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Utah ag groups join to fight cattle shooting with rewards for information.

November 29, 2010

2 Min Read

The Utah Farm Bureau Federation will join five other organizations in a reward presentation for four men who provided information that led to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for shooting  deaths of Tooele County in early 2010.

The state bureau joins the Tooele County Farm Bureau, Humane Society of Utah, Utah Farmers Union and the Tooele County Commission, and one of the ranchers involved in presenting a $4,000 reward to be split among four witnesses.

On Jan. 2, 2010, the Tooele County Sheriff's Department was notified through a phone call of a livestock shooting that took place in the Skull Valley area of the county. Michael Ostler, along with Christopher Ostler, Tanner Ostler and James Christopherson, witnessed the shootings and called law enforcement to assist in the investigation.

Upon meeting with law enforcement, the witnesses helped officers in locating three cows which had been shot. Using the witness information, four individuals were arrested and convicted of the crime. As a direct result of the witnesses' assistance, the victims of the crime received three times the value of the animals which were lost in restitution.

"These witnesses could have disregarded the criminal activity taking place as they were under no legal duty to act," says Gary Searle, chief deputy in the Tooele County Attorney's Office. "However, they did what we in law enforcement hope any good citizen would do – they reported the crime and assisted in the investigation which brought the perpetrators to justice."

The agricultural industry is "grateful" and wants to thanks the witnesses for their role, says Leland Hogan, president of the UFBF. "Citizen participation is critical to upholding our society of laws and serves as a deterrent for criminal activity."

Shooting of the cattle was labeled an "egregious act" Gene Baierschmidt, Humane Society of Utah executive director. "All of us in the Humane Society of Utah were outraged when we learned about this incident.

"These animals were the victims of a callous act and we, as an organization, are pleased to join  the strong stand taken by the Utah Farm Bureau by honoring those individuals who did the right thing by contacting law enforcement officers and identifying the guilty parties.

"Hopefully, this will serve as a deterrent and prevent crimes of this nature from happening in the future."

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