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Probe: Jan. 30, 2002

January 30, 2002

QUESTION: No matter how pitiful you paint the Niland goat farmer, you can't get away from the fact he abandoned his animals. That's unforgivable! — Animal Lover, Calipatria

What we find unforgivable is for people to team up on a man struggling against a stacked deck to survive on a half-acre of desert land. He was raising goats to rent out to clear brush to augment his disability check.

Besides, it's not at all clear that he "abandoned" his animals.

Deputy John Higgins, an investigator with the Imperial County Sheriff's Office, said Ruben Carrillo, the goat farmer, claims he hired a man to take care of the animals when he went to New Mexico to look at property.

Higgins said further that Carrillo left plenty of feed and a working pump that automatically pumped water to the livestock, until somebody stole the pump.

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Niland Fire Chief Mike Alexsick said when he watered the animals he found a pump on the ground. He repaired the pump and hooked it up, but that pump, too, was subsequently stolen.

So what we have left is a man who went to New Mexico and when he came back, his animals (about 60 goats, a llama, two horses and poultry) had been stashed with a neighbor who refused to give them back.

The two horses, which Carrillo says he bought in Mexico for a total of $1,400, are still missing. So is his stock trailer.

Higgins said the county Animal Control Officer Frank Dyson did not give the animals to the neighbor.

"I also told him (the neighbor), ‘When Ruben comes back, you have to give the animals back,'" Higgins said.

We're still trying to find out if there was a warrant to seize the animals that were property or if they were seized under some emergency procedure.

The U.S. Constitution is clear in its assertion that a U.S. citizen may not be deprived of property without due process. You can look it up. It's in the 14th Amendment.

QUESTION: There's a big family that's been living in a mobile home without electricity for a week because the Imperial Irrigation District won't connect the power up until the county inspector checks the installation and signs off on it.

The contractor who did the work notified the county it was finished but when the family came home, there was a note to call the "re-inspection office." When the family called the number, a recording said it had been disconnected. What's going on? — Helpful Friend, Holtville

Your friends got an old form. The number is still good if you substitute 482 for the 339 prefix. Virtually all county offices within walking distance of the courthouse now have the 482 prefix.

County Assistant Planning Director Gerald Gardner promised Tuesday to call the family and get the power issue resolved. We hope so because January is no time to be without electricity.

A MEMORIAL ACCOUNT — If you want to donate money to give Jesus Vidaurrazaga a funeral and burial in Evergreen Cemetery, an account has been set up at Valley Independent Bank for his benefit.

Jesus said he wanted to be an organ donor to help other children if he died. The Meadows Union fifth-grader died Saturday of a cerebral hemorrhage. His parents, Agustin and Rosalba Becerra, donated his organs. They have two younger children and need help with the funeral expenses.

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