Lincoln County Cattle Rustling

Cattle rustling sounds like a crime out of the old west, but it’s happening in Kentucky now. 

Kentucky is a big beef-producing state and as the price has gone up, cows have become an attractive item for thieves.

"Cattle rustlers have been very active, and in the last month we started out with just maybe a couple stolen.  We’ve had one instance where 15 cows stolen and eight calves. That’s a $30,000 or $35,000 loss right there," explained Dan Grigson, UK Agricultural Extension Agent in Lincoln County.

Cattle farmer Earl Cooper said he is familiar with the threat.

"People have farms where they lease ’em and don’t check em every day.  The right people can find out about it.  Set up a corral and trailers and have a load and be gone," said Cooper.

Officials said the stolen cow total in Lincoln County has climbed to 30 head in the past half year.

"People are looking for quick dollars and cattle prices have gotten really good in the last six months," said Grigson.

Different areas of Lincoln County have been hit including Crab Orchard, Waynesburg and near Hustonville, making the problem widespread.

"It’s not neighbor by neighbor but in surrounding counties.  Cattle rustling is becoming a problem," said Grigson.

Farmers said thieves may watch their eating patterns to know when cattle will be grazing.

Beth Johnson, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said branding is a good option for farmers to keep their property.

"In these thefts, the cattle are usually sold immediately to the stockyards.  If there’s no visible brand on them, they cannot be identified.  One black cow looks like another black cow," said Johnson.

Earl Cooper and his two brothers "notch" their cattle.  They mark their ears.

"Someone steals some, it really does hurt.  As high as they are.  And we depend on the income, so it hurts a lot," said Cooper.

Cooper said he secures his gate and watches his cattle when they are near the highway, because that’s not a chance he’s willing to take.

Categories: Local News, News, WTVQ Local News (do not use)

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