Wash. police write $2,000 worth of tickets to owner of rampaging cattle


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

GRANITE FALLS, Wash. -- The police are tired. A cattleman is in trouble. Residents are fed up. Who's the man to fix it?

The butcher, of course.

Police have written more than $2,000 worth of tickets to Hiram Wilburn, 85, about marauding cattle that have escaped his property through a hole in his fence at least 70 times since early December.

The one-ton, shaggy Scottish Highland cattle have been blamed for at least three accidents, although no injuries were reported. Residents say the animals eat gardens and lawns -- and are generally creepy and scary to have around.

''It's not like a milking cow. They're huge -- those horns -- you don't know if they're going to attack or what they're going to do,'' said Sharri Matronic, adding that the cattle have destroyed a retaining wall in her yard and eaten her azaleas and ivy.

Wilburn is deaf and has no phone, but he realizes things are getting out of control, his son, Hiram Lee Wilburn, said Wednesday. Family and friends are trying to help him, the son said.

One of Wilburn's friends, Robert Echard, said a butcher is scheduled to visit the 25-acre property soon, but he defends the lumbering beasts, saying they're not mean.

''I can walk up and pet them,'' Echard said.

That doesn't impress police Officer Rich Michelsen, who recently had to use his patrol car, flashing lights turned on, to herd one of the cattle away from the police station in this town of 3,100 about 25 miles northeast of Seattle.

''People think it's funny,'' Michelsen said. ''It's tiring, is what it is.''

 

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