To the editor:
I read Ms. Lutje’s letter Thursday and came away with grave concerns about her apparent ability to shrug off the concerns of area ranchers about wolf attacks. Not only did she question why the attack on a Sherman County rancher family’s cow was front page news, she sarcastically suggested that Maupin rancher Keith Nantz and others “help them practice some of the cowboy self-reliance.”
Ms. Lutje seems unaware that the previous day seven sheep were killed in a flagged fence enclosure that allegedly deters wolf attacks. Only two sheep were partially eaten. Owners of the sheep spent the money and time trying to protect their investment. This killing event occurred one mile from the attack on the Sherman County rancher’s cow.
I predict that Ms. Lutje will be an obstructionist on the Wasco County Wolf Compensation Committee that she has, unfortunately, been appointed to serve on. Her disregard for the plight of ranchers, who are the only ones with their livelihood on the line when it comes to the wolf plan, is appalling.
I have lived in The Dalles for more than 30 years and spent a majority of my career with the Oregon State Police as a fish and game officer. I got to know many ranchers during my employment and am now honored to call them friends.
Ranchers have a different culture and if Ms. Lutje, a licensed massage therapist, would get out of town to meet them, she might understand that “self-reliance” is their way of life. They fight to keep going despite an increasingly heavy burden of regulations, most imposed by liberals who have little or nothing to do with the land and seem to care less about harm done to the small minority of people producing the nation’s food supply.
In case you didn’t know Ms. Lutje, the economic engine of this county is agriculture. How prosperous would businesses like yours in The Dalles be without the millions of dollars our ranchers and farmers generate?
Maybe you should chew that over before taking another bite out of Mr. Nantz or Ms. Raelynn Ricarte, who is trying to educate us about the issues that are driving small producers out of business. I applaud The Chronicle for taking an in-depth look at these challenges and hope that people who think like Ms. Lutje will have their eyes opened.