By CAROL RYAN DUMAS

Capital Press

No court date has been set in the lawsuit Idaho Wool Growers Association and Shirts Brothers Sheep have filed against Idaho Department of Fish and Game, alleging the agency has breached a contractual agreement concerning bighorn sheep and sheep growers grazing rights.

The lawsuit was filed March 31 in Idaho's Third District Court and contends Fish and Game breached a 1997 agreement between it, sheep growers and other state and federal agencies and caused economic loss to Shirts Brothers. The amount of that loss is to be determined at trial.

The 1997 agreement stated that transplants of bighorn sheep in the Hells Canyon area could occur as long as domestic sheep operators were not harmed due to any claim of disease transmission.

Stan Boyd, executive director of Idaho Wool Growers, said he could only provide limited comment because the association is in litigation over the matter. But he said sheep producers agreed to not object to the transplants in return for protection of their grazing allotments.

Ron Shirts of Weiser, Idaho, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, directed questions to Sam Diddle, a Boise attorney representing Shirts Brothers and Idaho Wool Growers.

Phone calls to Diddle were not returned.

Links

Idaho Wool Growers: www.idahowool.org

Idaho Department of Fish and Game: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov

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