either shouldn't enter or should show some caution. Were there signs here about big, murderous dogs? If there were, then fine. The bikers should be responsible for not heeding the signs. If there weren't, then I'd say the owner should indeed be responsible for his dogs.

    In the absence of signs, what makes this sheep herder any different from any other land user? If I bring guard dogs in to the woods with me to protect me while I'm mountain biking and these dogs maul a little kid, is that different because I'm just out having fun and not working hard for a living? If I bring guard dogs in to the woods to guard me while I make powerpoint slides on my laptop for a big presentation and they maul an old lady is that better because I'm working? Or does it have to be manual labor?
    Last edited by Chris_F; 11-29-09 at 08:44 AM.

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    Senior Member obie's Avatar
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    Whoever/whatevers right or wrong here, the bottom line for me is that when you're outback a ways you got to be thinking about how/what you're going to do if the **** goes down.

    Been run at a few times on my roadie and have, so far, been able to hit the jets and get out of trouble. Not sure how much push I got on a MTB with knobbies tho....this episode does have me thinking more now.

    We ride near ranches and there are more than a few loose ranch dogs out there doing the job...that is: keep everything/anyone out front near the property moving fast and off the property. Yea, I guess if I get mauled by a 140# Pyrenees and, there were no signs posted, I'll be looking for an attorney after they reattach my hand but, damn, that's the deal out there...**** happens.

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    So here is the deal,

    Carry a ****** or pepper-spray or at least a knife if you're traveling in the backcountry where people let their crazy ass attack dogs run wild. Nobody would blame you for killing such an animal in self-defense, which seems to be shoot on sight rules since seeing such an agressive animal indicates you would be attacked. In fact, why not sit far off with a ***** and pick off these nuisance animals at a distance?

    It is not socially responsible to let such an animal free, why can't the sheppard watch his own flock? Oh yeah, that is right because he wants to make a more money by having more sheep than he can watch by himself.

    The whole mountain biker issue is just a red herring.

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    So she came rumbling down a hill at the herd?? Like, in the same manner predators do? Then she screamed? In this case the saying is justified: "Stupidity should be painful."

    Sucks for her, but I think it's the fault of whoever put on the event. They should have notified Robinson of the event so this could have been avoided.

    I'm sorry the dogs were destroyed, just doin' their job. Quite well, also.

    Seems to me like a case of bad communication, and this woman was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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    Senior Member 4evrplan's Avatar
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    I had a Great White Pyrenees as a boy, and he was very unaggressive. Kinda just laid back and quiet, but I guess he came across that way to me because I was his "herd". I've been around other pyrenees protecting animals, and it is scary. They have an unfriendly, distrusting glare that goes right through you, and I can assure you I watched them just as closely as they watched me. This issue is a tough one for sure, and I guess I can see both sides. I'd like to say the dogs should have been trained not to bite people, but like the rancher said, no matter how good the dog, you never really know. Perhaps another breed would be better?
    Quote Originally Posted by never View Post
    I think being on the back of a DH tandem would keep me awake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Oh yeah, that is right because he wants to make a more money by having more sheep than he can watch by himself.
    I seriously doubt this farmer is raking in loads of cash off of his sheep farm. He's certainly not bringing in enough to be considered greedy for his actions. It's really hard to make a living off of farming these days. Sometimes I wonder why our society seems to think that those who produce our food (an unrelenting, unthanked job) are not deserving of white-collar pay?

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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    It is not socially responsible to let such an animal free, why can't the sheppard watch his own flock? Oh yeah, that is right because he wants to make a more money by having more sheep than he can watch by himself.
    Honestly, that is one of the most idiotic statements ever. I'm not calling you an idiot, I'm just saying. . .
    You have clearly never spent time around sheep. They are literally one of the dumbest animals known to man. It would not be physically possible for one person at keep track of and control a flock, even a small one, of sheep.


    I've just shown this story to my mom, a vet, and she finds the outcome absolutely idiotic. She (logically) pointed out that the dogs are trained to not attack a HUMAN, but that they should protect the flock from PREDATORS. To a dog, do you really thing that a fast moving beast with legs moving up and down quickly looks like a human? No, it looks like some crazed beast out to get the flock to the dogs. The dogs were literally doing the exact same thing they were trained for. Like I said, there are signs at most trail heads warning about this exact thing, and saying what to do.
    “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... that’s what gets you.”- Jeremy Clarkson

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    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    If you think when the sheep herders are banned the Sierra Club is going to go away, you're dreaming. They'll start with the sheep herder and his dogs, when the Sierra Club is done, they'll have outlawed bikes too. It's time to link up with alternative land users (everyone but hikers and horse riders) to take back our God Given land. The hacks at the Sierra Club aren't going to rest until everyone is banned....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
    It's time to link up with alternative land users (everyone but hikers and horse riders) to take back our God Given land.
    Amen, dammit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ca7erham View Post
    Honestly, that is one of the most idiotic statements ever. I'm not calling you an idiot, I'm just saying. . .
    You have clearly never spent time around sheep. They are literally one of the dumbest animals known to man. It would not be physically possible for one person at keep track of and control a flock, even a small one, of sheep.


    I've just shown this story to my mom, a vet, and she finds the outcome absolutely idiotic. She (logically) pointed out that the dogs are trained to not attack a HUMAN, but that they should protect the flock from PREDATORS. To a dog, do you really thing that a fast moving beast with legs moving up and down quickly looks like a human? No, it looks like some crazed beast out to get the flock to the dogs. The dogs were literally doing the exact same thing they were trained for. Like I said, there are signs at most trail heads warning about this exact thing, and saying what to do.
    Thanks for just calling me a person who makes idiotic statements and not just an idiot... jerk.

    Sure sheep are dumb, what is your point? The outcome is the same, an innocent woman using a public space had her body torn apart by dogs specifically trained to for such things. If the dog was trained properly, like your mommy says, then it wouldn't have attacked her, right? I also understand this was public land, the woman was not trespassing and assumed no such liability for being mauled. If the farmer can't control his animals then he needs to move his flock elsewhere because human lives aren't worth less than sheep or attack dogs in my books.

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