Dunrovin Ranch in Court Again, Owner Says Missoula County Officials “Target” Her Business
SuzAnne Miller, the owner of the Dunrovin Ranch in Lolo, has struggled for years to make her ranch compliant with the law, even going so far as to get new laws carried by local representatives and passed by the state legislature. Now, after yet another day in court, Miller believes her efforts have made her and her business a target.
"They have us targeted at some level," Miller said. "I believe that because we stood up, and went to the legislature, and were effectively involved in changing legislation that they were using to control development in Missoula County, that that put a target on our backs. Why else would they choose to take a small business like ours and try to shut us down... because we have too few people?.. that's absurd."
During a district court hearing on Wednesday, January 29, Missoula County argued that the Dunrovin ranch needed to be licensed, not because it has too many guests, but because it has too few.
State law says that guest ranches that accommodate between nine and 24 people don't need to be licensed, but it says nothing on what must be done with businesses that accommodate less than nine. Miller says the lack of definition for ranches that house under nine people is a clerical error by the legislature that needs to be fixed.
"Judge Ed Mclean heard the case, and it's very clear to me that he sees that the case is silly and bizarre," Miller said. "We've already contacted our legislators and have two sponsors for a bill that will go through the next legislature to clean that up."
Miller said that the legal attacks on the Dunrovin ranch by Missoula County have not only hurt her business, but have cost her over $75,000 in attorney fees alone.