Ag Dept. hunts down cattle rustlers

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  Cattle rustling didn't die with the old west. If it had Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks and his team of investigators wouldn't have had to hunt down two suspects accused of steeling bulls and cows.

The stolen cattle taken from Pike and Russell Counties earlier week included two Brahman bulls  and fifteen cows.

Sparks said an intense joint investigation by the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries Investigations Division, Pike County Sheriff's Office, Troy Police Department, Russell County Sheriff's Office, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and the Marion County Sheriff's Office in Georgia led to two suspects. Those two were identified as Kellie Bowen and Lenny Parker, though no other information was immediately available about them.

Bowen and Parker were arrested in Georgia where charges are expected to be filed in Georgia. Charges are also pending in both Russell and Pike counties.

"Cattle rustlers in this state have been warned: We are on your trail," said Sparks.  "The Department of Agriculture & Industries and other state and local law enforcement agencies are working together and getting results.  We have built good relationships with neighboring states and criminals cannot get far without being discovered."

Both of the Brahman bulls were well-branded and have already been returned to their owner, according to Sparks.

Only nine of the 15 stolen cows are still alive. Authorities say six died while the suspects were transporting them and the remaining animals were released into a wooded area in Georgia. Investigators are in the process of recovering those cows and returning them to their owner.

The investigation is ongoing.