Beef theft under investigation in Wagoner County

Thursday, March 3rd 2005, 8:54 am
By: News On 6

It might be the 21st century, but cattle rustling is alive and well in northeastern Oklahoma. A Wagoner County couple lost one of their best heifers Wednesday night, butchered right on their property.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg has more on the beef theft in Wagoner County.

Ruth and Carl Foster went out in the morning to feed and count the cows on their pasture near Mazie and came up one short. Ruth Foster: "And as we were coming back out, then we noticed the carcass layin' here." They were shocked to find the cow had been shot and slaughtered right where it had stood, they think the thief or thieves then pulled the good part of the carcass through the fence and took off. "Just to think that someone would do that and come into your pasture and kill one of your animals that you had taken care of all this time."

It costs $200 a year just to feed a cow and then there are vaccinations and other medical care. Technically, the Fosters just lost one cow. But that doesn't count the calves she could have produced. "This one was just at the age we were going to have her bred this spring. If you sell one at market, when it's just weaned and ready to go to market, its y'know, $500, $600."

Considering the cow could have had as many as 15 calves, the damage adds up fast. From this one crime, the Fosters stand to lose around $7,000.

Paul Rodriguez with the Wagoner County Cattlemen's Association says it doesn't happen a lot, but it happens more than it used to. Sometimes from people trading the meat for drugs. "The processed meat will probably bring in anywhere from a $1,000 to $1,200. That's quite a lot of money." Rustling is the same, only the methods have changed.

This is the only time the Fosters say this has happened to them in 50 years of ranching.

If you have information that leads to a conviction, the Wagoner Cattlemen's Association is offering a thousand dollar reward. You can reach them at 683-6703.