BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – A plea from a rural Lee County woman Tuesday morning created a clearer picture for the supervisors that something needs to be done about wandering livestock.
At the Lee County Board of Supervisors’ regular meeting Tuesday, Rebecca Schau, of Franklin Township asked Supervisors what could be done about horses that had been taking out some of her fencing and are becoming a menace on her property.
“It’s been an ongoing issue for about two years and here in the last week we’ve called the sheriff’s office – myself and my neighbors – five to seven times,” Schau said.
“They’re running down the roads going through our fences, through our yards, and have let our livestock out at our house. Somebody’s going to get seriously hurt. We have large hills out on our gravel and you come over the top of them and there are six of them standing there.”
She said she’s visited with Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber about the issue. Weber said he’s already been working with the county.
“It is the same owner of horses that we dealt with when Sheriff Scholl was in charge,” Weber said. “It’s a prime example of why I’ve been visiting with the county attorney’s office in regards to a livestock ordinance in the county.”
Weber said he’s been apprehensive to bring the issue to the board because of the recent negativity around the parking ordinance discussion.
“Miss Schau is absolutely correct, it’s extremely dangerous.”
Schau said she went out to check on why her dogs were barking and stepped around the home and was almost hit by the horses in her yard.
Board Chairman Gary Folluo told Schau the first place to start would be with the Franklin Township Board because it has to do with property fences and township trustees have authority there.
Supervisor Rich Harlow asked a hypothetical about the horses being on her property and she feels threatened. He compared to the issue to a recent issue in Des Moines County where a deputy sheriff shot a dog that was on another person’s property.
“You’re fearing for your life and your well-being so you shoot and kill one of these horses on your property, Then the sheriff gets called he comes out and he finds the dead horse on your property. What are you gonna do?”
Weber said he hopes that things don’t come to that. He said there’s a whole lot to the issue that he’s trying to work through.
Schau said she would never shoot the horses.
“We never would. We’re just reaching out because I have teenage boys that are driving as well. Even myself wouldn’t be real experienced coming over a hill and seeing six horses in the middle of the road. Someone’s going to get hurt,” she said.
Supervisor Ron Fedler said if the horses were being well-fed and well-cared for there would be no need for them to be wandering.
Weber said deputies that have responded to the calls said the horses are in good condition, but it’s a large wooded area and they are wandering after getting out of fencing.
Folluo directed her to the Township Board, but Weber said the sheriff’s department is already involved in that process. Folluo asked Weber to keep the board apprised of the progress “if any”.
“Oh…there’s gonna be progress,” Weber said.
In other action, the board:
• approved the abatement of taxes in the amount of $6,427 in the 900 block of 15th Street in Fort Madison, as well as the sale of the property to the city of Fort Madison.
• awarded a bid to harvest hay from property adjacent to the Lee County Correctional Center to John DeSanto for $250 annually.
• voted to abate taxes on three properties in Keokuk at 601 Blondeau, 625 Main St., and 629 Main St. at a total value of $4,200.