56 bred heifers missing from Colo. operation | TSLN.com

56 bred heifers missing from Colo. operation

Rachel Gabel
for The Fence Post

Ray Wooters reports 56 bred heifers disappeared from his 70-acre pasture in Aurora, Colo., during the night of Dec. 13. Wooters, who has run cattle in the area for 30 years, said eye witnesses reported seeing the heifers being led by a single horseman.

The heifers, both black and baldies, wear Wooter’s freeze brand heart over a running W as well as a number. The heifers are AI bred to calve this spring.

“Where it sits now is just about anybody and everybody who would be in a position to help keep an eye out for these animals is doing that,” said Chris Whitney, Colorado Brand Commissioner. “I don’t blame somebody for being concerned, that’s a lot of animals.”

Whitney said the case is unusual in terms of information from eye witnesses and expects the case will take time to sort out.

The heifers missing from Wooters’ ranch are among the approximately 600 head reported missing or stolen annually to brand inspection officials in Colorado. Wooters contacted Whitney at 8 p.m. on Dec. 13 and by early the next morning, the theft and description had been disseminated to every county sheriff in the state; all Colorado brand inspectors, supervisors and office personnel; brand inspection personnel in Washington, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana, Kansas, California, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas. The reported information was also sent to the Livestock Marketing Association, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Livestock Association and the International Livestock Identification Association.

Whitney said he encourages livestock owners to contact their local brand inspector immediately, even if they suspect the animal wandered off and may turn up. Doing so is preferential to a report after the animal has been missing for an extended period of time.

The search for Wooters’ heifers continues with cooperation from the Aurora Police Department and brand inspection officials