As a long time dairy farmer Margaret Silva has grown accustomed to finding the odd thing here or there swiped by thieves prowling the countryside. But the discovery that 21 calves had been stolen from her farm caught her completely off-guard.
“I’ve been on dairy farms all my life and I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Silva said. “Who would do this? This is our livelihood.”
The theft of the calves occurred sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning at a dairy in Hilmar. Silva did not want the name of the dairy or its location identified.
The theft suspect(s) pulled and dragged 21 Jersey, Jersey Cross, and Holstein calves from the dairy. The calves ranged in age from two days to eight weeks and are valued at $300 to $500 each.
“These were some of our next generation of milking cows, “Silva said. “There is a lot of work and planning involved to keep your herd healthy and strong, so this is a pretty big hit for us.
“As dairy farmers we do what is right for our cows, so not knowing who has them or if they are taking care of them is really hard. It’s sickening,” Silva added.
Silva said she has been in contact with all the brand inspectors in the area, as well as auction yards, letting them know about the thefts and asking them to keep an eye out for her stolen calves. She also took to social media to help spread the word.
The calves have fresh dehorning cream on them, as well as ear tags that are white, green, or blue.
Anyone with information about the thefts or the whereabouts of the calves is asked to contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Department at 385-7434.