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         Fannin County rancher gets rebate for wrangling fees

         Woman reimbursed thousands for impounded cattle



Fannin County rancher gets rebate for wrangling fees


By Chris Stum, KTEN News (TX)

Jun 04, 2019


BONHAM, Texas -- In an executive session Tuesday, Fannin County Commissioners agreed to pay back a local rancher for wrangling fees.


"$2,600 is a lot of money, and some people can't afford it," said Stacy Rauchwerger, who owns the cattle that deputies had to round up.


Commissioners said the sheriff's office violated the county's estray and perilous animal procedure by failing to give Raucherwerger enough time to claim her cattle.


"In this case, the court felt like the cattle were probably picked up a little bit sooner, and their wasn't enough notification as there could have been," Fannin County Judge Randy Moore said.


Sheriff Mark Johnson maintained that his department wasn't able to identify the owner of the cattle. He said they followed the state's agriculture code, which says, in part:





Woman reimbursed thousands for impounded cattle


By Meredith McCown, KXII (TX)

Jun 04, 2019


FANNIN COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) - A Fannin County woman had to pay nearly $3,000, all because her cattle got out for a few hours and ended up on someone else's land.


Tuesday county commissioners said she'd get her money back.


They felt like the sheriff's department handled the situation in the wrong way.


"I felt extorted. I absolutely felt extorted," said cattle owner Stacy Rauchwerger.


That's how she describes the moment a wrangler told her to write a nearly $3,000 check if she wanted her cattle back.


Less than a month ago, the herd ended up in her neighbor's yard for a few hours.


She checked on them in the morning, and got a call later saying 32 head of cattle were loaded in trailers and she needed to come pay.


"I mean I still don't sleep good at night I'm so paranoid about my cattle getting out," Rauchwerger said.


Sheriff Mark Johnson said the cows damaged water lines on a woman's property and she wanted them out of her yard.


According to Texas law, if the owner can't be contacted, it's legal to impound the cattle.


Johnson said they tried to find her by talking to neighbors.


But Rauchwerger said she didn't get a call until that night when the deputy checked a cow's ear tag and found her number online.


"There was simply no laws violated. We followed policies, procedures, we followed the law," Johnson said.


But Rauchwerger said they didn't try hard enough to reach her and she wanted her money back.


So she took matters to commissioner's court, who approved the reimbursement from the county.


"We just felt like justice needed to be served," said Fannin County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gary Whitlock.


That's why commissioners voted to take the money from their own contingency fund and not the Sheriff's budget...