New software helps Hodgeman County keep livestock off roads

JETMORE, Kansas – They may look like just cattle to you, but to a rancher, they’re an investment.

In fact, each is worth about $15,000 when fully grown.

That’s one reason why law enforcement in Southwest Kansas are using new technologies to keep both their residents and their resident’s livestock safe.

Rhonda Stithem and her husband Jerry raise calves for 4-h and FFA shows in Hodgeman County.

They have a herd of about thirty calves and sometimes they can have a mind of their own.

“Livestock are bound and determined to get out,” said Rhonda Stithem. “No matter how good of a fence you have, there could be safety issues with a bad storm that comes through and spooks them, or they’re just crowding a fence, stopping flies and get a gate open.”

The Hodgeman County Sheriff’s office is working with a new software to make rounding up and returning that cattle a little easier.

“Right now we’re averaging one, two, three cows out a day,” said Jared Walker, Hodgeman County Sheriff.

This new software allows dispatch to quickly locate the cattle’s owners when they’re reported out of their herd.

“If we get a report of it, all they have to do is turn around, find the area of the county that they’re out in and click on an icon that’ll bring up the owner name and phone number that’s in that area,” Walker said.

The Hodgeman County Sheriff’s Department says that since January alone, there have been three to four car accidents caused by cattle getting onto the road.

They say it’s especially dangerous after dark.

“At night time we don’t see them until it’s too late,” Walker said.

This software will replace the current difficult task of having to search through a notebook and a crowded map, just to find the owner of cattle on the loose.

“I’ve had pretty good feedback from some of the farmers giving us names, phone numbers and locations,” Walker said.

“No livestock producer wants their animals roaming anywhere,” said Stithem. “It’s just not good for anybody.”

The Hodgeman County Sheriff is asking that anyone with livestock in the area, call in to give their information, so they too, can be added into the software.

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