Forty cows and calves that have been under Wallowa County's care since the sheriff's office seized them last month could become eligible for sale April 18.

On Wednesday, April 10, Wallowa County Circuit Court Judge Russ West signed a judgment forfeiting Edward Charles Scott's ownership of the cattle, which were seized from acreage east of Lostine on March 8. In connection with that law enforcement action, Scott was arraigned March 21 on 39 counts of second-degree animal neglect, and one count of first-degree animal neglect.

Scott did not attend Wednesday's circuit court hearing, but was represented by Tigard attorney Geordie Duckler, who participated from western Oregon via speakerphone.

Scott's possible forfeiture of the animals was covered previously at a March 29 hearing. Upon signing the judgment this week, West noted that an existing provision for Scott to halt the sale by posting a $10,000 bond was “still in play,” and that Scott would have 72 hours from the date the judgment was served to make the posting.

Attorney Duckler said he didn't know if his client would try to post the bond, but the attorney instructed the court to serve the judgment papers on the attorney himself. Earlier in the hearing, Duckler lost a motion seeking a rehearing of March 29's forfeiture-related proceeding, arguing that he hadn't learned of the hearing's scheduling in time to take part. One key reason, apparently, was that Scott, who was himself notified a week before the hearing, didn't pass the information along to his lawyer.

“I'm at a loss as to what more should have been done” in terms of the notification, said county counsel Paige Sully, who opposed the motion also on grounds that it came with no assertion that a new hearing would suddenly introduce “a meritorious defense” with some chance of changing the previous outcome. The judge agreed with Sully.

While the court denied a rehearing, it granted a different request Wednesday from Duckler: that he and his client have an additional week to complete a veterinary evaluation of the cattle before their possible sale. West agreed to seven more days, counting from the April 10 hearing date, through April 17, which would allow the county to commence sales no sooner than April 18.

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