Residents Express Concerns Over Rotting Cattle

August 26, 2009 12:34:56 AM PDT
The residents who've been smelling those decaying cattle carcasses and worry about disease gave county officials an earful at a town hall meeting in Coarsegold. Resident Bob Keith thanked the County for holding the meeting, but criticized them for being "Three weeks too late."Nearly 40 animals plunged down an embankment into the bed of the Fresno River three weeks ago. The cattle owner hired a crew to try and retrieve the carcasses but the rough terrain is making it a difficult job, but residents, like Suzie Week, who's homes surround the ravine are getting impatient.

"The fact is, not one carcass, three weeks into this have been removed from this area." Week said.

But County Supervisor Tom Wheeler, a lifelong rancher says the folks don't understand this is cattle country.

"They move up here and so many of them do not understand how to live out here in the nature." Wheeler said.

County Health officials assured residents there was no threat of disease from the carcasses. The county is working with the cattle owner to get the pool of water most of the carcasses are rotting in, pumped out, so the remains can dry and be removed. The plan to spray the water on surrounding rocks so it will evaporate away is seen as a foolish idea by residents. And most appeared to feel the county was not properly addressing the situation.

Week told the panel of county officials, "If any of you had 35 or so dead cattle in some sort of mud puddle in your backyard you would consider it an emergency situation. And I wish you would act on our behalf, as you would on your behalf because I just don't think you are getting it."

The county is hoping the cattle owner can get the carcasses removed before the seasonal water flow resumes in the Fresno River Channel.

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