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Rancher says he didn't let militia remove fence

Posted at 12:34 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 19:26:56-05

BURNS, Ore. (AP) -- An Oregon rancher whose cattle graze next to the national wildlife refuge that an armed group is occupying says he didn't give the activists permission to enter his property and remove part of a fence.

The group protesting federal land policy tore down a stretch of government-erected fence Monday near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The activists say the goal was to give rancher Tim Puckett access to land that had been blocked for years.

But Puckett told The Oregonian on Tuesday that he wasn't aware of the group's plans and "they didn't have my permission to do anything."

Puckett says one of his representatives allowed the group onto the property but didn't let them remove the fence. He says he works with federal officials on land management and his employees have repaired the fence.