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Larimer County man arrested for shooting, killing multiple cattle that belonged to his neighbors, deputies say

Losses to neighbors from dead cattle estimated to be over $30,000; suspect facing nearly two dozen felony charges
Cows assist in arrest of reckless driver, police say
Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 09, 2024

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — A Larimer County man faces nearly two dozen felony charges for shooting and killing multiple cattle that belonged to his neighbors, according to deputies with the sheriff’s office.

The investigation into 37-year-old Michael Hester began April 1, when the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office received a report that Hester had shot and killed livestock around his property. Responding deputies were told by neighbors that Hester had driven a UTV around while shooting at their livestock.

After obtaining a search warrant, deputies found a total of seven dead cattle in various locations in the area, along with an eighth cow that had been critically injured and had to be euthanized, according to a news release.

A brand inspector and licensed livestock appraiser were then sought out to assess the value of the lost cattle, which was determined to be over $30,000.

Hester was arrested during the original call and was issued a $5,000 personal recognizance bond by the Larimer County Court. He faces additional felony charges including nine counts of aggravated animal cruelty, second-degree criminal trespass, eight counts of theft of certain animals, and shooting across a public highway.

“This crime shows a disturbing disregard for life and livelihood,” said Undersheriff Joe Shellhammer, who leads the LCSO Operations Division, in a statement. “We know how much these animals mean to our ranching community, and we won’t tolerate actions that threaten their welfare.”

The Colorado statute commonly known as the “Open Range Law” allows livestock owners to graze animals without containment. Residents who want to restrict livestock access to their property are required to fence off these areas, deputies said.

Anyone with information about this crime who has not already spoken with law enforcement may contact Deputy Andrea Maxwell at 970-498-5411. People can also contact Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at 970-221-6868.

Deputies: Larimer Co. man arrested for killing cattle that belonged to neighbors


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