Jim Patten has been farming cattle for nearly 40 years and has had about 20 go missing in the last three years, a first for him.
After reporting the missing cattle to law enforcement, Patten is now offering a cash reward for information about two incidents hoping to generate interest.
“About three years ago I had eight to disappear,” Patten said. “This February I had about a dozen go missing again.”
Patten said he filed a report with the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department and it passed the case along to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to investigate.
Patten said the cattle have disappeared from his farm on Old Providence Road in the Hackneyville community.
“The first time, the fences were in bad shape,” Patten said. “We went and built really fine fences after that. The last dozen that went missing, we couldn’t find where they might have gotten out.”
Patten said he thinks someone might have opened the gates to steal the dozen cattle taken in February and is unsure what might have happened three years ago.
“I have heard reports of people seeing some cattle at a distance that could be them,” Patten said.
Patten started cattle farming in 1980 and now has about 100 broodstock with three bulls.
“I bought my first 20 then,” he said.
Patten has taken a few steps to help law enforcement investigate his missing cattle he said are worth more than $1,200 each. He estimates his loss between $25,000 and $30,000 when accounting for the extra offspring from those lost a few years ago.
“My son is a veterinarian,” Patten said. “He has drawn blood from the dominant herd sire for DNA purposes.”
In addition to the DNA work for genetics testing, Patten is offering a reward of $50 per cow for information leading to their recovery and $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of someone found guilty of taking his cattle.
Those with information about the case are asked to call the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department at 256-825-4264 or Patten at 334-750-7030.