I had an emergency situation with animals sick and dying (I lost 4 heifers) during the historic rains and flooding last winter.
I pumped flood water from my heifer corrals into a neighbor’s ditch (with his permission) and under the watchful eye of my canal company to make sure that what I was pumping remained on my neighbor's property – which it did.
Once the flood water drained off enough so that I could remove my heifers from the flooded conditions, I pumped the water back to my corrals. It never reached a canal, it never reached Salt Slough (it is miles away), and it never reached the San Joaquin River, or killed a single fish. It was pumped back to my property.
We have reached a place in California where a dairyman who is watching his animals suffer in flood conditions commits a crime because he displaces that flood water to a neighbor’s ditch, saving the animals. I did what I thought was humane without harming the environment. But I will face a fine, and I am working through the difficulty these charges are causing.
I hope this clarifies what happened and why.
Dennis Areias, Los Banos