Umatilla and Morrow County Sheriff's are asking for input and warning residents who have cattle on their acreage to keep an eye on their water supplies.

According to officials, a number of ranchers in the Weston, OR area, especially where Highway 204 cuts through some of their acreage, are reporting water valves deliberately turned off on the large cattle tanks, or valve floats being removed altogether.

A cattle float is a self-regulating device that allows water to flow into those large metal open tanks you see on farms that cattle use to drink from. Once the water flows in, when the tank is full (depending upon how high you want the level) the float shuts off the supply. When it gets below  a certain level, it refills. It allows the cattle and other animals a supply of water without wasting it, or having to regulate constantly.

Sheriff's say several ranchers have reported finding dead or very sick cattle, because somebody shut off their valves, or removed the floats and the animals ran out of water. Especially in this heat, they can wither away fast. Authorities asking for anyone with any information to call (541)-966-3651. All leads can be confidential. Given that a number of cattle have died, they're not cheap, and anyone caught doing this will face serious charges. Likely animal cruelty charges as well.

Officials say it's human caused, unless a float fails (unlikely) someone is responsible for shutting off numerous tanks.

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