Uncategorized

A picture may speak a thousand words, but it only tells half the story.

Paso Robles Daily News should be ashamed of them selves. As a mater of fact, I’m pretty sure they are ashamed of their reporting because they won’t even assign a by line to the article that just may ruin a man who has had an impeccable reputation in the agriculture industry for 53 years. I can’t even personally call out the reporter who so poorly wrote an article that has broken a man’s heart. They have made unfounded accusations of animal cruelty based on half the story. They didn’t even try to contact the man who stays up nights and works long hours to make sure his sheep are okay. Instead they relied upon the opinion of a couple who happened upon some sheep that were in distress. They did little to help the shepherd who was with the sheep. Instead, they were quick to grab a cell phone video – correction about TEN cell phone videos of sheep in distress.

There are a thousand things this couple could have done: Called the Sheriff’s Department to contact the owner of the animals. Contact the Community Services District where the sheep were leased. ASKED THE SHEPHERD WHAT THEY CAN DO TO HELP! Please explain to me how shooting a video is going to immediately help these animals that they claim to be so concerned about!!??

Cal Coast News at least contacted the rancher who owns the sheep. Reading their article, I was at first a bit shocked to hear the rancher close the article with this quote, “Those people you are talking to are nuts and do not know what they are talking about. It was the storm that hurt them.” He’s right about one thing: Those people who shot the video have no idea what they’re talking about. You see, it’s estimated that only 1% of working Americans are actually involved in production agriculture. So an even smaller percentage of Americans actually know about sheep production!

The couple with the cell phone taking videos were part of the 99% of our population which, most, blissfully believe that their food comes from a grocery store. Truth be told, this couple probably caused more distress for the sheep. These sheep are used to being moved by only their shepherd and his highly skilled team dogs. By minimal human pressure. So the sight of this hysterical couple probably frightened the sheep even more.

I’ll tell you a few things that I personally know. I know that when I do a BING or GOOGLE search of the term “sheep”, you’ll see tons of images of baby lambs, fluffy herds of ewes dotting green hillsides probably somewhere in Ireland, and even a few rams with horns. Not a single photo in the top 100 images on either site of a freshly shorn ewe that has a lamb on her side. I know that when my sister and I were 4H leaders, we brought home several lambs for our kids and were heart broken one day when we received a phone call that one of our kid’s lamb died. No reason, just died. I know that when I was in Shandon FFA, we had a flock that belonged to the school and every year (spring time as a matter of fact) when we sheared the ewes, they looked thin with big bellies and protruding spines. Apply this same logic to humans. What’s the best way for a woman to lose weight after a baby? Breast feed. What does a woman look like a few months after she gives birth? Certainly not the same as she did prior to getting pregnant! These ewes are processing their feed straight into milk for their lambs at an incredibly high rate – just like a nursing human mother does. Things in pictures and videos aren’t always what they seem.

And I know this rancher, personally. He’s a kind and caring man. He’s Basque and from the old country. I did not contact his family for content nor do I have their permission to write about them. I don’t need to. I know him from the Catholic Church I grew up in seeing him often on Sundays. I know him because I grew up with his two sons and daughter. I know him because he’s been a highly respected cattleman and shepherd for over 50 years in our community. It’s a treat to get stuck in a rural traffic jam just to see that it’s one of his bands of sheep moving to their next pasture. Slow and steady, we all patiently wait and watch in awe to see the sheep mindfully cruise down our County roads. A man, a few dogs and a thousand sheep moving miles with no problems.

This rancher has experienced a tragedy based on nature alone. Shortly after shearing his sheep, they were moved into a new location where rain and winds far exceeded what was forecasted. In a drought stricken year, this was the perfect storm. Now he is being forced to deal with a manufactured tragedy from poor reporting and an ill-informed woman with a cell phone video. Coming from a ranching family who is personal friends with this rancher, my heart is breaking for his loss.

I beg you to listen to both sides of the story, to understand that ranchers are among the most compassionate people you will meet and that our animals are part of our family. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family, JB. Best wishes for a full recovery for your family and your herd.

Advertisements
Standard

86 thoughts on “A picture may speak a thousand words, but it only tells half the story.

  1. Brandy says:

    Well written Carin. Although I don’t know him first hand I have heard he is an amazing man full of love and compassion for all things living. And being a 4-H Leader myself I too have experienced first hand unexplainable illnesses and deaths of our project animals. It saddens me to see people so quick to pass judgment without seeking knowledge first.

    I ppray this Shephard and his family find the strength and courage to move forward.

    Like

  2. Brandy says:

    Well written Carin. Although I don’t know him first hand I have heard he is an amazing man full of love and compassion for all things living. And being a 4-H Leader myself I too have experienced first hand unexplainable illnesses and deaths of our project animals. It saddens me to see people so quick to pass judgment without seeking knowledge first.

    I pray this man and his family find the strength and courage to move forward.

    Like

  3. Wally Beville says:

    Well from my experience of raising cattle and pigs, one thing is for sure Mother Nature will always do what she wants! We could never watch every single animal to prevent them from walking out on a frozen pond to only fall through the thin ice. Raising any livestock is something only those who have and do really understand.
    For an individual or individuals to one bother a herd of animals the have no reason to be bothering to begin with and two have no idea how to care for themselves is not just irresponsible but ignorant.
    Then for a reporter to “Report” unsubstainated information is not only irresponsible but extremely unprofessional and any information expressed without having both sides of the story should be retracted and a formal apology given to the Rancher!
    You see if any rancher who cares as much for his flock as much as this man does is faced with an unpredictable situation like a storm from hell, a storm which caught a lot of people by surprize did the best they could. Don’t you think if a rancher who’s been doing it his entire life was guilty of animal cruelty there would be some sort of a track record or pattern of such behavior?
    All I can really say is to the people who shot the video and called the sheriff and the reporter who was so very irresponsible by reporting unfounded information you should be ashamed of yourselves!
    To the Rancher, I’m sorry you are having to go through this crap, maybe allow these idiots to do your job for one day then they might understand! Thank you for doing what you do and how you’ve been doing it for the past 50 years! I’m sure I’m not the only one who supports you in every effort to help you battle idiots and an irresponsible reporter!

    V/R
    Wally Beville
    GYSGT. USMC (Ret)

    Like

  4. Thank you for your perspective. Being an animal lover, I immediately jumped to a conclusion that they were so thin and must have been mistreated. You are right. I did not have all of the info. It is important to not jump to conclusions without all the facts. I do think it is important that people who are educated in agriculture investigate.

    Like

    • David Kauhn says:

      Jen that is the opened mind on this topic or any other topic for that matter that people that are educated in agriculture need to have i am also an animal lover and an agriculture lover as well spread your open mind with others!!!

      Like

  5. I’m glad to hear that he is a nice man, loves animals, and does not have a history of animal cruelty. I just don’t understand why those live sheep were in the truck with the dead ones. If the sheep were dying couldn’t he at least shoot them to put them out of their misery? Your explanation comes as a relief, but that video just seemed so wrong. The weather doesn’t make an animal so skinny that fast. I hope there is more to than I understand and this is really just a tragedy for the sheep and the shepherd

    Like

    • I thank you Penny! I don’t know what happened as I didn’t speak to his family. And I guess that’s the message here – we don’t know what happened so we should consider that there are two sides to this story. So tragic on so many levels!

      Like

      • John says:

        Funny you say two sides to a story, guess its only important when your sides not being told. I guess it takes a strong person to look at both sides of a story.

        Like

    • camille says:

      Often when sheep fall ill or dehydrated they give up and nursing them to health prooves to be hard and near impossible. If the were sick or diseased they needed to be kept away from the healrhy stock to prevent further loss.

      Like

  6. Matt says:

    Speaking of mother nature at its finest, how quickly people forget a recent storm from last winter that swept through idaho, montana and north and south dakota killing over 100, 000 cattle in its wake. Those ranchers are still struggling to regain there livelihoods. Weather can do damage to crops, livestock and resources but as you put it so well Carin, the general public (for the most part ) only recognize s food wrapped in plastic wrap. A select few put there lives and lifestyle on the line so that the public has easy access to groceries.

    My hat go’s off to our nations farmers, ranchers and commercial fisherman. Next time you eat a hamburger or sushi, take the time and remember where it can from.

    Matt

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jil Brooks says:

    Well said Carin!
    It’s sad that a persons first response to a situation is for them to grab a phone and post irresponsibly and trash a person instead actually asking how they can help.
    Those people seem to have No knowledge of ranch animals and how any of this works. Concern would be great but in this case it seems more like they were after shock value.

    Like

  8. Kas says:

    I agree with you on a certain level, growing up a ranch kid and dealing with the misfortunes and realities of agriculture. But I must also disagree with you on a level as well. I questioned the situation in the clip of the sheep in the field, as they looked like pretty typical production livestock. If they are ‘good mothers’ they are often slightly sickly looking. I stopped questioning the situation as soon as I saw how the sick/dead/dying sheep were being treated as they were piled in a truck or piled in a trailer. That is not fair treatment of any creature. My family has spent days, taken hours out of our lives, to check on sick cows repeatedly throughout a day. We look into every solution possible to help an animal. There would never be a situation where we just tossed a bunch of sick and dying (lets be realistic) calves into a truck like that. I understand how terrible nature can be and see how the sheep could have been brought to such a terrible state from the storm, but the way I was raised (by two kind-hearted, hardworking ranchers- father and grandfather) that end treatment doesn’t cut it. You save what you can and then clean up the wreckage. Reputation to protect or not.

    Like

    • Kas I understand what you’re saying. I’d like to reiterate that I did not speak to the family, nor did I have their permission to write this. I can make a few assumptions based on my own experiences: the man was doing the best he could with a hysterical woman yelling at him. He was probably trying to clean up an already horrible situation. You’re totally right. All things living deserve dignity in their final moments. I pray I’m never forced to choose which animal to comfort, which might make it, or of I should address the video camera. I wish she would have helped him.

      Like

    • Kay says:

      I agree. Enough excuses for this man’s actions. They were cruel and completely WRONG. Despite what brought these poor animals to the state they were in, it is not okay to torture the ones that were clinging to life.

      Would it be okay for a reputable teacher to hit a child, just one time? Would it be okay for a reputable citizen to drive drunk, hit someone and cause serious injury.. just one time? Is it okay for a reputable shepherd to leave his sheep to graze on property where there is no grazing to be had? Is it okay to view the life of a dying calf as a piece of garbage, having no concern over the pain one is causing when dragging it across the ground… Just once? Is it okay to transport living animals in such a manner as Mr. J did, clearly violating animal welfare provisions, just one time? NO!!!!!

      People need to be held accountable for the choices they make. Mr. J needs to be held accountable for his.

      Like

      • mike says:

        I am wondering how many of you live in Paso Robles and understand that HR had little food available to start with and for him to bring them there at this point was wrong

        Like

  9. Glen says:

    I too saw this video last night. It is appalling that someone who knows nothing would and could do this. I have seen cows loose 50-100 pounds in three or four days of heavy rains while nursing a calf. As for sheep they are not a strong animal anyway I have seen them look perfectly fine one minute and 30 minutes later they are dead. I myself have gone through some of this as people have called the sherrif on my cows, saying they are skinney. There was one or two out of fifty that were old and drawn down by a calf in the winter. It is not fun having the sherriff knocking on your door at 7:00 a.m. on sunday morning to check on a complaint. And only after having animal regulation, the sherriff and the brand inspector check my cows say your cows are fine. Anyway I support this person I did not know who it was at first but then I saw his initials. I to know him slightly and his family. I hope this soon passes and they can get back to raising livestock. Maybe they should sue for slander or something. This video should have never made it on line or in the news.

    Like

    • kellie says:

      I was wondering who gave them rights to hike property thats not their own?..should b a trespassing in there somewhere also… i will b happy to see this turn around …and also i like the couple to be slander when it is… need to make a example of them as they r trying with jb

      Like

      • chris brown says:

        the couple lives there and were out for a hike, talk about getting facts and slander, they are an upstanding couple and would have loved to not have witnessed what they did in THEIR neighborhood.

        Like

  10. I cannot speak to the ranching aspect of this article, as we are new to the community and just beginning to learn about this ancient and (in my view) sacred profession. I can however, speak first hand about the media. I worked in broadcast journalism doing news reporting for NBC-TV affiliates for several years. A typical assignment on any given day was to bring in footage “that will make people tune in and watch!” High ratings keep stations on the air, and the higher the ratings, the more they can charge for advertising. Simple business economics. Sensationalism drives up viewership, realism does not. If the news station were truly ethical, they would conduct an investigation behind this piece and do a follow-up segment. Even the pharmaceutical industry requires fair balance.

    Like

  11. Di says:

    Thank you Carin for posting this! I am not a rancher but a land owner and when I saw this film last night I cried and had nightmares. Yes I did jump and was angry at the Shepard and now I take my words back. We do need to look, listen and HELP when needed. We need to check on our neighbors when the weather is good and bad! We need to love and not talk down about others. The video is ugly, makes the Shepard look neglectful but that may not be the case so let’s let the authorities take care of this and just offer help for the animals themselves. Don’t blame the people who took the video, I might have too had I happened upon this scene but I don’t think I would have posted it on fb but rather would have gone straight to the sheriffs with it. Thank you again for opening our eyes and hearts, Carin.

    Like

  12. Thank you for correcting a story that I’d heard third hand. I was so upset that someone would shear the sheep and then leave them to starve to death because our draught left too little grass to feed on. I’ve loved watching these animals graze through the hills above our home in the past and it was so sad to think they had been mistreated. Now I am relieved to know that no intentional harm was done, although it is still sad that the rain we have all been praying for has brought with it so much destruction, including the lives of these sheep. Again, thanks for telling “the rest of the story.”

    Like

    • chris brown says:

      so are you saying the video is a cartoon? photoshopped? I know plenty of cattle ranchers who have thinned their herd because they can not feed them, the ethical way to ranch. This couple was out having a hike in their neighborhood, they did not go looking for trouble, but thank God they have morals, not like some in here posting!

      Like

      • I agree with you, Chris, these hikers were doing the right thing I had amended my first comment after exploring the whole story more, as you will see if you read below. Also after comparing these sheep with the sheered sheep last year, who looked healthy, not skin and bones, like these. (I think our comments crossed in cyber-space)

        Like

    • After investigation this further and looking at the videos and comparing the photos of those sheered sheep with the ones I took of sheered sheep last year, I’m having mixed feelings about all this. Those sheep look way too skinny–the storm could not have done that to them. And for the rancher to say that this is what sheered sheep normally look like seems blatantly false. He should know better–they don’t always look like this.

      There may be a reason for this tragedy that makes the rancher blameless, or at least not so guilty as it first seemed, but something was “not normal” here, and for those of you who champion ranchers and people who put food on our tables, I hope you would agree!

      I don’t think we should blame these hikers for taking this video and trying to get someone to investigate what happened either. Or for being distressed and angry about what they saw, especially when they saw the hurt sheep being tossed so roughly into the trailer! I hope we all would be upset if we saw that. And I hope we would all record what we saw and alert authorities.

      I hope the “whole” story does come out on this. I hope we learn to look at both sides of the story before condemning the rancher, while also not condemning those who bring these stories to light, nor make light of such stories simply because we want to defend an industry (or neighbor) we think is being maligned.

      Like

  13. If there were truly two dozen dead sheep, there’s something wrong. Any responsible care taker would have known his/her livestock was in distress PRIOR to so many dying. They would have taken the proper precautions. One, two, half a dozen? Maybe. But not 25 or more. Veteran rancher or not, it’s irresponsible.

    And before anyone assumes differently, I’ve grown up in rural SLO County. I understand the difference between livestock and pet. I also understand the difference between compassion and apathy.

    Like

  14. kellie says:

    Being from a family who have sheep and many of this breed of sheep…when a virus sets in ..him putting distressed ones in trailer being a one man team out there as a herder is… is normal to one keep infection off land and maybe in sorce of running water… two to hold them from wild life getting to them and getting a virus and spreading…and also just to hold to give any treatment…u seen him dealing with what he had…sheep dont sweat so when they become ill is quick n fast for they have no release.. ever see sheep panting hard?… its only form of changing body temps..cooling self down…also know jb n his family…they r in the market field… when marketing sheep us gov..makes it hard to give anti’s and pro biotic to them..cuz as much as these videos making many whine so do they whine if any chemical have been givin to the meat they eat….and right now i heard local flu is killing off more humans… wheres the human abuse videos? I mean if we had better medical care then whats just been delt to us..b more alive.. but we use what we got to survive… and that goes same for herder..he was a hired worker… may been new.. may been from old country with out uneducated people and cell phones.. his choice may not been what the rancher would of done.. but his choiced where his and not jbs….we r already getting calls on our livestock..sheep…and we have done nothing… see not only did they hurt this man…their choice will hurt many ranchers now… cuz we now live in wine country and yuppies have taking flight n landed here.. with out the knowing ways of life just visions of mary had a little lamb.. fleece white as snow… only white sheep i know when ready for a show… as a owner of Rambouillet’s ..oh for u that dont know its a breed of sheep and those in picture ..i fill they became ill fast.. the no wool n skinny r good traits not bad…and he breed’s around season so why they r sheered now..cuz its abuse to not sheer your sheep just saying..thanks for writing this our hearts r at pain for jb…..but the phones r now ringing to anyone who has flocks…cuz instead of doing like one ranch would done for another try helping n saving instead of bash to get public notice… yeah i said public notice.. they sure didnt keep their names out of it… god bless you jb n family

    Like

  15. ~Debbie says:

    Good people can still make bad decisions.
    I hope that everyone who was touched or involved in someway will learn something from it and make better decisions in the future. I know there are times when I “could or should” have done something, but didn’t. These sheep could have had better care in the situation. We are informed about the weather before it happens. Surely, there are other choices, and “we” chose to make them. I can understand that caring for livestock can be difficult in drought, and severe weather. But, we should always look to the very best choices and have a high regard for safety for humans and animals.
    Don’t you agree

    Like

    • kellie says:

      And when a storm comes where do expect ranchers to put all those sheep? We r on the west coast storms dont visit like this as much we r not the mid- west and do not have barns as big as hotels.. for one regs wont let us build that big and two it be a waste..so i like to know where everyone thinks these sheep should of gone with storm coming?

      Like

      • ~Debbie says:

        I see that horses are given blankets to wear, can’t that be done with sheep? I don’t know all the answers, but I would hope we have plans for unforeseen acts of mother nature. If not, then this should be something to think about going forward? Why do they need to be sheared before the winter ends? Could that be delayed til late March, or April?

        Like

      • Ann says:

        This is the whole point. Where would a California rancher go with all these animals because a storm is coming in? This is not the mid west where they can house 1000’s of sheep during a storm. People, wake up. This is a devastating drought and devastating things happen to good people and their herds and property. I know the kind of rain fall that area gets and I can only imagine how wet and cold they were–BY NATURE, not neglect. Sheep get so sick so quick. JB has been in business way too long with a good reputation for this to be anything other than the effects of this horrible drought.

        Like

    • kellie says:

      Sheep release n adjust body temps from their mouths…. jb buys sheep alot for all we know he may of got one with a virus and added to the flock unknown and it spreaded fast.. just like human many new virus out there for sheep ..only down fall if we marketing them we cant give them lots of meds to save…its cuz people complain they want everything natural… as for a rancher we spend many nights with sick animals… sheep r ones who really dont give signs of being sick till they r to far gone…some i have seen look like death have fever n wool breaks and then get back up….many dont… so alot u have to sit n wait…its a tuff field.. one side wants u to do do do and the other says u cant and sets limits…just like i have got worst feedback before from a group who came out one time and see the lambs and we were banding their tails so they fall off…. we dont do it for fun we do it for health wise of the sheep keep bacteria away from their butts n flies…cuz they cant clean them selves

      Like

  16. aeengland@hotmail.com says:

    I am so proud of you for taking the initiative and writing these blogs. It is truly amazing how people are so quick to judge in industry that they know nothing about yet is their sole source of survival. It’s sad that now days a big portion of producers’ day consists of educating the public and fighting regulations and misconceptions because the people who consume are food are biting off the hand that feeds them. Love you girlfriend and keep doing what you are doing. It’s a tireless effort but all to keep and industry that we love in business and feed the world!

    Like

  17. mike says:

    I have a question for every one defending this guy we knew days in advance of the severity of the storm what did he do or not do that should have been
    #1 account for all animals
    #2 bring them all to a protected place on the property and keep them there
    #3 give them supplemental food source and water to beef up there ability to cope with bad weather
    all this should be dun 2 days before the storm
    he did admit they were just sheered and would be weaker because of this
    question for all you that know him so well did any of this happen or did he just leave it to fait ???

    Like

    • Ann says:

      What makes you believe he had a “protected place on the property”? This is not a farm with massive barns to house however many head of livestock of any sort. This is mother nature you are talking about. Again, these sheep could have looked fine, (thin and sheared yes) but not sickly just before the storm hit. Again, this is a devastating drought with all sorts of backlash effects.

      Like

    • kw says:

      how many times in this last year did we hear we r getting a storm getting rain and then ……..nothing…after awhile you stop believeing

      Like

      • mike says:

        KW I worked outside so I made it my job to know the weather we knew it was going to rain and rain a lot
        he also should know its his job his livelihood relies on it
        Ann you don’t need a barn for shelter is just a term they should have a place they can contain them that is blocked from the wind more that the rain not just left to rome randomly
        for every one saying it was only half a percent of his flock
        this is not totally correct he had 300 sheep at HR and that was to much for the land to handle at this time so he lost about 9.5% and that is to much
        to every one that is comparing this to what has happened back east to the animals dying in the storm there is a big difference of conditions and severity of weather
        I posted some simple things that should have helped the sheep survive
        my question still stands did he do any thing or nothing
        any of the suggestions I posted wrong
        so far all of the responses for his benefit break down to it was the weathers fault
        and I call BS on that

        Like

      • kw says:

        Mike with due respect you are yalking to a rancher and one who raises these breeds of sheep who range on our 300 plus ranch…we been in it just as long… and i promise you weather could played a factor im thinking he got a virus b bringing in new sheep… sheep dont sweat so they change temps through mouth…. all sheep go through a state inspection with large flocks all reg when born and scappie tagged..tails docked..a sheep can die with in hours from fever… some survive and have wool breaks..but many dont.. cant just give them meds then you can not use for fda market regs..as for shelter sheep have natural hardy fight in storms they flock together and seek trees… if it was a quick virus moving them al to a closed area all flock could die… him pulling sick n dead away fast should been his first response and listening to the lady in video he was trying to do it…..and to the gal below who was deleted… unless you ever raised your own food… dont knock those that do..its not a fun job and ranchers r not some under educated person most in this area are cal poly grads and we hold another career besides ranching.. so while working and raising our own family we raise yours also…people go into this with open mind dont judge..go to a ranch and ask questions your always welcome…sometimes the answers are not pretty but nor is life at times… we dont enjoy working as hard as we do but when out and i see a family enjoying a healthy meal ..i know a job was well done and worth it…..kw

        Like

  18. moriasue says:

    I find it grotesque that videotaping animals, one believes to be in such horrible condition, is seen as “help”. Perhaps it is my Ag. Background, but rather than documenting their demise, the sheep would have benefited more from using those phones to make calls. These “concerned citizens” could have begun by calling the land owner, feed supply, vets, sheriff’s office, and other services that may have been able to save, or assist those animals in pain, to a more humane death. And even if these individuals are as you say Carin, part of the 99% of people with no agricultural knowledge, all of the information could be easily accessed using Google. These individuals that had enough time to make several videos could have quickly driven to Farm Supply, or searched the heritage barns for grain, or filled buckets of water, if they had only put their phones down. In the original story, Jennifer Weissmuller states her husband called her for help when finding the animals, but I only see them using verbal condemnation towards the shepherd. In what way does chastising the man help those animals in that moment? In that same story Jennifer Weissmuller states that “Our concern was to get help for the animals”, but I would like to know in addition to the call to her Homeowners association and posting these videos on social media, what help did she provide these animals? I raised cattle, and know very little about sheep; therefore, I cannot comment as to how I feel they were taken care of. However, I believe there is something to be said as to what constitutes “help” in the original story, or glorifies the role that those two people took. Perhaps it was a lack of knowledge, but I believe it was more likely the tendency that most Americans have to simply voice their outrage, rather than a need to act.

    Like

    • Elizabeth says:

      It what way do the two people recording the videos have more if a responsibility to act than the shepherd? There is something called human decency and not having raised livestock before I personally would never toss sick and obviously dying animals into a truck on top of each other to suffer even more! I would have had more respect for the man if he displayed enough decency to at least put them down and end their suffering. I don’t have to raise livestock to know what’s right and wrong and the way that situation was handled was WRONG!

      Like

    • Kas says:

      You have an Ag background, you have a way different concept of help than someone without it does. People without such a background likely did what they thought was right, they got proof of the situation and pursued a change. They likely had no idea how to help the animals. Just like those who jumped to conclusions, you have to look at all sides of the story. Understand where someone else might be coming from.

      Like

  19. Audra Smith says:

    Well written Carin!! One of the problems with “city people” who have no idea what it takes to raise animals. Farmers and ranches can not control the weather, sometimes things
    happen. Mayb the “concerned couple” should have asked if the shepherd if they could help or if there was someone they could contact for him to help. Natural disasters happen, look at wjat happened in North Dakota last year with all the cattle that got stuck in the snow. Nothing could be done, the farmers lost everything some lost their whole herds. Some people should use their heads, instead of their cell phones. Just sad how people who know nothing of the situation get envolved and then the wonderful media takes over with only one side of the story. Lets face it the media makes things worse than they are!!!

    Like

    • Kay says:

      You need to stop making excuses. The woman was hysterical for a very good reason. Whether or not Mr. J is someone you know and respect, his actions are despicable!!!!!!! You should be ashamed of yourself for making the 2 poor citizens who came across this out to be the bad guys. If you read all that is out there, they only video taped this scene after repeated attempts to get help. Now people can judge for themselves. No matter what the circumstances, NO living creature deserves to die in that manner. It’s just plain cruel. This sweet man you describe certainly doesn’t exist in my book.

      Like

  20. S. Hernandez says:

    I see the negative comments about the rancher and I am saddened! It is so easy for people to make their comments and judgments, while hiding behind their computer screens. Yes everyone is entitled to their opinions (because I know that they are going to excuse their actions with that sentence) BUT we as a society have lost our morals. We bash, condemn and persecute people before we find out the facts. What ever happened to the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahnnika says:

      You’re right, we have lost our morals! It’s OK to neglect and abuse animals!!!! The cold hard truth is in the footage!!!

      Like

  21. Dawn says:

    I have watched each and every video that was posted. It doesn’t matter what people say!!! THOSE SHEEP WERE SICK AND DYING AND THEY OWNER NEW IT!!!!! THEY DESERVE WHAT THEY GET FROM THE LAW!!!

    Like

  22. Ahnnika says:

    Funny how this Carin chick can so easily sway everyone’s opinions! Anyone local to HR knows this did not happen overnight! The storm was the final nail in the coffin. The cattle and sheep have been left to graze on nut hulls and bamboo sprigs! This man has 100% neglected these poor animals! Please, Carin, since you know so much, explain the ethics behind this rancher being witnessed feeding dead and dying lambs to his dogs! This is prior to the storm, so obviously there were issues awhile ago, so stop blaming it on the rain, give credit where credit is due! The problem with people, is livestock is viewed as dinner, and that’s it. Give these creatures some dignity!! There is a right and wrong way to farm, and this is wrong!

    Like

    • farmer Ted says:

      Livestock ARE dinner. that is the point of having them. they make money when you sell them (to be eaten). there is no market for thin sheep(as they have NO meat). therefore He couldn’t sell them as everyone suggests. He also has an obligation with Heritage ranch to have animals eat anything that can catch on fire around the lake. His sheep ate all of the grass and leaves and maybe were supposed to be moved sooner than later, that we don’t know. But where are the pictures of the sheep that were so terribly looked after BEFORE this HUGE storm? no one saw much wrong with them then.

      But he has thousands of sheep around the surrounding 3 or 4 counties, so staying on top of every single animal IS IMPOSSIBLE. plus, some of these animals are not old enough to have even seen the last green grass from 2 years ago. this is not the end of this drought, which has consumed agriculture 7 of the last 9 years. should everyone quit and stop farming? where will our food come from?

      Like

  23. Hello all!

    There were so many great comments coming so quickly that I wanted to respond in one large reply. Hope you don’t mind.

    First I want to say Thank You for taking the time to read and comment. There was little information on the side of the rancher in question that I felt compelled to speak from an educated POV. I’m part of a ranching family that has been here in SLO County since 1874.

    Second, I’d like you all to know that I approved all comments that were made on this blog entry. Although I don’t agree with all of you, I respect that we are Americans and therefore entitled to an opinion – or blog comments!

    Michele you have a great point that media often reports on stories that will get ratings – this one sure did!

    Deborah I’m wondering what type of sheep you raised? And how many? Was it similar to this flock of 5000? I understand from the further research I’ve done in the last 24 hours that the flock that was on the HR property numbered 700. I know that breeds differ greatly in conditioning and type. Cattle for instance go from Jersey cows for milk to Angus cattle for beef production. Lots of variations!

    Chris, I’m unsure who said the videos were fabricated but it certainly wasn’t me. The videos were heart wrenching and appeared real unlike some you can find on Youtube.

    Mike you mentioned something about the sheep being malnourished and Ahnnika mentioned something about the sheep being fed nut hulls. Actually, they were being fed nut hulls. If you research high protein feeds for sheep, cattle and other ruminants, you’ll see that almond hulls and cotton seed hulls are incredibly high quality feed and commonly used to supplement other feeds. This is actually an excellent feed source for sheep. I’d be happy to forward you some information if you’d like to message me your email address.

    Now back to Ahnnika. I’ll gladly discuss this topic and several others with you but you can’t call me things like “Chick”. You can call me ma’am, miss, rancher .. I have several other titles you may be interested in. I’ll gladly refer to you by ma’am or miss or Ahnnika or whatever you’d like but let’s keep this conversation respectful. This is the first I’ve heard of the deceased being fed to other animals. This is not a practice any rancher I know would employ. Regarding your comment that “we” view livestock as dinner, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. We view livestock as our livelihood and as part of our family. We nurture and care for them and in most ranching families, our animals are fed and cared for before our human family is.

    To all of you who commented supporting me, I can’t express my personal thanks. I love this industry and what we do so very much. I can’t begin to imagine the heartache this ranching family is going through. This is as close to as worst-case-scenario as it gets made even more horrific by a media mess that included half truths and so much speculation.

    Thank you again!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. DCinPaso says:

    After posting this on Facebook, I realized this might be a more appropriate channel: I am disheartened by this community’s willingness to frantically alert the press/each other as if that constitutes “doing something” and allows them to wash their hands of a situation they feel so strongly about from the comfort of their keyboards. Little in the world irritates me as much as the phrase/concept “someone should do something!” While I heard ONE (awesome!) story of someone actually taking hay to the flock, most of what I saw were people up in arms, demanding justice yet completely unwilling to take any positive action… donate, volunteer, etc. I also can’t help but think that some of this could be the “ugly” side of the oh-so-popular free-range ideal. I’ve seen it reported that this particular flock numbers 700+? Imagine the conditions/risks if 700 sheep were suddenly enclosed throughout this past storm… Imagine the reaction folks would have if lamb and wool prices did what they would if sheep were moved into spacious, sanitary barns each time it stormed… and let’s not even mention beef/leather prices along those lines… People are quick to be furious at mainstream agriculture, yet resistant to putting up the money required for farmers and ranchers to raise crops and livestocks the way they “demand.” While I don’t yet understand why the sheep were shorn before a storm, I do know (from raising livestock) that nursing females are naturally thin and when combined with a harsh climate, can quickly deteriorate. I don’t believe this could ONLY be the outcome of prolonged starvation/neglect, as so many are implying. There is much about this situation I don’t understand, some I never will… but this has been weighing on me all day and that’s the stream-of-conscious, excessive use of “quotes” conclusion to which I came. Thanks for giving me a new perspective on a video I couldn’t bring myself to watch all the way through and a place to share my thoughts on the topic. I’m grateful for your courageous voice in support of so many things I believe in.
    DC

    Like

  25. Ryan Adams says:

    Dear Jennifer and Adam,

    Wow, the ignorance and stupidity exhibited in the compilation of all of these videos in astonishing. How can a person with absolutely no experience in ranching, demonstrate such harsh and inept rationalizations of the situation at hand? Psychosis would be my first interpretation, however, unlike the person shooting this video, I will not be so quick to judge. Instead, I will grant you the benefit of the doubt, and simply defer to mental retardation as an excuse. Simply put, as it appears you lack the necessary mental facilities to accommodate my notations, I will interpret my feeling in a simple form of speech: You’re and idiot. Have you any experience in an agricultural field? You, without haste, quickly lay judgement and diagnosis without any reasonable understanding of the totality of the circumstances. It would be no different than you walking into a South American Village, noticing persons malnourished and laying to waste, and proclaiming inhumane treatment was to fault, when in essence, unforetold to you, and epidemic such as Ebola, Cholera, or any number of circumstances inflicted by mother nature were to blame.

    I have no dog in this fight. I neither know the owner of the heard, you, or have any affiliation with Heritage Ranch. But through watching all 10 videos, it appeared obvious to me, that you certainly have some form of grudge against Heritage Ranch, and you are over-dramatizing this incident as leverage to fulfill some personal agenda against that community. It doesn’t take more than an ounce of perception to understand this. While I’m no attorney, my god-given ability for rationalization would suggest that your community has no fault in this matter. I appreciate your compassion for animals, do not get me wrong. But the pain and anguish that you will most likely cause to the owner of this heard, because of circumstances you do not understand, is unmeasurable. All I can hope is that Karma does exist, and eventually it will come full circle. Until then, modern medicine has made some amazing accomplishments in regards to chemical imbalances. Please seek help.

    Like

    • Kay says:

      Unbelievable! Ms. Ryan is deleting someone from her blog for name calling, and yet is allowing yours to remain? You know nothing about this couple’s background, ranch experience or anything else for that matter about how the events unfolded. The facts speak for themselves. Regardless of why the animals were dying ( we can all form our own conclusions based on the evidence), the fact remains that LIVING creatures were shown in agony as these ranch hands threw them one on top of the other. Whether or not they were sick, which I think is doubtful, there are laws in our state that need to be adhered to in regards to the treatment of animals, and how to properly transport such animals. The ranch hands violated these codes and deserve to be held accountable.

      Like

      • For the record: I threatened to delete her after I warned her. She then deleted her own comments which I have no control over. I won’t tiller are anyone else’s name calling (Ryan!) and hope that we can continue having and educated and respectful discussion.

        Like

  26. Sandra Shearer says:

    Maybe it is you who should learn the truth before you throw accusations around! This man who found the sheep found the Shepard’s trailer. He would not come out of it. Maybe he does not speak English? But since it is his job to tend the sheep I would think he would at least make an effort to see what this man was trying to tell him. He also called the owner he was told not to touch the sheep. He also called Heritage Security who after two hours if watching these sheep in distress he was told thy could not find the area he was talking about!! Then he called the Sheriffs dept. all he wanted to do was to help these poor animals. The Sheriff’s Dept. Own export who watched the videos said the sheep were too thin and in severe distress. This did not happen because of two days of rain. They had no food and no water. At the very least water shod have been provided for these animals. I know no rancher that would let his animals die a painful and slow death like that if they could help it. They were not stuck In a frozen blizzard of 20below. They were in an overgrazed area with no water for an extended period of time. I suggest you learn your facts before you accuse!!

    Like

    • DCinPaso says:

      I don’t know this man, nor do I live near Heritage Ranch… but I’ve been following this story pretty closely, secondhand. As I understand it, there were several hundred sheep in this flock. If, indeed, there was NO food and NO water it would seem a few more than 25 or so would have been in this condition. Remember, these are grazing animals- just because no food or water was seen in the immediate vicinity doesn’t mean they didn’t have access to it. Supplemented livestock will quickly eat what they are fed, then continue to graze & wander throughout the day. Perhaps these two dozen (out of HUNDREDS) were the weakest or oldest of the bunch and unable to endure the storm? Perhaps they got separated? Perhaps a predator pursued these ewes to the point of exhaustion? A person doesn’t fly under the radar of public scrutiny while running thousands of head of sheep throughout the county for almost half a century by being neglectful and abusive. Has anyone come forward with stories of witnessing anything similar in years past? If his intent was to “save a buck” by starving his flock, surely it would make financial sense to starve a few more than the small percentage found in this condition. This situation was tragic and undoubtedly, in hindsight, many people wish they had handled things differently. But to hastily make this life-long rancher out to be a monster based on inexperienced speculation, rather than to at least consider the possibility this was largely the result of unfortunate circumstances, is cruel.

      Like

  27. Elvis Presley says:

    I’m sorry, I had exceptional difficulty comprehending exactly what you were trying to convey. Please try again after you pass the 7th grade. Thank you.

    Like

  28. Kay says:

    You really have no idea what you are talking about. It was only after seeking help from the sheriff, security at HR, and multiple organizations such as animal control, was a video posted in the hopes someone would then take it seriously. These people witnessed a grotesque act of animal cruelty and I’m sure are haunted by what they saw. Does anybody even care about where the sheep are now?

    Like

  29. w says:

    Looking at videos and hearing details sounds like a bad case of tannic acid poisoning, had a flock taken out before due to not enough feed on the ground n water..make them foam n bleed.. almost like giving rat decon….they get it from eating oak leaves..

    Liked by 1 person

    • mike says:

      I just wanted to post a first hand account from someone that was there first hand that knows the conditions and how things played out and yes it is the person that did the video
      and it answers my question very well neglect

      the vultures are there today feeding on the dead sheep carcusses he hasn’t cleaned up in our waterway? They were all accounted for? The man took four hours to show up after I had the main gate call him multiple times and yes I was mad that Heritage would not send Security to attend this situation. They have the lapel cams they could have gotten the same footage instead and handled the situation, I was left to take care of dozens of animals in extreme pain. The shepard would not come out of his RV where he was cozy and warm he was nto out tending the flock! It should have been their responsibilty to make sure the animals got immediate attention to end their suffering. With the amout of ATV’s theyhad the equipment go out in the storm and take care of your animals!

      #2 Their is shelter at the equistrain center and pig turd alley and the residents would have helped if he needed it with food and water. Witnesses have stated they noticed how thin the sheep already were and feel awful they did not do more. THATS BEFORE THE STORM!!!!!! The equistrian could have helped in this situation. Instead he sheered them three days ahead of storm and stole their wool coats and Im sorry one word WEATHER CHANEL! That storm was broadcast and I was on alert a week and a half before it came. A Rancher had more obligation to watch for weather with the number of sheep he has 6K. If their is not adequate shelter he had time to move them to another location. He brought his sheep in a community with children and familys and their have been multiple complaints on this Ranch even letting him back on the Ranch when the property is already overgrazed from his stock. Interesting choice to hide them without shelter on the backside of the Ranch. By the way there is not grass ther either! The concave along the spine and ribs showing is telling. Words from our Vet and Animal Biology Grad from Cal Poly said there condition were shocking. I believe they know probably more than you on the subject. What level of scholling do you have? Do you even have a high school diploma?

      #3 We have no grass here he has already taken every speck we had last year so why bring them back without grass to graze and why before spring. There is no fire danger a week before a big storm and no food for his sheep. Pay for the hay with the money he gets from the government, my tax dollars and the wool off the sheeps backs. Sheep are traditionally sheared at the end of April? So that a real interesting choice he made for his already distressed flock. If you own animals it is your job to feed them in time of drought.

      Show less

      Like

      • w says:

        Maybe in end it is what it is… but sir the way you handle it by video and media has hurt innocent ranchers… i have received a dozen calls and i have done no wrong. It is time to sheer my sheep ( and heat wise on central coast best sheer them now so wool is back and light by summer) my ewes will be skinny for it is their trait in that breed when taking the babies away .and i feed them not only hay but grain and barley, my feed bill this year is beyond belief due to no rains, now animal reg, PETA and others r involved i am sure i will have to pay more due to new regs will be added.you could of just reported it,and did paper work. Videos was not needed for now or your name to be knowledge for reporting it… we are all judged as ranchers and i still believe tannic acid poison hit before storm…no food and water they go and eat the oak leafs, sad thing if it is then everyone with live stock are in trouble when they start eating those oaks, but hey what do i know im just a cal poly grad, where are you from sir and your degree to declair all?..State will deal with it and i feel they need to put a gag order on it before people get sued by innocent ranchers which this will hit and hurt more. Those animals suffer enough the rest of us dont need to .But again im sure you been told where to stick your cellphone up come again..Let it rest law will take care of it, hero’s save you did not ..you just started a war. Not all ranchers stick together but we do not like trans plants, making things worse.If this man is in the wrong so be it he will pay for it… till then you need to shut it and the rest . Its not going to bring the animals back. Also when a sheep is that sick, they wont eat, you have to tube them to get pro biotic’s in their system and fluids ,but your vet told you that right….just so you know next time you hike and find a sick sheep it works better then a cellphone video just saying, thanks for alert but how you went about it buddy is all wrong

        Liked by 2 people

  30. Cowgirl says:

    Thank you for this page Carin ! Bless you…Coming from a family cattle back ground, I can relate, I know the daughter in law (family) very nice family,don’t judge. Don’t hate. I can imagine it was a devastating scene to come onto, very disturbing if you have never seen farm animals die, but accusations of what happened to “range” animals should not be concluded until someone that knows Ag-animal husbandry gives us a answer.. these are open range sheep “not” our pets.. sadly sometimes Mother Nature is ugly..and if the Shepherd is wrong then you can be the one to convict, All I know is we have lost our Wooly friends and now our fire protection probably forever, if your house burns down are you going to video it or help put it out ?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. As mentioned in my blog and the op ed published yesterday, I had no permission from the family to make my comments. I have not had contact with them. I understand the Sherrif’s Department is conducting a thorough investigation and that the family is cooperating. I’m sure the SO can help you with your questions.

    Like

  32. Eric says:

    I know the family and the rancher personally. He is a caring, generous and well respected man. He has been out to our place at least three times over the tears to help my daughter with her 4H lambing projects and has advised by phone many times as well. He never asks for anything in return. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as this mess gets sorted out.

    Like

  33. Steven Sweet says:

    I’m sorry Carin. While I attempted at best to throttle my response, an overwhelming passion for the situation at hand might have spawned a few inappropriate remarks. While seemingly inappropriate, they paled in comparison to the remarks embedded in the videos that were posted. Yes, I know. I should endeavor to exceed and rise above the benchmark established by those whom have offended me, but I had a lapse, a moment of weakness. It will not happen again. BTW, thank you for tackling a difficult topic. Steven Sweet (Aka Ryan Adams)

    Like

  34. Bree says:

    I personally know JB, and he has come to my house many times in the middle of the night to save the lives of newborn lambs and to put those suffering out of their misery. He is a good man who is truly passionate about his flock and will do whatever he can to make sure they stay safe and healthy. The lady who took those videos probably scared the crap out of those poor sheep; I hand raise most of my lambs so they’re used to people and they still freak out when someone yells or chases after them. I’m honestly surprised she even knew they were sheep and not goats or llamas.

    Like

    • Kay says:

      I read that the woman who shot the video worked on ranches her whole line and comes from a family if farmers. That’s not even the issue. To try to place blame on her ifir the condition if those animals unacceptable and absurd. You are overlooking the facts:1. Sheep were brought to graze barren land 2. They were shorn. 2 days before a storm and not provided any shelter or any other means to stay warm 3. The live animals were thrown into piles once found. You blame the woman who shot the video for this?

      Perhaps Mr J is usually kind and compassionate. He was NOT in this case. Dragging living animals with their heads scraping the ground is not kind. Throwing them into piles with dead, rotting animals is far from kind. Have you watched the second video? The actions of this man are horrid are against the law. Period.

      Like

  35. iloveallliveingthings says:

    Ryan you don’t even know what you are talking about I would like you to have no close and be sick with no food too eat for days. then have your feet and hands tide up and have dead thinks put on you but you have not died yet

    Like

  36. Pingback: Things aren’t always what they seem. | Ramblings of a Ryan Girl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s