Theft of farm gate put animals and drivers at risk, says owner

The theft of a 12-foot livestock gate from a Saanich hobby farm has the family and police scratching their heads.

In the early morning hours of Monday, someone stole the 12-foot gate that helps protects the Harding family’s horse, donkeys, chickens, ducks and dog — cutting its lock, lifting it off its hinges and making a clean getaway.

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“Who steals a farm gate? I mean, really?” Bill Harding said Tuesday.

“The cop I talked to said he’s investigated something like 3,000 cases, and he said he’s never heard of anything like this. It’s bizarre … theatre of the absurd.”

None of the animals escaped the property or wandered out into busy Interurban Road over the several hours that the gate was missing, said Harding.

His daughter, Katy, who has a tiny home on the property, noticed the missing gate Monday morning and alerted her parents, who called police and were able to find a replacement gate on the property.

The stolen gate, which had been hanging over the driveway for 25 years, wasn’t anything special, Harding said — tubular steel with a little rust, and a replacement value estimated at $300 to $500.

It was covered with a mesh plastic to keep the smaller animals inside, but that was rolled up neatly and left at the site, he said.

Thieves appear to have made at least two attempts to cut the chain links looping the gate post and secured by a lock, likely using bolt cutters.

Scrap steel buyers are being alerted to be on the lookout for anyone bringing in a gate to sell. Harding said he was also told by a friend about a social media post by someone looking for a farm gate.

He called that person to ask if anyone had answered the ad, and was told nobody had replied.

“It’s not worth that much for scrap, and it’s certainly not worth going to jail over a $300 gate,” he said.

“The big thing for me and my family … it’s the gall of someone taking a gate and potentially letting animals out on a busy road where the animals — and people in cars — are in real danger.”

Anyone with information about the theft can contact the Saanich police non-emergency line and refer to case number 21-1426.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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