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Property Owners organize to fight rustlers


Some southwest Missouri cattle and property owners are organizing to fight thieves and rustlers in rural Barry County. Mike Smith has the story:

From the Associated Press and KSMU News:

Farmers and property owners in rural Barry and Lawrence counties have set up a protection association to deter cattle thieves and ward off a modern legal peril: liability if they hurt a criminal in an effort to protect their property.

Dale Horner is owner of the Madry One Stop in Barry County, about 6 miles south of Aurora on Highway 39. He says $50,000 worth of cattle has been stolen from within 5 miles of his store since November, so he and a group of local business cattle and property owners formed the Madry Ranchers Protection Association (L.L.C.)Besides action as a neighborhood watch group and posting signs aimed at deterring thieves, the association would act as a libility shield for its members.

Sgt. Jason Clark is the Public Information Officer for the Criminal Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Clark says because many cattle operations in the Ozarks are in rural isolated settings, they make attractive targets for rustlers. He says the vast majority of cattle rustlers operate at night when most legitimate cattle farmers would not be out working their herds. Clark says citizens should report any suspisious activity to a state or local law enforcement agency.

Clark encourages ranchers to brand their cattle, and count their herds every day to help deter rustlers.

For KSMU News, I'm Mike Smith