Over 100 head of cattle missing from northern South Dakota county
Four cattle owners in McPherson County, South Dakota have reported missing cattle totaling 111 head.
In South Dakota, a hot brand that is registered with the state is considered proof of ownership statewide. Brand inspection when cattle leave the brand area or change ownership is required in western South Dakota, but not eastern South Dakota where McPherson County is located.
One county east of the Missouri River and bordering North Dakota, McPherson County claims Leola and Eureka as its larger towns.
Gregory, South Dakota brand inspector Jerry Jenson said that a brand does provide proof of ownership for cattle owners in eastern South Dakota. For cattle that are purchased in a brand area (such as western South Dakota or other brand inspection states) a brand clearance can serve as proof of ownership, as well.
“When these things show up, usually the first place you look is the hired man that got fired or is disgruntled, or a relative,” said Jensen who worked as a brand inspector for 43 years but is mostly retired now.
“It has to be someone familiar with the facilities,” he said.
Cattle stolen from eastern South Dakota have been recovered, but they can be harder to track since brand inspection isn’t required, he said.
“They think if they cross the state line nobody knows, but they usually get caught,” he said. “If they have a brand, that’s 50 percent of the battle.”
According to Mcpherson County Sheriff David Ackerman, the four cattle owners have reported the following missing animals:
1. Bruce Mack: 46 head consisting of cows and calves missing from a pasture. There were significantly more cattle than this in the pasture. The cows may be branded with previous owners’ brands. The calves are not branded but should carry white ear tags – heifers in one ear, steers in the other.
2. Ron and Tater Hins of Huron, South Dakota are missing 22 yearling steers from pasture they rent in McPherson County. The steers are branded with their brand.
3. Delbert Leonhardt of Mansfield is missing 39 head consisting of cows and calves. The cows are Hereford and angus, and calves are crossbred. It is not known if the calves are branded.
4. Jason Hammrich of Aberdeen is missing 3 bred cows.
Ackerman did not want to comment on any possible communication with area salebarns. He said the cattle were mostly located in the eastern part of the county, some in more rural areas, and some in easily accessible areas. He didn’t want to say whether loading facilities were available near the cattle.
He suggested that anyone pasturing cattle away from their home community make friends with the neighbors to encourage communication. Good fences also help protect livestock, he said.
The South Dakota chief brand inspector could not be reached to provide information about possible brands on the missing cattle.
Please contact Ackerman at 605-439-3400 with any information about the missing cattle.