Marty Erickson thought the thieves had moved on. But then another calf went missing.
Somebody has stolen more than a dozen dairy calves – 17 to be exact – from Oakhill Farms in Southwest Georgia’s Lee County.
“I think the value of beef this year has pushed cattle theft,” Erickson said. “That’s what’s different now.”
He’s suspects the calves are being taken for their meat, not to sell to other dairies, but for slaughter. Oak Hill has notified other dairies and cattle auction houses around South Georgia and Alabama, as well as in North Florida.
Whoever is taking the calves may think that they are easier to handle, Erickson said, but he worries that the thieves may not know the proper care and nutrition for Holstein calves.
“No one has seen them,” he said. “We don’t know what to make of that.”
When the first three animals went missing three months ago, the dairy manager called the sheriff. As more and more calves disappeared, the dairy has added locks, lights and cameras. Soon the dairy may start tattooing animals.
“This is huge for us two years down the line. These are the ones that we would be milking two years from now,” he said. “We have a hole we have to fill, and prices are high for us replace them, too.”
The calves were stolen in two batches of three, then one 10-cow heist. Erickson thinks the thieves were interrupted in the last theft, but intended to take more than one animal.
No one in the area has reported similar crimes, though the area is full of farms.
The owners are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is stealing the calves, which are worth $500 each.
In a way, Erickson doesn’t want the crimes to stop – not until the thief is caught and charged.
“If they stop here, that’s when we’ll start to hear that something went missing up the road,” he said. “It’s best if they are caught.”
Anyone with information about the theft can call the Lee County Sheriff at (229) 759-6012, Crimestoppers at (229) 436-TIPS, or Oakhill Dairy at (229) 376-0179
Source – Farms.com