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Battle rages in Colorado over sheepherder's guard dogs that attacked a cyclist

November 28, 2009 |  2:42 pm

As suburbia draws closer to rural ranchland areas, it seems inevitable that tensions will flare.  In one such incident, cyclist Renee Legro was attacked by two Great Pyrenees guard dogs employed by Colorado sheep rancher Sam Robinson; Robinson authorized the dogs to be euthanized following the attack.  For Legro and her husband, that wasn't enough: They wanted Robinson charged with a crime.  Our colleague Nicholas Riccardi has the story; here's an excerpt:

Sheep The herd, 1,300 strong, has been coming for 30 years to graze in this valley on the backside of the Continental Divide. But as Colorado has become an adventure sports destination, the once-empty valley has filled with hikers, campers and mountain bikers like Legro, and she was about to tragically embody the collision of the old West with the new.

Legro, 33, screamed because she knew what came with the herd -- guard dogs. Shortly after she rolled down a hill and came upon the sheep, a dog leaped at her, locked its jaws on her hip and yanked her off her bike.

A second dog pounced as she fell. The two enormous canines, powerful enough to fend off bears, tore at her until her cries drew two campers who drove them off. The emergency-room doctor lost count of how many stitches she required.

To Legro and her husband, Steve, there was one person responsible -- Sam Robinson. One of a dwindling number of sheepherders in Colorado's mountains, Robinson, 54, turned to guard dogs a decade ago, after the state banned the use of traps to prevent mountain lions, coyotes and bears from destroying herds.

"We don't have any other option," Robinson said.


Photo: Robinson's flock of sheep stand on a mesa above Silt, Colo.  Credit: Nathan W. Armes / For The Times

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