Deputies investigating series of cattle executions

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GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- It's a situation Len Silvers has faced on his farm in Patriot, Ohio so many times, he has lost count.

Over the last six years, Silvers estimates he has lost at least 16 to 18 cattle after someone has come on to his farm at night and shot them. Within the last six weeks alone, he has lost four.

"For no reason at all, somebody is taking something from you that you have worked to acquire," said Silvers.

For Silvers, his livestock mean more to him than just his livelihood. A calf killed in the most recent shooting was more like a pet to Silvers and his wife.

"When she was born, the mother had trouble. We took the calf and raised it by a bottle. That calf would follow me around like my dog would."

Silvers says the killings are also becoming a safety concern for his family, knowing that someone is coming around his property with a gun. It's a problem Silvers says he hasn't had on the property he's called home since the mid 1940s.

"You hear people talk about how they've been attacked or whatever. It's a big thing, they feel like they've been invaded," he said. "I can sure sympathize with that. That's exactly what this feels like."

A question Silvers hopes to eventually get answered is why.

"If you could put a reason on it, it would be easier to swallow," said Silvers. "Wouldn't make it right, but it'd be easier to swallow."

What bothers Silvers most is the fact that someone is harming defenseless animals by shooting them and leaving them to die in a pasture.

"I've been mad enough that I could have knocked the devil out of a man, but I have never in my life been to the point that I could do something to a harmless animal," Silvers said.

The shootings aren't just disturbing to Silvers, but to investigators, as well.

"I am outraged by the senseless acts being committed against this farmer and his defenseless livestock. Whoever is committing this act, I want you to know that you should be ashamed of yourself," Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin said.

The sheriff is asking citizens of the surrounding areas to come forward with any information regarding the investigation.

Silvers says he is offering a $2,500 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of who is responsible.

"Bud, you've had it," said Silvers. "I can promise you that sooner or later, you're gonna slip up and we're gonna get a hold of ya and I can promise you, you're gonna go to jail."

The Gallia County Sheriff's office can be reached at (740) 446-1221 or by way of the anonymous tip line at (740) 446-6555.

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