On July 5, 2017

Rutland County Farm Bureau president responds to Mosher case

Dear Editor,

This case involves many tragedies.

The first tragedy in this whole case was the death of Jon Bellis. We are all extremely sorry for this loss. This was a terrible accident and one that had already been adjudicated in civil court. This is where this case should have ended. Rose Kennedy should never have brought this case to the criminal court system. The circumstances in this case do not warrant a first-time precedent in our nation to be charged in criminal court as there was no malicious intent.

The second tragedy in this case is the destruction of Mr. Mosher’s life. He is well known and well respected in his community. Since the date of this accident he has been haunted by the deaths of Mr. Bellis and of his pet bull.

The accident caused him and his family great devastation and turmoil. He was forced to spend two years fighting a criminal charge when he had no malicious intent. If the Rutland County legal system thought that the results of this case could create publicity to educate and prevent another accident, this is another tragedy.

We are so concerned about the far-reaching implications of holding owners criminally liable for farm animals who have gotten loose on public roads. The implications in this case are that the fences weren’t adequate. I inspected the fence after the accident, together with Robert Barnes of Straight Line Fence in Orwell. We both agreed that Craig Mosher’s fences were more than adequate.

We need everyone to drive more carefully and slowly in Vermont, acknowledging the rural and agricultural work landscape of this state that we all love. In spite of the facts that the car was accelerating and traveling 64 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone and no brakes were applied, this was deemed irrelevant by the judge. They may have been causative factors. That’s awfully fast for that road and those conditions. As we understand it the bull was under streetlights and not moving.

We need everyone who drives in Vermont to understand that livestock and wild animals can be on a road at any time.

Ray Duquette, Sr.

West Pawlet

Duquette is the president of the Rutland County Farm Bureau

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