In reference to Jennifer Wittlinger's letter to the editor headlined "Ranchers had horrible disregard for nature." That is really sweet of you to have such a high regard for poor little rattlesnakes. Of course, there is a place in God's world for all creatures. However, I feel that there are times when some of these creatures should not cross my path.
I don't believe that Mr. Knaack, nor his horse, intentionally provoked the snake. You apparently feel that the men from Sombrero Ranch were cruel in their method of killing the snake, and you would have apparently preferred that they let the snake go on its merry way.
Most of the time, a snake is not easily discovered until the passerby is well within striking distance. All venomous snakes should be considered dangerous. I would have been grateful that the men from Sombrero took action and killed the snake before it had a chance to bite an animal or person. I can hear the other side of the fence squalling if the ranchers had done nothing to prevent a victim (whether human or animal) from getting bit.
Maybe you've never seen the horrible effect a rattlesnake bite causes an animal with the inflection of its venom. Snake venom affects the nervous system, blood and blood vessels. It causes severe pain, cell death, numbness, tissue destruction, kidney complications, loss of a limb and even death.
I've seen my parents' dog go through agonizing pain from a snakebite, and barely survive after several doses of anti-venom, and then die a year later from continued complications.
Horses and cattle are often bitten on the nose and can die from swelling, which blocks their air passages, causing suffocation.
Communing with nature is anything but a controlled environment. So I have to say, if I was thrown from a horse because it was spooked from a snake, I would kill it, too, with a rock, stick or maybe a rope if that's all I had.