Missouri Storeowner Rallies Ranchers against Rustling, Burglaries

JANUARY 23, 2006 - Posted at 2:36 p.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD, MO - Farmers and property owners in southwest Missouri plan to set up a protection association to deter cattle thieves and ward off a modern legal peril: liability if they hurt a criminal.

Dale Horner is owner of the Madry Store in Berry County.  Recently Horner started sleeping in his business to keep burglars away.

In recent months the rustling problem has escalated, following a national trend as cattle prices have risen as much as 30 percent in the past two years.

Horner said up to $50,000 worth of cattle has been stolen from within five miles of his store since November.

Horner's idea to form a limited liability corporation will be discussed during a meeting at his store tomorrow night.

Besides acting as a neighborhood watch group and posting signs aimed at deterring thieves, the association would act as a liability shield for its members.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)