The county attorney's office reports that Dec. 1 or 2 is likely the date the district court will determine as the deadline for Western Slope Layers to comply with the county's cease and desist order.
The county has notified Western Slope Layers there is an option under its Specific Development regulations for seeking civil penalties in county court if the cease and desist order is not complied with by the deadline.
But that is only a possible option, county officials say.
The county health department noted on Monday this week that Western Slope Layers was still operating at some level of activity. Powell Mesa neighbor of the hen house Susan Raymond said on Tuesday she has noticed normal activity at the hen-egg operation.
Edwin Hostetler, owner of Western Slope Layers, told the DCI that he has moved some hens out of his barn. He emphasized the difficulty of finding takers for all of the 15,000 hens at one location and at one time.
Hostetler said, and county environmental health director Ken Nordstrom confirmed, that removing all the hens during a previous flock replacement operation at Western Slope layers had taken some time to accomplish. "It took over three months the last time," Hostetler told the DCI.
Nordstrom added that several different venues for placing the hens had to be lined up in Colorado and elsewhere. Not all of the possible venues are available at the same time, said Hostetler.
The district court ruling against the county and Western Slope Layers is under appeal. Hostetler remains firm in his view that the ruling was mistaken. Opponents of the hen-egg operation created a lot of publicity during hearings by the county commissioners and the court, Hostetler acknowledges. But he adds, "A lot of people are starting to understand what's happening now and are upset about it." He also said that some of the key evidence the court based its decision on was faulty.
The difficulty of removing so many hens at one time has led Hostetler to the option of finding or building another barn for them in another county, he said.blog comments powered by Disqus