Some cows coming home after rustlers let them go

There’s a new wrinkle in the story about rustlers plaguing ranchers in the remote high-desert region where Oregon, Idaho and Nevada come together — some of the cows are coming home.

Authorities say that as they’ve turned up the pressure, rustlers are turning loose some branded mother cows that could be evidence — but not the unbranded calves.

Cattle have keen homing instincts. Rand and Jayne Collins tell The Oregonian newspaper that 20 mother cows missing since summer have suddenly reappeared at their place in Jordan Valley.

The rustlers have stolen more than 1,200 cattle in Oregon’s Malheur County in the past three years. Authorities say the rustlers are so skillful they have to be local.

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