CANYON CITY – The Grant County Sheriff’s Office is organizing efforts to get feed to 38 cows stranded in Flag Prairie, in the remote southeastern corner of Grant County.

    Sheriff Glenn Palmer on Thursday urged ranchers or others concerned about the animals not to try to remove them from their current location.

    “Sheriff’s Office personnel are working with veterinary services,” he said. “Feed and nutrients are being provided. Added stress to these animals right now may be the difference in their survival for some of them.”

    The cattle are on private property in an area surrounded by Malheur National Forest lands. Palmer said his personnel have been working with the landowner and cattle owner this week to get hay and mineral supplement delivered to the cows by snowmobile and sleds “on a regular basis,” he said.

    Palmer’s office got involved after getting a complaint from the U.S. Forest Service, stemming from the discovery of two dead cows near Flag Prairie. The cause of death couldn’t be determined due to subsequent predation.

    Palmer said officials found 38 cows on private land, with several in poor condition. There also are eight horses, but they are in good shape.

    Palmer said he’s been working with the Forest Service on a plan to permit a snowplow in to access the area if weather conditions worsen and the livestock need to be hauled out. That’s not needed yet, he said.

    “Conditions have improved with recent snowmelt and access to forage has made for conditions that would mirror grazing opportunities in the John Day Valley,” he said.

    In the meantime, officials are working with the owners to monitor the animals’ health, he said.

    Palmer acknowledged that the situation has sparked concern among ranchers and others in the community, but he asked them not to interfere with plans that have been put in place to aid the animals.

    “We ask for people to respect the private property and allow us to work through this situation,” he said.

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