ONL Staff Report
The Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Department has been busy lately keeping up with a number of loose animal reports in the county.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Sheriff Steve Worley told the county commissioners on Monday.
The county has recently entered into a contract with four individuals to capture and transport animals as necessary to insure the safety of the citizens of Okfuskee County. This includes herding animals off the roadways to a safe area, keeping and caring for the animals that are captured, and releasing the animals when cleared by the sheriff.
Sheriff Worley said to date, 15 cows and four horses have been caught that were loose in the county. Four cows have also been hit by vehicles on the roadways of the county.
According to Oklahoma state law, “All domestic animals shall be restrained by the owner thereof at all times and seasons of the year from running at large in the State of Oklahoma. Damages sustained by reason of such domestic animals trespassing upon lands of another shall be recovered in a manner provided by law. For the purpose of this act, [FN1] domestic animals shall include cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, exotic livestock and all other animals not considered wild. The term ’domestic animals’ shall not include domestic house pets or feral hogs.”
The sheriff said all the owners of the animals captured were contacted and the livestock were returned to them. Worley did say however, that if an animal is captured and the owner does not come forward to claim it, he has the right as sheriff to sell the animal according to state statute. The money from the sale of unclaimed animals will reimburse the county for expenses and damages. All remaining money, if any, is to be held by the treasurer in a special fund from which payment may be made to a claimant who has been determined by the district court to be the owner of the stray animal. If not expended pursuant to court order within one year the funds deposited will be credited to the county general fund.
Worley said his office will be filing charges on owners who have been warned and still allowed their livestock to run-at-large. He said if an animal on a roadway is struck by a vehicle, charges may be filed.
If you see loose livestock putting drivers in jeopardy, you are asked to call the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Department at 918-623-1122.