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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Elk escape appeal goes to high court

Associated Press

BOISE – Rex Rammell, a former elk rancher fined for violating Idaho regulations, has asked the Idaho Supreme Court to find the rules unreasonable.

Rammell’s attorney, Karl Runft, told the court Wednesday that the Idaho Department of Agriculture denied him due process.

The case arose from an incident in 2005. Problems with the fence at the 168-acre ranch prompted the Idaho Department of Agriculture to charge Rammell with nine violations of Idaho laws and regulations pertaining to domestic elk.

During a Department of Agriculture hearing, Rammell admitted to the violations but argued that the rules were unconstitutional, unreasonable and beyond the department’s authority. He was fined $29,000.

The hearing officer was wrong when she denied Rammell the chance to have the state veterinarian testify that the risk of domestic elk spreading chronic wasting disease was nil – which could lead a court to conclude that the rules were excessively stringent, Runft said.

Deputy Idaho Attorney General Steven Strack told the justices Rammell had more than enough opportunity to get his arguments heard at the hearing.

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