County sheriff offers tips to deter vandals
According to Wabash County Sheriff Larry Striker, a lot more has changed in today’s countryside than just the near-total removal of fences.
“Thirty or forty years ago, people in the country were mostly farmers, everyone knew their neighbors, and parents held their kids more accountable,” says Striker. “That’s really not the case anymore, and many kids who live in the country really don’t understand livestock.”
Striker says that this ignorance, coupled with behaviors like “cow-tipping” or “slapping the bull,” which are glamorized in movies, sometimes lead teenagers or young adults into an adventure in the country, with little or no understanding of the potential consequences.
• Makeup of the countryside is different today than it was 30 years ago.
• Call law enforcement if you suspect vandalism or theft.
• Resist the temptation to take matters into your own hands.
Striker offers these tips.
Harden your property: Padlocking gates and posting “No trespassing” signs are good practices. Take photos of the signs for your records.
Notify the sheriff immediately: Do it for any livestock emergency.
Enlist the help of neighbors: Have them on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
Consider installing a video surveillance system: Relatively inexpensive equipment is available.
Don’t take matters into your own hands: Even if a farmer intends nothing more than firing a shotgun into the air to “put the fear of God” into youthful trespassers, it could backfire, with the farmer charged with criminal recklessness. A better practice is to get a good description of trespassers and notify local law enforcement.
This article published in the June, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.