LAS VEGAS (AP) — The son of a rural Nevada cattle rancher was freed from federal custody Monday, a day after Bureau of Land Management police arrested him amid a long-running family dispute with the government over cattle grazing in remote rangeland northeast of Las Vegas.
Dave Bundy, 37, was taken into custody over the weekend after the agency closed the federally controlled land and started rounding up the cows his father says are entitled to graze there. The BLM said the animals are trespassing.
The dispute is the latest in a battle that has raged for years about federal management of resources and wilderness throughout the West. In the 1970s and '80s, the Sagebrush Rebellion pitted Nevada ranchers against the government over land ownership rights. Roundups of wild horses have drawn much of the attention in recent years.
Dave Bundy was issued a court summons on criminal charges that he refused to disperse and resisted officers, said Natalie Collins, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Las Vegas. His court date wasn't immediately announced.
His mother, Carol Bundy, said her son was beaten by agents after his arrest Sunday on State Route 170 between Mesquite and Bunkerville. The BLM and National Park Service didn't respond to questions about the beating allegation.
Carol Bundy and Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover said about 100 protesters rallied Monday against the BLM roundup of cattle that Bundy's father, Cliven Bundy, says belong to him. The elder Bundy estimates he owns about 500 animals.
"We're under martial law," Carol Bundy declared, adding that the family intended "to stand until the cows come home."
BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said agents on Saturday and Sunday rounded up 134 of an estimated 900 trespassing cattle in a vast 1,200-square-mile area of rangeland northeast of Las Vegas and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Cannon said the roundup was a last resort and blamed Cliven Bundy for "inflammatory statements," including vows to fight and characterizations of the cow removal as a range war.
"Mr. Bundy has been in trespass on public lands for more than 20 years," the BLM official said.
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