Mesa County Ranch on Hold while State Tests for Pseudorabies in Animals

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

A ranch that's been open to families for hunting in Mesa County for 40 years can't do business right now because psuedorabies was found in some of its pigs. Operations are on hold while state veterinarians test their animals.

The Little Creek Ranch in Collbran is facing not only business troubles but an investigation by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Department of Agriculture.

It all started when the DOW stopped a truck taking pigs to the ranch last Friday. The state says its illegal to transport the exotic hogs and ordered the hogs to be tested.

But as 11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler explains whatever happens with the investigation, the business may not be able to stay out of the trough.

Nestled away in Collbran, the Little Creek Ranch offers breathtaking scenery and hunting for families.

"It's a nice place to bring families and enjoy Colorado while its still wild," ranch hand Steve Cook told 11 News on Monday.

Cook says Little Creek is about the only high fence ranch in Colorado to hunt wild animals like buffalo, elk and pigs.

"Most people have to go all the way to California or Texas to hunt pigs. It's nice to not have to leave the state."

But now around 50 pigs are being hunted for something else--trapping and testing after a dozen were found to have pseudorabies. As of Monday, the ranch remained under quarantine.

While the ranch is under quarantine, it is closed to families and the ranch is returning thousands of dollars in deposits and reservations.

There's no word from the Colorado Department of Agriculture on how long the testing could take and workers on the ranch are on edge.

"It's very up in the air. Its scary not to know what's around the corner," said Cook.

All they can do is trap and test the hogs as fast as they can and wait.

"It's gonna be a rough christmas season."

Atleast until the investigations are over and hope they can open the ranch to families again.

The CO Department of Agriculture says the first priority is testing all of the animals and will then decide what to do with them and whether or not to lift the quarantine.

Meanwhile the DOW is looking into whether or not the ranch violated any laws or licensing rules.

No word on how long both investigations could take.

According to the Department of Agriculture this is the first case of pseudorabies in ferral hogs in Colorado.

Officials say commercial swine and livestock are safe in the state.

Psuedorabies is a viral disease most prevalent in swine and can not be transmitted to humans.

It is however a threat to domestic pets and small wildlife and can cause death in cats and dogs.

That's why officials say quarantine and eradication is very important.


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