The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has received an increasing rate of reports of missing and harmed livestock in the state over the past year. This alarming trend has become increasingly common over the past few years, with the UDAF issuing a request for increased vigilance by producers and the public.
Since July 2022, the UDAF has received 77 missing livestock reports for cattle, five for horses and mules, and one report for sheep and goats. The department also reports that it has received calls on seven suspicious livestock deaths that are currently under investigation. Instances of missing cattle have come from Weber, Juab, Duchesne, Uintah, Tooele, and Box Elder counties.
“Our department has been investigating a substantial amount of cases of missing livestock and suspicious livestock deaths this year,” Leann Hunting, UDAF animal industry director, said in a news release issued recently. “While we don’t know the exact cause of the increase in cases, it is very concerning and we want to raise awareness of these happenings.”
FOX13 News Utah interviewed Taw Jackman, whose four-month-old painted colt was shot dead in his family’s 100-acre pasture. Just a week prior, Jackman came across two head of family cattle who were also shot dead. In the interview, Jackman told the news station, “I hope that when somebody hears this, they can be rewarded. And, it’ll make a point to whoever is doing this stops. They’ve obviously never raised animals and appreciated them, they’re just stealing from us all.”
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Unfortunately, due to the nature of investigating livestock disappearances and deaths on large swaths of land, many of these cases go unsolved. Historic trends indicate that a rise in the occurrence of missing and dead livestock will occur in the fall months. The department asks that any instances of missing or harmed livestock be reported to the local brand inspector.
A reward of $20,000 is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in the theft, mutilation, or malicious killing of livestock.