For one thing, he’s offering gainful employment to people who stole animals from his farm. And for anyone providing tips that lead to the recovery of stolen tools, there’s a reward of Berkshire bacon.
Burns, who owns Moo Nay Farms, in Cook’s Brook, had pigs, piglets and hens stolen in June. Then, sometime between July 24 and 27, a thief made off with several tools.
Burns operates a free range farm and when six Berkshire pigs went missing over a period of time he first thought they might be somewhere on the property.
“I knew they were missing but there are 65 acres and I thought they might just not be coming to eat,” he said. “I couldn’t find them when I looked and I knew something was wrong.”
Then he discovered the remains of a sow on the edge of his property. Someone had killed her and taken parts for meat, but left the hide and head.
“It’s somebody who knows what they’re doing around pigs,” said Burns. “I think maybe they had trouble trying to take her or she was being protective so they killed her.”
Along with the adult pigs, he says eight or nine piglets and about 40 hens were stolen. He estimates their value at $4,000 to $5,000.
His animals are accustomed to being fed from the back of a truck so they gather around when they see one. Because the farm offers tours and hosts parties and corporate outings, the animals are also comfortable with visitors.
“We’ve been here four years and had nothing like this happen before,” he said. “A neighbour had animals go missing recently, too.
“It’s really disappointing. Our goal is to give the animals a good pasture life and we want this to be a place where everybody can feel safe.”
Anyone with information on the thefts or killing of the sow should contact RCMP or CrimeStoppers.
Looking for help
Melvin Burns discovered his tools were taken from a shed when he went to get them to build a shelter for his horses.
He posted a message on Facebook about how important the tools are to the farm, saying, “Please… if you need money and are close to our farm, offer your labour, offer your time constructively… it can earn you money, respect and a future in the community as opposed to behind bars.”
He is also offering five pounds of Berkshire bacon for information that leads to the return of the tools, or proof of who took them. Other arrangements can be made if the person is a vegetarian.
Among the items stolen were:
One 18v Dewalt driver and charger
One 20v Dewalt driver
One 20v Dewalt grinder
Two 20v Dewalt chargers
One 20v Dewalt drill..the good one
One Mastercraft socket set
One Pittsburg Socket set (This set stands out because it is not available in Canada. It is about 2-ft. x 14-in., and 8in. deep with pull-out plastic trays. Tools have the Pittsburg stamp.)