Valuable cattle shot by vandals

Lloyd Klassen, his son, Dale, and some of their neighbors are upset, and rightfully so.

On Aug. 17 and 18, an employee of Klassen Dairy at Hillsboro found six injured pregnant Holstein heifers in a pasture southeast of Durham. The heifers were among the 90 head of cattle in the pasture.

The animals had been wounded with a shotgun. Three were taken to Kansas State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine for treatment.

According to Lloyd Klassen, one heifer was shot near its eye and is suffering from a sinus infection. Another received a 3-inch deep wound in the neck, causing severe swelling and infection. Another was wounded in the abdomen, causing intestines to protrude.

Three heifers were treated at the farm. One had been shot in its flank. The wound had swelled to football size.

Lloyd Klassen said beer cans and shotgun shells were found beside the road next to the pasture. The Holsteins had apparently been standing along the fence when the incident occurred.

So far, none of the cattle has died, but the incident has caused a lot of extra work for the dairy’s employees.

He said one heifer is carrying a transplanted embryo and is valued at $4,000 to $5,000. The others are valued at $2,000. The animals are insured, but insurance coverage does not apply unless an animal dies.

“We have no idea who could have done this,” Klassen said. “As far as we know, we don’t have any enemies to cause something like this. There have been a lot of reports of vandalism in this area.”

Klassen Dairy is offering a reward of $1,000 to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Neighbors and farmers around Lehigh are offering additional reward money, bringing the total to $1,500.

Marion County Sheriff Robert Craft has collected evidence and is investigating the incident. As of Friday, there were no suspects.

The sheriff said the value of the animals makes the incident a felony. He remains in contact with Dale Klassen and the veterinarian involved and is constantly monitoring the animals’ conditions.

Craft is hoping the reward money will result in the suspect or suspects being apprehended. In that case, he said, his office will recommend several charges including cruelty to animals. County Attorney Susan Robson’s office will make the final determination.

“This was a very unusual incident,” Craft said.

 

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