A La Grande, Ore., doctor has agreed to pay the owners of seven cattle that he shot to death last summer when he found the animals blocking his driveway.
The La Grande Observer reports that first-degree criminal mischief charges were dropped Jan. 9 against Dr. Joel Rice, a psychiatrist, but he still faces five counts of aggravated animal abuse in connection with the August 2013 shootings of cattle that had made their way onto his property.
Rice has agreed to pay three cattle owners, who said they didn't wish to prosecute Rice, a total of $47,500 for their losses.
Meanwhile, Rice's attorney argued at the Jan. 9 court hearing that the Eastern Oregon community "could face repercussions if Rice were convicted of a felony and lost his medical license." The Observer reports that Rice is the only psychiatrist in La Grande with admitting privileges at the local hospital, and the only physician in the region who could prescribe suboxone, a drug used to help addicts wean off of heroin or other opiates.