STONE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The search continues for nearly a dozen cows that disappeared in Stone County over the weekend.
Bruce Meadows said his cattle were stolen sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Authorities are now looking for the livestock thieves.
Meadows’ farm has around 80 cows but 11 of them were unaccounted for Sunday morning when he went to check on them. The heifers are Black Baldys, characterized by their black and white faces. Altogether, Meadows puts their worth at around $10,000.
“I just want my cows back,” Meadows said.
According to Meadows, he normally keeps a lock on the gate, which holds the cows but the gate was unlocked that night because he had workers moving things on the farm. The heifers were the only things stolen from the farm.
“Cattle rustling is still alive in Mississippi,” said investigator Ray Boggs, who is looking into the disappearance.
According to the State Department of Agriculture, around 50 cases of cattle theft were reported in 2018.
Although Boggs says stolen cows isn’t something he usually sees in Stone County, there is evidence the cows walked out of the gate and onto the road.
“They have to have shade and water,” explained Boggs. “With that element and the grass that’s how you kind of search.”
However, a search of the area didn’t produce the cows, leading Boggs to believe they were stolen. Additionally, authorities said horse tracks and horse poop were found in the area. Meadows doesn’t own any horses.
Boggs said cow thieves would have to have a certain skill set.
“You’ve got to be knowledgeable of cows,” said the investigator. “You have to know how to load them, know how to get them into your trailer and get them out of the area real quick.”
Investigators visited stockyards earlier this week in Hattiesburg and Tylertown to warn others about the missing cows.
“If one rancher is missing cattle, all ranchers could be missing cattle," said Boggs. “So they all band together and say, ‘If they stole his cattle, mine might be next.'”
In the meantime, Meadows’ family is doing everything they can to help authorities. A plea from his daughter on Facebook said the cattle farmer is “absolutely sick” over the heifers being stolen.
“My father is such a hard worker and would give the shirt off of his back for anyone and he is absolutely SICK over this,” said Madelyn Meadows. “My dad is seriously the hardest working man I’ve ever known. He comes home every day covered in dirt and grease from head to toe but he does it all for the love of his family!!! Truly the definition of a good ole boy and he deserves justice and for this thief to be apprehended!!!!”
If you have any information about this incident or the whereabouts of the missing cows, contact the Stone County Sheriff’s Department at 601-928-3191. To make an anonymous report, please contact Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers online or by phone at 877-787-5898.