Collbran ranch swine euthanized
December 18, 2008
COLLBRAN, Colo. ” Exotic hogs seized by the state from a 760-acre Collbran ranch have been euthanized to prevent the spread of pseudorabies, which can be contagious to wildlife and domestic pets.
Exotic sheep also seized and quarantined in a livestock trailer on Nov. 17 were shipped back to Texas, where they originated.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Division of Wildlife quarantined the animals at the Little Creek Ranch near Collbran, owned and operated by Alan Baier. Collbran is west of Grand Junction, on the edge of the Grand Mesa.
A spokesman for the Division of Wildlife said he could not comment on possible civil or criminal penalties or regulatory violations.
“It’s an ongoing investigation. We really can’t comment,” said Randy Hampton. “At the present time, the priority for the Division of Wildlife is the containment of pseudorabies.”
Officers with the state have tested the feral hogs, and some of them tested positive for pseudorabies, a viral disease in swine.
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“With the discovery of a positive test result, further testing of hogs on the ranch is unnecessary as all are potentially exposed,” said Hampton, explaining that the virus spreads easily among swine. “The majority are either infected or carriers.”
Because of the virus, Baier has agreed to kill all the pigs on the ranch, Hampton said.
It is illegal to possess feral hogs in Colorado, Hampton said, but over the last two years, the Division of Wildlife knows of at least 30 feral hogs that have been killed on ranches adjacent to the Little Creek Ranch by the ranch operators or by division personnel.
The Little Creek Ranch, however, has a commercial wildlife park license, which it obtained before the state banned the ownership of feral hogs. As a result, Baier is allowed to have the hogs on the ranch, Hampton said.
The original quarantine order cited more than 80 areas of the ranch’s fence that needed fixing. With holes in the fence, animals are able to leave the ranch, potentially affecting the area wildlife and domestic livestock, the division has said.
“There are strict requirements in the licensing of the ranch for animals’ health and fencing that the ranch is required to live up to,” Hampton said.
Baier is “working on that,” Hampton said, referring to fixing the fence.
The state has maintained communication with Baier and his attorney, Hampton said.