SAUK COUNTY (WKOW) -- Since May, North Freedom farmer Richard Bruckert has hoped to find a missing Angus white face. The cow got through a frayed section of fence along with three other cows, who were all located.
But Bruckert's search was stopped at the property line of a neighboring farmer, even though Bruckert was informed a trail camera photo from the neighbor's property showed his cow walking by.
"I said, 'I'm Richard Bruckert, I hear that my cow is up in the woods.' And she said, 'You are not welcome here.' "
Bruckert says he had never met neighbor Mary Peetz, although he knew her late husband, a former town chairman in their community. Bruckert says he has no idea why she took the stance she did with him.
"I have not a clue, not a clue," Bruckert tells 27 News.
With the neighbors unable to resolve matters person-to-person, Bruckert filed a small claims case against Peetz in Sauk County Court for what he says is the value of the cow: $882.
A judge Monday ruled in Peetz's favor, with court notes stating "...Bruckert has not met his burden of proof as to...who had possession of the animal in question."
Peetz's attorney, Forrest Hartmann, tells 27 News Peetz had reasons for barring Bruckert from a search of her property, but does not elaborate.
Hartmann says Peetz had no involvement with the missing cow. "She's never seen it."
"The cow visited three other farms besides," Hartmann tells 27 News. "It was just roaming around the countryside."
The 78-year old Bruckert concedes his run away cow traveled through several properties, but says the trail photo was the best lead to its whereabouts.
Bruckert says the animal's lost value is a financial hit he can absorb. But Bruckert tells 27 News there's a larger cost in community ties.
"It's still very disgusting she wouldn't let me go her property."
Peetz has yet to return a call from 27 News, seeking comment on the cow case.
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