Thieves slaughter, butcher calf on Rogers County road

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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.

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Animal cruelty charges brought

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A Vallecito couple faces animal cruelty charges after 15 malnourished horses were seized from their horse rescue ranch in February.

Paul and Kimberly Paulden, of the 4500 block of Red Hill Road, were booked March 29 on felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. Calaveras County Superior Court officials said the Pauldens’ court date has not yet been entered into the computer system.

Sgt. Laurie Murray, director of Animal Services, said that in addition to the 15 ill horses, she found the remains of two dead horses on the ranch.

A colt seized from the Pauldens in February is being nursed back to health at ReHorse Rescue in Jamestown.

“I couldn’t state as to why those horses died other than what the suspect told me happened,” Murray said. “They’d been dead for a little while.”

Murray said the horses that survived were underweight, and were treated for lice, rain rot and worms.

Initially, three horses were sent to Angels Camp Veterinary Hospital, while seven others were taken to a private Angels Camp ranch or to ReHorse Rescue in Jamestown.

Raquelle Van Vleck, director of ReHorse Rescue, said all the horses in her care are doing much better.

“They are all picking up weight. We’ve de-wormed everybody,” Van Vleck said. “We’ve been treating the mare that was in the worst shape for rain rot (a condition that causes the horse’s fur to slough off). She lost quite a bit of her coat.”

The Pauldens have maintained their innocence, and say that the horses were malnourished when they received them. Christina Martinez, a personal friend of the Pauldens, defended the couple in a letter, stating the Pauldens took in horses no one else wanted.

“It’s not easy taking in animals that have had years of neglect and abuse,” Martinez wrote. “The Pauldens love animals and would not intentionally harm any one of them.”

If convicted, the Pauldens could face a maximum of three years in prison; however, Murray said a prison sentence is unlikely.

The February incident was not the first time Animal Services was called to the Pauldens’ ranch. Last September, a person complained about the condition of 20 horses, and Murray said the Pauldens voluntarily surrendered 10 horses to Horse Plus Human Society, a rescue group in Oroville.

Margo Anthony, a Murphys resident who reported the horses’ condition in February, said Horse Plus was shocked at how emaciated the horses were last fall.

“Sadly, two of the horses died shortly after arriving at the veterinarian from starvation and dehydration,” Anthony wrote.

Murray said the Pauldens cooperated with Animal Services last September; improving the conditions and care of the remaining horses. However, Murray said Animal Services received a call in February stating that herd numbers increased, prompting a second investigation.

“We hadn’t been there for a month and a half to two months when we got a phone call reporting abuse,” Murray said. “We checked it out, found that was the case and did what we had to do.”

Idaho senator withdraws his wolf measure

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Gray Wolf ISheep rancher and state Sen. Jeff Siddoway gave up his fight for more tools to kill the wolves that have eaten his sheep and killed his guard dogs and done the same to ranchers across the state.

Fighting back tears, Siddoway acknowledged that his bill threatened to return wolves to the Endangered Species Act. He said he had spoken to U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, who authored legislation that removed wolves from the endangered species list, and asked the Senate to send the bill back to the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, where it will remain.

Siddoway did not say whether he will offer a different bill. His bill would have allowed anyone whose livestock or family pet was killed or harassed by wolves to shoot the wolves from airplanes, use night scopes on rifles or even lure the wolves with live bait.

The fourth-generation Idaho sheep man — Siddoway’s son is the fifth — said reintroduction of wolves in the 1990s has led to far more depredations by wolves than their supporters ever predicted.

Now, he said, nearly every ranching family who runs livestock in the mountains are regularly hit. Ranchers can do little to kill a wolf unless they catch it in the act of killing or harassing livestock.

“The killing is going on and on, almost on a daily basis,” said Siddoway a three-term legislator from Terreton in eastern Idaho.Wolves also are killing 16,000 elk a year, he estimated, out of the state’s population of more than 100,000.

He has said his own losses in 2011 were more than 100 sheep and six guard dogs. And while all of the losses have not been verified officially, ranching families like his have records going back 100 years that show depredations have skyrocketed in the past five years as theIdaho wolf population has ballooned, he said.

Suzanne Asha Stone, Rocky Mountain Director of Defenders of Wildlife, said Idaho Fish and Game officials have a different story. She said that wolf depredations fell in the past year.

via Idaho senator withdraws his wolf measure | Environment |

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