A cattle producer who lost 21 cows and 30 calves to thieves earlier this month is offering a $10,000 reward to help track down the perpetrators
A Rossburn-area farmer who had 21 cows and 30 calves stolen earlier this month from pasture near Olha says even worse was finding two others dead.
Kalvin Kreshewski came upon the grisly scene July 4, finding two cows dead from dehydration after rustlers left a gate tied and the two animals locked in a corral without food or water.
“That was the worst part,” he said. “It’s one thing to have the cattle stolen. It’s another that they left two in the corral and they died.”
The cattle were stolen from pasture on Provincial Road 577 near the village of Olha.
A gate leading from a holding pen to the pasture had been tied with twine, leaving the cattle herded from the pasture only one route — evidently to a waiting vehicle.
There were 68 cattle in the pasture at the time.
Kreshewski says the financial impact from this loss is anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000, plus he’s now left with mismatched cows and calves because the thieves didn’t take pairs.
“They just got whatever they caught in the corral and loaded them,” he said. “They just took what they wanted.”
He has offered a $10,000 reward for information on who stole his Black Angus and Black Angus-Simmental cattle. Late last week he said social media was providing very helpful tips, including when the theft occurred.
“Everybody knows something,” he said. “You just don’t know who to ask. That was a big help to figure out what people have seen.”
Ben Fox, president of Manitoba Beef Producers said this latest incident is one more in a troubling upward trend. MBP is hearing more reported cases of stolen cattle, he said.
“Manitoba Beef Producers is extremely concerned,” he said.
“It’s shocking and gut wrenching when a producer has to go through that. And that fellow in Rossburn is taking a $60,000 to $80,000 hit on his bottom line. That’s hard to recover from.”
As for who the perpetrators are “it could run such a wide gamut as to who it could be,” he added.
“Cattle producers are left with more questions than answers right now.
“Unfortunately I think it’s a crime of opportunity. I think its primarily due to the fact cattle are fairly valuable again.”
Kreshewski said the way to put a stop to this is for producers to start watching the countryside more closely and looking out for their neighbours too.
“If you see something strange happening in the area pay attention to what’s going on,” he said. “Watch the vehicles. It doesn’t hurt to ask people what they’re doing there. If someone is on the road, just ask.”
Fox said at one time a range patrol was organized in the Dauphin area.
“There was something called the Cameron Range Patrol, a group of landowners that organized and travelled the back roads and kept an eye on property and livestock,” he said.
“I think that’s something we may have to revisit again in parts of the province.”
Anyone with information on the Rossburn theft is asked to contact RCMP at 204-859-2057 or call Manitoba Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.