A woman's death as a result of a vehicle collision with a stray steer resulted in manslaughter charges being filed in December against the steer's owner. But, ranchers worried about the validity of open range laws and stray animal liability need to view this case in its proper context, says Cache County, UT, prosecutor, Scott Wyatt.
Authorities say Darrell Kunzler, 69, habitually let his cattle run loose with blatant disregard for their containment. The arrest warrant alleges Kunzler has demonstrated a 30-year pattern of failing to properly contain his livestock, despite repeated requests by law enforcement. The warrant cites 31 police reports from the last four years regarding Kunzler's stray cattle, including five collisions involving his cows that wandered onto nearby highways.
Kunzler is charged with one count of criminal homicide-manslaughter in the death of Kimberly Johnson of Auburn, WA. The 40-year-old mother of six was killed Nov. 27. Kunzler faces other misdemeanor charges as well.