Rounding up the owner of lost livestock gets easier

By Doug Nick / ADOT Communications

LivestockIt’s not often that the subject of livestock comes up here at the ol’ ADOT Ranch. In fact, the ol’ ADOT Ranch is really more of an office building, but let’s not ruin the magic, okay? 

Be that as it may, the issue of cattle, sheep and other animal forms in nature’s wonderama has actually been the subject of some attention among us “ranchers,” and well, the real ranchers who are so vital to making Arizona great.  

If you’ve ever driven one of the many rural highways we have in our state you may have noticed the fencing located a few feet on either side of  the road. That’s pretty important stuff because it helps to keep critters off the roadway. As you can imagine, that’s a good thing since livestock and vehicles definitely do not mix.

Cattle and other animals have a serious disadvantage inasmuch as they cannot read, therefore can’t get a driver license and do not understand that a road is no place for them to be. Hence when they manage to get on a road because a fence is broken, a gate is left open or there was a suspiciously well-organized cattle escape plan, that’s trouble for everyone.

One kind of trouble is, who to call to round up the miscreant livestock? There are lots of ranchers and landowners in our very big and sometimes wide-open state and this has meant a lot of delays figuring out who owns what and where. Meanwhile the cattle, and perhaps even buffalo, roam. 

What to do? Well, Traffic Operations Dispatch Supervisor Vince Irwin, hatched a plan. He conducted research with various state, county and private entities and compiled a comprehensive resource list of about 100 ranchers and their contact information and areas of responsibility and ownership. He also noted their unique brand identifiers and gate access codes. 

Now, when our team hears about a problem, they can get hold of people much more quickly and get things back in order. 

That will never solve the inherent problem of livestock hitting the road, so to speak, but it will make getting them back where they belong much simpler and faster. That will help keep those critters and, most importantly, motorists like you, much safer.