GALLIPOLIS — A Rio Grande man was sentenced Tuesday after being found guilty of a fourth-misdemeanor charge stating he had animals at large in the form of a reported herd of cattle found wandering in northern Gallia and damaging private property.
Tales of the wandering herd and its penchant for causing damage to private land have sporadically continued for at least a decade.
Charles Withee, 78, of Rio Grande, was ordered to 30 days in a detention facility after pleading not guilty to the recorded December 2, 2016 event. According to City Solicitor Adam Salisbury, Withee was found guilty of the same crime in eight other cases and had failed to pay restitution to one victim in question after a herd of cattle damaged private land.
In all, Withee has been convicted of the same crime on nine separate occasions in Gallia with the first such conviction resulting from an incident that occurred in October 2005, according to Gallipolis Municipal Court records, which was recorded to have happened in the Bidwell area. The second conviction resulted from an event which occurred December 2007 on Nibert Road. Two other incidents occurred in 2014, once in July and another in October, respectively on Morgan Lane and Ward Road. In January 2015, the herd was again found at a property on Blosser School Road. The trampling continued on February 20 and 22, 2016 at separate properties on Poplar Ridge Road. In April 2016, the herd was found on Township Road 669, and again on December 2016 on Poplar Ridge Road.
Complaint records note a similar theme with victims saying the wandering herd had been a problem for years, damaging private property and traveling freely without being locked in an enclosure.
Withee has also been found guilty of similar crimes involving wandering animals in Meigs County, resulting in six convictions with court appearances in 2011 and others in 2015 and 2016.
Some complaint statements listed victims as having attempted to make Withee aware of the problem, but that he had failed to mend any holes in a fence to hold the herd.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.