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Published July 30, 2012, 02:02 PM

Cattle killing reward fund grows

A reward being offered for information in the shooting deaths of nine cattle in western North Dakota has grown to $18,000 — the largest such reward in state history, according to North Dakota Farmers Union.

By: Blake Nicholson, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. — A reward being offered for information in the shooting deaths of nine cattle in western North Dakota has grown to $18,000 — the largest such reward in state history, according to North Dakota Farmers Union.

Most recently, Dakota Community Bank and two of its owners have contributed $3,000, and North Dakota Farmers Union, Farmers Union Service Association and Farmers Union Mutual Insurance together have voted to donate $5,000 to the fund. The donations will boost the fund that began with $1,000 from the Stockmen’s and $9,000 from Miles and Marjorie Tomac and John and Kim Dixon, all of Mandan, N.D. The Tomacs and Dixons owned the Oliver County, N.D., cattle shot on the Fourth of July. The reward is for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

“Dakota Community Bank does business with farmers and ranchers throughout southwest North Dakota every day,” says bank president Dale Pahlke, who contributed to the reward fund, along with Stan Sayler, vice president. “It is disturbing, to say the least, that someone would be out in the country randomly shooting and destroying cattle. We’re hopeful that the added money will entice people who know details about this crime to start talking.”

The shooting was the second such incident in North Dakota in a matter of months. Thirteen cows and a calf were gunned down in David Kluge’s pasture in Richland County in mid-May, in what the Stockmen’s says is the largest cattle shooting in North Dakota in recent memory.

The reward in that case is up to $4,100, according to Stan Misek, chief brand inspector for the Stockmen’s. The amount includes $1,000 from the rancher group, $1,000 from a Washington state man who said he was outraged by the killings, and smaller donations from other people and businesses.

The shootings happened on different sides of the state, and evidence in the case indicates they are not connected, says Steve Brooks, the Stockmen’s brand board chairman. Misek says authorities have some leads in the Richland County case, but not in the Oliver County case.

There also have been no breaks in the shooting deaths of four horses — including two pregnant mares — in Griggs County, N.D., in May 2011. Those killings came about a week and a half after three cows were shot to death in a pasture about a half-mile away.

Such killings are unusual, Misek and Brooks say. Misek says there had been previous incidents where an animal was shot and then butchered, but never a case where so many have been killed and just left behind.

“We just don’t have them happen like that, in those numbers,” Brooks says. “Maybe we’re getting more crazy people running around out there that just don’t have respect for other people’s property.”

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