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Police investigating theft of calf valued at $1,500

February 22, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

SMITHSBURG - Police are investigating the theft of a 500-pound Texas Longhorn calf taken Tuesday from property near Smithsburg, Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Corey McCarthy said.

Police believe the calf was shot early Tuesday, McCarthy said. Track marks and blood droppings in the snow show that the calf was dragged to a nearby lane, where it probably was loaded into a vehicle, he said.

If the cow is found dead, animal cruelty charges and theft charges could apply, McCarthy said. He said the calf's value was $1,500.

Neighbors heard a loud noise between 3:30 and 3:45 a.m., which could have been a gunshot, McCarthy said.

The calf was dragged under a fence and across a neighbor's yard to a lane, where there was a large amount of blood, McCarthy said.

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The calf was one of three calves in a herd of seven Texas Longhorn beef cattle, owner Lizz Huntzberry said.

Huntzberry is offering a cash reward to anyone with information leading to the people who took the calf, she said.

Her cattle were in a pasture behind her home on Greensburg Road since last week's snow and ice storm, Huntzberry said. Whoever took the calf released the other cattle into a larger field, she said.

Randy Sutton, of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., also raises Texas Longhorn cattle. He and other breeders are offering a cash reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of people responsible for taking the calf, Sutton said.

"This is ridiculous," Sutton said. "This is the 21st century, and this is cattle rustling."

Sutton said that local breeders can't put up with such an invasion of privacy.

"These people come in, in the middle of the night ..." he said.

"The only thing we can do, since the vigilante days are over and the posse days are over, is offer a large cash reward," Sutton said.

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