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Owner believes missing cows were stolen

November 30, 1997

Owner believes missing cows were stolen

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - A Mercersburg, Pa., dairy farmer is hoping deer hunters will flush out nine Holstein heifers this week that have been missing since last Tuesday after a gate was found open to the pasture.

But just in case the missing young black and white cows don't show up, owner Garry Martin has contacted most of the cattle auctions on the East Coast and Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the incident as a theft.

Early last Tuesday morning, Martin awoke to a telephone call from a neighboring farmer who reported a group of Martin's heifers were on his property.

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Since it was still dark, Martin said they put them into his neighbor's pasture until later that morning.

Once Martin got the animals back to their own pasture off of Reeder Road, he said he realized he was short nine. After counting the herd several times and checking records, Martin came up with a list identifying the missing heifers.

"I just figured they would end up at somebody else's farm," Martin said.

His wife called around to the neighbors asking them to be on the lookout for the breeding-age heifers with blue ear tags, Pennsylvania ear tags and docked tails.

Martin also drove around the area in search of the animals.

But as each day goes by, Martin gets more suspicious since it's unlikely nine loose heifers would go unnoticed for this long.

"I feel that if they're not stolen, somebody would have run into them somewhere, somehow," he said.

Also, Martin discovered that the gate the heifers walked through was wide open. Since the gate doesn't swing open, someone has to physically lift it off the ground and drag it open, Martin said, leading him to believe his animals may have been stolen or someone opened the gate as a prank.

Martin lives five miles away from the heifer pasture and neighbors told him they don't remember hearing anything that night.

The heifers have all been vaccinated and are worth between an estimated $500 and $600 each, Martin said.

Though the animals are insured, Martin said he doesn't want to turn in a claim in case hunters discover them somewhere in the woods.

Anyone with information can call state police at 1-717-264-5161.

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