Editor: My name is Sandra Erhardt-Sheppard, and I owned the property on Sheppard Road that now belongs to the Hatches. The road up to our home was private and not even a real road, just a path until we used our tractor and made it one. The county told us they would not help as it was private property, and they did not grade or maintain that road. We named it and maintained it, and it led nowhere except to the end of the property at the barn — no public access.
The current situation up there has upset everyone that lives in the area. We all got along as neighbors and looked out for each other’s property and homes until this cattle issue. They have come in with their cows and run roughshod over everyone’s property rights and have gotten away with it so far at everyone’s expense.
There is a gas line that runs on the ground on the property fence line. If a cow steps on that, well, then what? No one wants to really address this issue in Willcox, hoping it will go away. It will not. Lawsuits from the lack of responsibility of the cattle owners to the gas company to the county will come from everywhere. This is now a full-fledged range war and needs to be stopped.
The owners of the cattle need to be responsible for their animals, not everyone else make adjustments to suit them. There is a huge backstory to all of this also. The cows are destroying people’s property, fences, yards, water lines, and cow poop is everywhere.
The property on Sheppard Road was completely fenced, as I had it done when I lived there. This does not stop the cattle from tearing down the fences and running on private property. There is no excuse for any of this to continue except that they refuse to do the right thing and control their cattle.
This is not right and is certainly not over by a long shot.