A Colorado rancher has been declared to be an “unfit owner” of cattle.

On April 30, a Logan County, Colo., judge declared Gilbert Dean Schuman, 57, an unfit owner. The court decision transferred possession of 28 head of cattle to the Colorado Department of Agriculture which will retain full ownership until they are sold at auction.

Earlier, staff from CDA’s Bureau of Animal Protection in cooperation with the Logan County Sheriff’s Office seized the cattle under the Colorado Animal Protection Act.

Testimony by veterinarians and livestock experts on behalf of the department was able to show a profound lack of care provided to the animals. Examples include a young heifer that was malnourished to the point she was unable to rise and required humane euthanasia. Another heifer which died while in custody was examined post mortem and the results showed “the worst case of malnutrition in a dairy animal I have ever seen,” stated a veterinary witness. 

According to the court transcript, Judge Douglas Vannoy stated, “the defendant’s neglect of those cattle was to a degree that the life and health of the cattle was in danger. The defendant is not fit to adequately provide for the health and well being of the cattle that he owns and is not fit to own the cattle.”

“The court hearing also approved a preliminary restraining order stating Schuman is not to own any cattle until a court date yet to be determined. That hearing will determine his eligibility to own cattle in the future,” said State Veterinarian Keith Roehr. “Schuman’s actions are an insult to Colorado’s livestock community; our ranchers are committed to the care of their animals and abuse such as this will not be tolerated.”

Source: Colorado Department of Agriculture news release