Environmental activists set to face trial for livestock endangerment
A couple from Durango, CO will face trial in 2018 for charges related to livestock endangerment.
Rose Chilcoat and her husband, Mark Kevin Franklin, were bound over for trial at a preliminary hearing on November 2 in the Seventh District Court.
Chilcoat has a January 31, 2018 jury trial date, while Franklin will face charges before a jury on February 1.
They are accused of intentionally cutting off access to water for a herd of cattle on April 1, 2017 on Lime Ridge, between Bluff and Mexican Hat.
A wired-open gate to a corral was shut, restricting access to water for the cattle. The incident occurred on a section of state trust land leased from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA).
Chilcoat will face charges of felony attempted wanton destruction of livestock, felony retaliation against a witness, and trespassing on trust lands. A charge of providing false information to an officer was dismissed.
Franklin is charged with felony attempted wanton destruction of livestock, and trespassing on trust lands.
Rose Chilcoat recently retired as an Associate Director of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, an environmental group that has been very active about public land issues in San Juan County.
Under the direction of Chilcoat, the Great Old Broads were active in challenging livestock grazing permits in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, which is adjacent to San Juan County in the southwest corner of Colorado.
The last several years have been marked by a number of incidents of “mischief” in San Juan County, with parties on all sides blaming others for the acts.
Local cattlemen and residents have complained about gates being left open and apparent acts of vandalism, such as draining water troughs.
Threatening or false signs and posters have been posted at trailheads and at community gathering spots.
Several years ago, the Great Old Broads complained that one of their campsites in San Juan County had been vandalized and the gate locked with the campers inside.
Until this case, no charges related to incidents such as this have been filed.
A website created to raise funds for the defense of Chilcoat and Franklin has raised nearly $28,000.
The website claims that the charges are unfounded and politically motivated.