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4:35 PM Thu, Jan. 17th

Dolan Springs homeowners says cows overstepping their 'open' range

Cows and people are coming into more conflict each day, according to some Dolan Springs residents.

A meeting is scheduled at the Dolan Springs Community Center for 7 p.m.

Saturday so citizens and local ranchers can discuss the problem.

Mohave County District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell said he would attend if he can clear his schedule.

"I will be at the meeting to meet with area residents," John Ford, administrative assistant to Sockwell, said.

"Both sides will have an opportunity to make their views known."

Lou Carhart, a resident, will conduct the meeting for fellow residents who have experienced problems with the cattle.

Ford said Dave Knisely, local rancher and Dolan Springs resident, is expected to attend.

The area has been open range where residents must fence cattle out of their property, Ford said.

However, Dolan Springs has grown rapidly from the 1,800 residents, cattle guard to cattle guard, counted by the 2000 census.

"We have recounted the population and believe the real number is between 4,000 and 5,000," Ford said.

"The area extends from the cattle guard on Pierce Ferry Road at U.S.

93 to the cattle guard just past Dolan Springs."

Much of the area is federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management with grazing leases.

Ford said the BLM would like to trade for private land east of U.S.

Highway 93.

Carhart said 2,600 cars per day travel Pierce Ferry Road through Dolan Springs and increasingly come in contact with cows.

"That is an average count for a week and does not show how many cars travel the road on peak days, like Sunday," he said.

Several residents have called the Miner concerned about the danger and damage from cows roaming open range.

Patricia Burris of Dolan Springs said the cattle had nearly tipped over a gas tank on her property and have eaten an oleander hedge in a neighbor's yard.

"The drought conditions make it worse for the cows and seems to bring them to town for food and water," Burris said.

"We cannot all afford to fence them out.

We had thought the area had lost the open range six years ago."

Another resident from a ranching background in Oregon said the cows are causing more damage this year.

"We had roses fenced to keep out the rabbits, but that did not stop the cows," Edna Lahoda said.

"They ate the roses and the branches, they are so hungry."

Ford has invited Cerbat Justice of the Peace John Taylor to the meeting.

"It may take legislation to find a solution," Ford said.