E-mail prompts Ranchos protest
More residents showed up to support a Gardnerville Ranchos board member who accused another of harassment than to any other meeting in more than a year.
Outgoing board member Bill Barnum took the public comment portion of the regular Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District meeting on Wednesday to accuse Al Wagner of sending a threatening e-mail concerning the Barnum family dog that had been shot and left in the desert last month.
As of Jan. 1, Bill Barnum’s seat on the district board will go to another Ranchos resident who won it in November’s election. But Barnum vacated his position a month early to talk to the board as a member of the community and express his displeasure with Wagner.
“I am personally embarrassed to be associated with this man as a fellow board member,” said Barnum. “His representation, verbal abuse and misguided opinions are humiliation to the board and to the good people of Gardnerville.”
What Barnum was so upset about were Wagner’s e-mail comments he wrote in response to Barnum’s offer of a reward on information on who shot the family dog and dumped the body in the desert.
Wagner wrote Barnum that his dog getting shot was a shame, and while the shooter wasn’t right, neither was Barnum for letting his dog run loose. He suggested a disgruntled neighbor might have the culprit.
“You’re lucky they did not shoot you,” wrote Wagner.
Although there are no mandatory leash laws in the county as stated by Wagner in his letter, the Douglas County codes state that it is unlawful to allow a dog to stray, run or be at large in any public area. Dogs must be always be in control of the owner.
Several members of Barnum’s posse gave their views on cruelty to animals and demanded apologies from Wagner for his insensitivity toward the Barnum family after they lost their pet.
Ranchos resident Stan Lamb said he has known Wagner for many years, that he respected him on many issues, but had butted heads with him on other issues.
“Shooting a man’s dog is a crime,” Lamb said to Wagner at the meeting. “We as constituents have an expectation that you will act responsibly and treat fellow board members with respect.”
Wagner said he knew Barnum was going to talk that night but was advised by counsel not to address him during the meeting.
Wagner said both he and Barnum should set good examples as board members to follow laws all citizens should follow.
We have to show responsibility for our dogs and not just let them run whether they are little dogs or rottweilers, Wagner said.
Wagner also expressed the concern that his last of the e-mail wasn’t taken quite the way he had intended and that Wagner was concerned that if someone was unstable enough to shoot a dog, they might shoot a person.
A reward is offered for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot the Barnums’ dog. Call 265-1684.