Neglected Cattle Costs Tax Payers
THREE FORKS - The Gallatin County Undersheriff said it costs tax payers about $500 a day to take care of the more than one-hundred cattle that sheriffs seized earlier this week in a suspected case of neglect.
The animals are staying at the Headwaters stockyard in Three Forks.
"This could be a significant cost to the county of course, but we do have ways of reserve funds and those type of things that are available to us," said Undersheriff Dan Springer, Gallatin County.
Gallatin County Undersheriff, Dan Springer said it costs about $3,500 a week to take care of the cattle.
"It's $3 for a female cow, $2.50 for a calf and around $4.50 for a bull," said Springer.
"We have special investigative funds that are set aside for special cases like this that end up costing us more than a standard case," said Springer.
Springer said right now the cattle is the county's responsibility.
"That money is for them to house them, feed them and manage them," said Springer. "It's essentially a lot fee."
Kelsey Baver with Sorenson Veterinary Hospital in Belgrade has been taking care of the cattle since they were given to the stockyard.
"They're in critical condition, so we don't want to be moving them too quickly," said Baver. "We're feeding them in separate places and giving them extra nutrition."
Springer said a number of factors need to be considered before the county can move the animals.
"There's the veterinary care, vaccination, tagging and marketing of these cows," said Springer.
A meeting is scheduled on Friday with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, County Attorney and the Department of Livestock to discuss the next steps.
The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office is still accepting donations for hay. Funds have been set up at American Federal Savings Bank under the Sheriff's Cattle Fund. You can also bring hay directly to the stockyard.
Spectators Bar and Grill in Bozeman is hosting a fundraiser to help out. It's called "Eat a cow, Save a cow." For every burger that is purchased, 25-cents will go toward giving hay to the cows.
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Gardiner Schools Loses Millions Of District Funding
For nearly 40 years the Gardiner School district has been receiving thousands of dollars of funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior and now due to an overlook that funding has stopped.
"The claim is there is a current outstanding debt from anywhere from 7 to 10 million dollars that either has to be paid back or forgiven," said JT Stroder, Gardiner Schools Superintendent.
The money was given to the school district as part of a federal law passed in 1948 that helped provide education to children living on untaxed federal land in the Yellowstone National Park.
The law changed in 1977 and that's when payments were supposed to stop. Since then, the school district has been receiving $500,000 per year broken into two payments of $400,000 in November and $100,000 in the summer.
Gardiner Schools Superintendent, JT Stroder said that funding accounted for 20% of the schools annual budget.
"I think there could of been more done to ensure that the level of service we've been providing those students was the same until this was resolved," said Stroder.
And now with it gone, he said some things could be cut from the district.
"Basketball is currently at stake," said Stroder. "Pretty much all district travel related to professional development is canceled, most field trips are canceled and we're considering track. We haven't made a decision yet, but right now everything is on the table."
Julie Rehmer is a parent of 12-year-old that is expected to start track this spring.
"He's looking forward to track and other sports. I would just be very devastated and he would be too if the program gets cut," said Rehmer.
Students told ABC/FOX Montana they are bummed that their sports might be cut.
"It would be awful because tract is really what I look forward to at the end of the school year," said Zac Macy, student.
"It would be terrible if it was cut because track is really important to me," said Emma Burke, student.
The West Yellowstone school district is also affected by the cutting of these funds. The Montana delegation is trying to negotiate with the Department of the Interior to find a solution that could possibly include debt forgiveness.
MSU Student Reacts To Accused Rapist Escape
Montana State University personnel confirm Briggs was a student at the intuition.
"Kevin is facing serious allegations both criminally and at the institution," said Matt Caires, MSU Dean of Students.
Kevin Briggs enrolled at MSU in the fall of 2010. He was studying engineering and was a member of the honors college.
Julia Goldberg was in several classes with Briggs. She was shocked when she heard he escaped from the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center on Saturday and had a previous criminal record that includes convictions of rape.
"I was really freaked out that somebody I saw almost every day was capable of doing something that like," said Goldberg.
Goldberg said she never spoke to Briggs, but remembers what he was like in class.
"He would sit in the front row and ask very direct questions all the time. He would always seem to get very aggressive, so some of the teachers didn't really him," said Goldberg.
Every student who applies to MSU has to answer yes or no to a series of questions about their criminal background including if they have ever been convicted of a felony.
"We reserve the right to deny an individual enrollment based on their criminal background if it becomes clear to us that they preserve a threat to our community," said Caires.
If they respond yes, they must provide additional information on the crime.
Then, a committee will review the crime and make a recommendation to the Dean of Students and the Dean of Students will approve or deny the applicant's admission.
"We look at the nature of the crime," said Caires. "We look at how long they went to jail for. We also look at how long it's been since they have been incarcerated and if they had any treatment while they were incarcerated or beyond."
Caires was not the Dean of Students when Briggs was accepted to MSU, but said the university does its best to make sure the environment of the campus is safe for all employees and students.
"At time bad things happen, but we do everything we can to prevent that," said Caires. "There is no way that we can guarantee that bad things won't occur."
Bozeman Police tells ABC/FOX Montana the department's entire detective division is following up on all leads both in Gallatin County, across the state and outside the state.
If you have information of Briggs whereabouts, please call local law enforcement immediately.