Reward offered on missing Perkins County cows |

Reward offered on missing Perkins County cows

Vince Gunn is offering a $2,000 reward for seven cows that went missing off his place in June. Staff photo

A Lemmon, South Dakota, rancher has anteed up $2,000 along with the $5,000 reward offered by the state brand board for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a cattle thief.

Vince Gunn said he has been missing seven dry cows since June and he believes they were stolen from his home place. The cows are mostly solid black with one or two possible black baldies in the mix and are branded with a JV over a lazy J on the left rib. All cows were marked with red eartags.

Gunn had sorted off about 30 head of cows for various reasons and was pasturing them right next to his home corrals.

A few days after sorting the cows, Gunn gathered them to sell them and seven of the cows were missing. "They knew what they were doing. They took the big, fat ones." Five dry cows remained in the sale pen, along with some late calvers and some pairs.

Gunn immediately called the sheriff who arrived with a deputy to look over the situation.

Perkins County Sheriff Kelly Serr said in this kind of situation, he finds out when and where the cattle were last seen, when the last good count was taken, whether neighbors have been contacted and neighboring cattle looked through.

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No evidence of unusual tracks could be seen on Gunn's place. The weather had been dry and Gunn himself had been backing up to the corrals with a pickup and trailer, hauling cattle out.

Gunn then turned the loss into his insurance company. Even though his insurance covered theft, he was denied a payment. "They said 'did you have locks on all of your gates?' They said it has to be a breaking and entering."

Gunn said insurance representatives went on to say that the cattle "disappeared" through a "mysterious situation."

"If you go by that, my insurance is worthless," he said.

Serr said he has no leads but that he would entertain any information or thoughts about where the cattle are.

The South Dakota Brand Board investigators had been contacted but were unable to comment on the situation.

According to Debbie Trapp, state brand board executive director, 313 head of unreported strays were returned to their owners in the last fiscal year, during regular brand inspection procedures. Four hundred seventy five head were reported missing in that same time period, with nine of them being recovered. Trapp said often individuals report cattle missing but don't contact the brand board when they are found or recovered.

The South Dakota Brand Board may pay up to $5,000 reward to any person who provides information leading to the conviction of any person for the crime of stealing livestock that are branded with a registered brand with the board.