We live on a very busy road in a small town. Soon, our activity attracted a lot of attention, both good and bad. On the good side, we would often have passersby stop in to offer their congratulations on making the place look better, and others were simply curious about the hogs and wanted to know more about the pig tractors. On the other hand, we would sometimes receive a visit from a furious but well indoctrinated grocery store shopper – completely aghast that we would have the audacity to raise hogs in pens with dirt (this is really true, folks – I am not kidding). One lady actually asked me if we were giving the hogs any water to drink; to which I replied “What? You have to water them?” as I tossed my cowboy hat on the ground, kicked the dust, and said “That’s why them darn things ain't growin’.” I then smiled, apologized for my sarcasm, and asked the concerned citizen to come aboard our little ranch for a half-hour educational tour, which eventually resulted in another dedicated customer; it was a great investment of my time.
Soon, the complaints began to roll in to the local animal control facility in Placerville, after which the most ridiculous parade of embroidered green shirts (sporting the latest model diesel Ford dully trucks at taxpayer expense) began paying us visits. I was truly astonished at their complete ignorance of both our rights and their authority. They actually asked me to move the hogs to a different location so they wouldn’t have to come out so often (it is a statutory requirement that they address each complaint directly, something that is obviously very time consuming), to which I replied that it was a free country and I would be adding more hog tractors as soon as I could! One lady, in the discharge of her official duties, actually threatened me because I wouldn’t kowtow to her ridiculous demands to move our animals (on our own private property). I think she is a closet PETA member.
With each visit by the Animal Control folks we would ask, “Is there any violation of the law here?” to which they would always reply, “No,” and I would then ask them to leave (you can hear me asking this repeatedly in the attached video). After about the third visit we carefully documented everything and soon launched a detailed letter to the County Board of Supervisors demanding that the harassment stop or a citation be written so we could have our day in court and be heard by a higher authority.
To our surprise, we soon received a call asking for an appointment for the Chief Animal Control Officer to come see us at the Ranch. I gladly replied yes, and told my son to have his video recorder ready. I intended to have a clear taping of another useless visit. This time, they did their homework. He actually Googled the industry standards for industrial, confined, antibiotic-ridden, e-coli laced hog operations (he was even nice enough to print it off for me using taxpayer dollars), and if that wasn’t enough, when I asked him if this document was “law,” he said, “No, but it's good advice”--leaving me with the conclusion that a wise use of taxpayer dollars in El Dorado county is to have the animal control officer make calls to seasoned ranchers and farmers in order to give advice!
So, with what purpose were these visits made? I am not sure.
- I actually asked for a citation to be written and was declined – a court date would be better than regular harassment.
- I asked if we were in complete compliance with the law, to which he replied “Yes, at this time.”
- I asked if he had a guide for free-range hogs, rather than a confined, industrial hog operation, that he could print in full color and personally deliver to my house – he said he would look into that.
With no clear objective for the visit (number four, I might add) I will allow you, the viewer and consumer to draw your own conclusions…and so, without further ado, please enjoy the attached video titled El Dorado Animal Control Visits SonRise Ranch.