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Friday Update: Happy Hollow Road Cows Await Their Big Mooo-ve

Thursday, June 12, 2014
The transfer of Royalton's impounded Happy Hollow Road cows has been delayed — for now.

The parties involved in the dispute said the paperwork has been signed, but the pickup of the four animals — who were fenced in by a neighbor after they had damaged his property for years — has been rescheduled for Saturday afternoon.

It all started Wednesday, when an editor answered the phone and I heard him say, "Now, is this a dispute with a cow, or a dispute over a cow?"

Thus began the reporting process for today's article, which tells the story of Deerhaven Lane resident Keith Hirtle impounding the cows on his property in September, making use of a 1940s state law. He and several neighbors said the cows, which belong to farmer Jim McCleery, were part of a 15-head herd that escaped repeatedly.

The law allows the impounder to charge a fee for the animals' return, but the two men disagreed on how much should be paid.

Today, they said, they signed a $1,100 settlement to cover Hirtle’s expenses for overseeing the animals and hiring a lawyer. Hirtle said the number was too low, and McCleery said it was too high. McCleery has arranged to send the cows to another farm, and the agreement stipulated they should be taken away this afternoon.

However, Police Chief Bob Hull, who has been keeping an eye on the case, said nobody had the proper railing to herdthe animals onto a truck, so the truck driver refused to show up.

The pick-up has been rescheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday. McCleery said he is working on getting the proper railing for a small corral by that time. Want to find out how it goes? Read more in an upcoming edition of the Valley News.

■Posted to the Upper Valley Dispatch blog Friday at 6:15 p.m. Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com.



UPDATE: As of Tuesday, Nov. 5, the cows are still in Keith Hirtle's yard.




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