Warrant in bison slaying names Texas man
FAIRPLAY, Colorado (AP) ” An arrest warrant issued Thursday accuses a Texas man of animal cruelty and theft in the slaughter of 32 bison on a Colorado ranch in March.
The warrant names Jeffrey Scott Hawn of Austin, who controls the ranch where the bison were shot.
An Austin listing for Hawn repeatedly rang busy Thursday and his attorney did not immediately return a telephone message.
The bison were found in late March strewn across hundreds of snow-covered acres about 85 miles southwest of Denver.
Sheriff Fred Wegener has said they had wandered off the ranch of their owners, Monte and Tracy Downare.
Hawn had filed a lawsuit a few days earlier saying the Downares’ bison had been stampeding onto his property and damaging or destroying trees, fences and a satellite dish.
Steve Csajaghy (shy-AW’-ghee), Hawn’s Denver lawyer, has said his client had no choice but to get rid of them.
“He had to protect himself at that point,” Csajaghy said in March.
Monte Downare filed suit a month after the bison were found claiming 14 hunters were hired to kill them. The lawsuit claims “outrageous conduct” that caused emotional distress.
Wegener has said deputies questioned about a dozen hunters who claimed they had permission to shoot the bison. Their names haven’t been released and Wegener hasn’t said whether they will face charges.
Bison are considered a domesticated species in Colorado and are not covered by hunting and wildlife laws.
Hunts are allowed on private ranches, and Downare has advertised organized bison hunting on his ranch in the past.
Hawn is a 50 percent shareholder in a company that owns ranch land in Park County, but it’s unclear whether that company owns the ranch where the bison were found or Hawn himself does.
Hawn faces 32 counts of animal cruelty and one count each of theft and criminal mischief.
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