|Updated: 6/01/2012 6:18 pm
||Published: 6/01/2012 5:38 pm
A calf was stolen from a ranch near Chelsea in Rogers County, then slaughtered and butchered in the middle of a rural road. After taking the meat, the thieves left the remnants in a rotting heap on the road.
Investigators say cattle thefts have risen the past several years, and cost the ranchers much more than the cost of the cow.
"It kind of upset me," cattle rancher Rob Bacon said.
A pool of blood, a cow hide, and a pile of bones and internal organs was not what Bacon expected to find when he went to check on his cattle earlier this week.
"The calf weighed somewhere between 550 and 600 lbs," Bacon said. "It was worth somewhere between $950 and $1,000."
He said that wasn't all he lost when the calf was taken.
"The real problem is now I'm going to have to winter [another] cow, buy her feed, buy her hay, buy her pasture," he said.
"This calf should have been sold in July. Now it will be a year from July before I'll be able to get another paycheck."
John Cummings is a marshal for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and said crimes like this are happening far too often.
"We have a lot more people out here stealing scraps, stealing tractors, trailer, and cattle," Cummings said. "Cattle prices are up, so cattle are a pretty hot commodity."
Cummings works with local law enforcement in counties across the area to catch these thieves.
"It's our goal to either recover the cattle, or arrest who's involved in the crime and try to get restitution through the courts."
He said the thieves sometimes try selling the meat to fund drug or alcohol habits, but most of the time they simply take the meat home and eat it.
Bacon knows he can't watch every inch of his roughly 150 acre ranch all the time, but he's not happy that thieves take advantage of him.
"Not violated, just pissed off," he said.
Now, he said he plans to carry his shotgun around on the property so he'll be ready to scare off any other potential thieves.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thieves.
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Rogers County tip line at 918-341-3620.
If the thieves are caught, they will face animal cruelty charges and up to five years in prison.