Cow shot, mutilated in Crawford County -

Cow shot, mutilated in Crawford County

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An investigation is underway after someone mutilated this calf that belongs to the Nolie family of Crawford County. Credit: KMOV An investigation is underway after someone mutilated this calf that belongs to the Nolie family of Crawford County. Credit: KMOV

A troubling case of animal cruelty has farmers on alert in rural Missouri.

Both agents with the Missouri Department of Conservation and deputies with the Crawford County Sheriff's Department are investigating after a calf was found shot and mutilated on a farm outside of Sullivan.

"Almost all the cattle over here are dad's," said Bobby Nolie of the livestock on the family's farm. "My dad came out here to check the cattle one morning and found this gate here off the hinges and left wide open."

In a field nearby, an even more troubling discovery, a dead calf.

"It was laying on its side. The bullet hole you could see. And it just appeared someone had cut the hind quarters off. The legs, we found where they cut them off and threw them on the ground," said Nolie.

Nolie's 12-year-old son was checking the cattle with his grandpa that day.

"You teach your children to respect people’s property and then they see it violated like this," said Nolie. "You raise these animals and you get as close to them as a lot of people do with their pets. It's upsetting when something like that happens."

Nolie took to Facebook to warn other farmers. His post was shared more than 5,000 times in less than a week.

"It was amazing the amount of people who noticed it and that was really our goal. We wanted to get it out in the public for all the ranchers around here to know and be watching out for it," said Nolie.

Some skeptics from out of town noted the lack of blood nearby. Nolie explained it rained that night and other cows likely licked up some of the scene, as he has seen them do when one of the herd is injured.

Sadly, this is one of two cases currently being investigated by the Crawford County Sheriff's Department and Missouri Conservation agents.

"To be honest with you, the type of people who do this kind of incident, shooting cattle or horses, are also out trying to poach deer at night," said Tim Tallent, an agent who works in the St. Louis region.

While they do not believe a case that happened in the same week in nearby Cuba, MO involving a poached buck with its rack cut off is connected, it does have them on alert.

"Our agents, starting from now until late into the winter, we work a lot of nights in these areas trying to catch poachers so the likelihood of one of us running into someone trying to steal farm equipment or shooting cattle is pretty high," said Talent.

If caught, deer poachers can face a Class A Misdemeanor. But the penalty for killing livestock, like the Nolie's calf, is much harsher. According to MO Statute 569.100, if the animal is valued at more than $750, it is considered property damage in the first-degree, which is a Class D felony. In this case, conservation agents estimate the calf was valued about $825, plus the thousands of dollars it could have had in future income, had it mothered future calves. Additionally, suspects can be charged with trespassing, which is a misdemeanor.

"That particular one was a heifer which can be kept back in the herd and turned into a momma cow which over a lifetime could raise 10-12 calves," said Nolie.

Anyone with information on either case is asked to call the Crawford County Sheriff's or the Missouri Department of Conservation, which has an anonymous tip line at 1-800-392-1111.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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