The Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency (OSMA) is urging producers to keep a close watch on their sheep and lambs, as strong prices can cause an uptick in sheep rustling incidences.
Stock is at risk in pastures and in barns, and farmers are encouraged to take some extra time to deter thieves. This may include:
- Limiting access to barns or paddocks by installing locks on main access gates (gates at the road or driveway),
- Making sure animals are tagged with RFID tags and/or other forms of identification,
- Keeping record of the number of animals in each pen or area and checking on them frequently
- Counting the number of animals in each pasture or pen often to keep tabs on any missing animals
- Have a livestock guardian dog or farm dog present to discourage entry.
- No trespassing signs may also discourage unauthorized vehicles from entering your property
If you think your sheep or lambs have been stolen you should immediately notify the OPP and your insurance company about the theft, OSMA says. Be sure to give a description of the sheep and/or lambs (quantity missing, approximate size or weight, RFID tag numbers or other identification, if possible). You should also call the OSMA Office at 519-836-0043.
OSMA will notify the sales barns of the theft and will give a description of your lambs on your behalf. OSMA will also advise the OPP of which sales barns have sales scheduled in the immediate future as well as notify OMAFRA including the OMAFRA office in the affected area.