VIRGINIA CITY – The Madison County Commissioners passed resolution 2-2012 during their weekly meeting in Virginia City, allowing for the formation of a Livestock Protective Committee.
Last week the board received a petition from local stock growers in support of the resolution. 136 cattle owners in the county, who collectively own 32,458 cattle, offered their support for the petition, as did 17 of the counties sheep owners who own 847 sheep.
The committee has the authority to impose a fee not to exceed 50 cents on all adult sheep and cattle in the county to be deposited into a special deputy fund. Commissioner Dave Schulz said that both stock growers and sportsman alike would benefit from the committee because it gives the county the ability to fund a proactive management plan for the counties growing wolf population.
“One of the reasons we’re doing this is that we don’t seem to be getting the help from our state and federal partners as it relates to wolf management. Our wildlife services trappers find themselves without the resources to get out there and appropriately manage or deal with the wolf issue,” Schulz said. “We know that wolves are coming into the valley and starting to create problems.”
The committee will advise, assist and cooperate with the Montana Department of Livestock, county commissioners, the sheriff and all other public officials or police officers with duties pertaining to hide and brand inspection, apprehension and prevention livestock rustlers, enforcement of laws governing the movement and sale of livestock and other matters of interest and value to Madison County’s livestock industry. Unlike other county boards, the committee will communicate with but act independently of the county commissioners as they decide how best utilize funds raised by the livestock fee.
Commissioners also voted to appoint Gary Clark of Jeffers and Rick Sandru of Twin Bridges to the committee for two years. They also appointed Neil Barnosky of Sheridan to the board for one year. By statute, the committee’s membership must be comprised of county residents engaged in the business of raising cattle or sheep, with at least one member involved with sheep ranching.