Animal cruelty case moves to District Court | SteamboatToday.com

Animal cruelty case moves to District Court

Staff report

Robert "Bobby" George Jr.

— A case is now in District Court involving a fifth-generation Routt County rancher accused of shooting a neighbor's bulls in the scrotums, killing one of them.

Robert "Bobby" George Jr., 47, of Yampa also faces three felonies and two misdemeanors in Summit County related to a domestic issue.

In Routt County, George has been charged with five felonies. The charges are criminal mischief, theft of agricultural animals, attempted theft of agricultural animals and two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

George's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

According to a search warrant, longtime South Routt County rancher Frank Stetson learned in June from George's wife that two of his breeding bulls had been shot. The wife claimed that George had shot the bulls.

Stetson reported the incident to the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

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One of the bulls was located and taken to Steamboat Veterinary Hospital with injuries consistent with being shot. A veterinarian concluded the bull would live, but it would not be able to reproduce.

The next day, a second dead bull was found with what also appeared to be a gunshot wound.

The veterinarian told deputies the bulls were in their prime for breeding, and they each could be worth between $6,000 and $20,000.

A deputy spoke to George's wife and learned she had been with George on property they lease for raising cattle located at 23375 Routt County Road 14 near Oak Creek. The property neighbors Stetson's ranching land.

George’s wife said she and George found a couple of Stetson's bulls on their property.

According to the warrant, George went to his truck, returned with a rifle and shot at one of the bulls.

"She stated that she asked George what he was doing, and he stated that he was shooting the bulls in their balls," the warrant states. The wife “stated that George told her that he learned this from his grandfather."

The wife said she got upset, and George shot a second bull, the warrant states. In total, the warrant states George took three or four shots at the bulls.

The wife said George was mad because the bulls were on their property, and George had talked to Stetson about the bulls being on their property a few days earlier, the warrant states. The wife said George stated that he believed he had every right to shoot the bulls because they were on his property.

During a search of George's truck, deputies found a Marlin 30-30 bolt-action rifle and took it into evidence.

In July, the Sheriff's Office secured a warrant for George's arrest. He turned himself in at the Mesa County Jail and was released after posting bond the same day. He was scheduled to appear in District Court on Wednesday, but that hearing was delayed until Jan. 23.

In August, a woman reported being hurt by George during a domestic incident at a hotel in Silverthorne, according to a warrant.

George was subsequently arrested Sept. 24 and charged with 12 offenses in Summit County.

George was released from jail after posting the $250,000 bond set by a judge.

Some of the charges have since been dismissed.

"Currently, there are three felony charges and two misdemeanor charges we are moving forward on," said former Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle, who is now a deputy district attorney in Summit County.

George is scheduled for an arraignment Jan. 12 in Summit County. During arraignments, defendants typically enter a plea and trial dates are set, if necessary.