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Dudley's Story, continued...

Officer Perea jumped all over the case. Right after he left the McCoy's he called Marcie. She and her husband, Dave, agreed to participate in a raid. Perea also persuaded the Livestock Board to finally help.

Usually the Torrance County Sheriff's office hates to get involved in livestock disputes. The Estancia valley is notorious for livestock deals that come to grief. Say Joe gives Jim 100 bales of alfalfa as payment for training Joe's horse. Jim's steers eat the bales. Joe's horse is as ornery as ever. Joe asks the sheriff to get him the bales back. The sheriff decides to stay out of the dispute. The problem, says Grist, is that people in these disputes never seem to have a written contract.

It's another thing, however, when people swap horses around from one person's pasture to another. It's darn common. During the wet summer of 1991, Dave Jenson sent a draft mare to the Wulfekuhles to help mow the weeds on one of their pastures. When Al Miller ran out of a place for his colt, a friend at church took it in. I let the Wulfekuhles leave their horses at our place during their vacation. Every one of us gave the horses back, just like that. It's just the way neighbors help each other around here.

That's why Perea agreed that letting a friend borrow a horse without a written agreement should not mean you lose the horse.

Perea moved fast. Just two days later, on Halloween afternoon, Marcie and her husband Dave, two livestock board officers, Perea and another Torrance County sheriff's deputy joined in a raid on the McCoy ranch. All officers wore bulletproof vests and carried guns.

Christine was nowhere to be seen. Dudley was still there. They loaded him into the Dark's stock trailer.

As the sun neared the horizon, Dave and Marcie drove up to our place with Dudley. They had decided to let us keep him for awhile, see if Debbie and the girls and I could figure out how to get him to behave. The next few weeks, I figured, could get interesting.

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Next Chapter: Al Goes Missing Again --->>

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© 2004 Carolyn M. Bertin. All rights reserved.