Calf stolen, butchered on Chelsea road in rising trend

CHELSEA, Okla. - Rogers County authorities are investigating a string of attacks in which cattle have been killed and butchered. The latest happened this week on a county road near Chelsea.

On Monday morning, rancher Rob Bacon was checking on his cattle when he saw one of his cows pacing the fence in distress. He quickly figured out why.

"I came over the hill and see the gut pile," Bacon said. "She (the cow) was walking the fence back and forth -- looking for her baby."

The 550 pound calf had been skillfully butchered in the road. The remains left behind. Bacon says the loss of calf is valued at $950 as well as the time, effort and money that went in to raising the 10-month-old calf.

"What people don't realize is, I've got a pasture bill. I've got a feed bill. I've got a hay bill. And the banker wants his interest," he said. "So it's not like I'm just losing one calf here."

With two other similar attacks on cattle in recent months in the same general area, rangers from the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association are assisting deputies with the investigation.

Special Ranger John Cummings says they've got some solid leads on suspects. But they need more to make arrests.

"This particular case we're hoping that -- because of the road -- maybe we've got a witness that drove by and saw a vehicle or saw people," Cummings said. "That's what we need."

Sheriff Scott Walton says deputies are now patrolling the area in unmarked vehicles. He hopes they will be able to catch the thieves before another rancher suffered the loss of their cattle.
    
"Occasionally people think this is somebody who is starving to death and needs meat for the table," Walton said. " What we find is the people who do this are those that don't engage in work. It's a thug who doesn't want to work and does want to steal."

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is offering a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

Anyone with information is asked to call Rogers County Sheriff's Office Tip Line at 918-341-3620.

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