Plant manager apologizes for smell

CNJ staff

The manager of a Hull Street meat packing plant told the City Commission on Thursday his company is addressing complaints about unsightly and foul-smelling cattle carcasses at the plant.

J.D. Ruthardt of Champion Pet Foods said to alleviate the problem, he plans to hire another driver for carcass removal and said the trailer holding the carcasses will be tarped to keep them out of sight.

Commissioner Robert Sandoval said he visited the area in question and believes that Ruthardt will rid the area of the unsightliness and stench in due time.

Ruthardt said his firm collects more than 150 dead cattle a day from area livestock operations.

‘We’re basically waste management,” Ruthardt said. “If we weren’t here, there would be carcasses lying in the ditches all over.”

The Clovis plant removes brain matter from dead cattle and sends it to Texas A&M University to be tested for mad cow disease, according to Ruthardt. The carcasses are sent to a Champion plant in Dallas to be turned into pet food. He said whole carcasses including the “guts” must be kept intact at the plant until test results are returned.

Area residents said the carcasses of animals often lie exposed at the Hull Street branch of Champion Pet Foods Inc. for days, sometimes weeks.

Angelina Baca-Rodriguez told the Commission she was thoroughly disgusted and put out by the stench and sight of the carcasses. Rodriguez said the pet food company should be fined, and she was worried they may not fix the problem.

Champion Pet Foods, based in Waco, Texas, replaced a New Mexico processing plant in October 2004.

In other business:

• The Commission accepted a $3.07 million bid from LCI2 of Clovis to expand the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The lagoon is being expanded to accommodate the wastewater Southwest Cheese produces. At full production, the plant is expected to produce 1.2 million gallons of wastewater byproduct daily, according to plant officials.

The Commission rejected a $3.4 million bid in September.

Commissioner Fred Van Soelen said the (September) bid was higher than expected because of a rise in construction costs. Van Soelen said the type of lining planned for inside the lagoon has been changed to a different variety to reduce the cost of construction.

• The Commission proclaimed November National Adoption Month. A representative from the Children, Youth and Families Department, Marsha Buesgens, encouraged commissioners to place fliers and posters in city buildings, promote work leave for new foster parents, and incorporate Internet links to her department’s Web site off of the city’s server.

Buesgens said many children without homes are in their teens and have special needs resulting from drug use, exposure and neglect.

• The Commission approved a hearing for a beer and wine license application for Pizza Hut located on 3317 Prince St.