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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)  –  In Lawrence County, there’s a warning out to farmers to keep a closer eye on their livestock and gates.

That comes after the recent thefts of 12 horses and some cattle.

“We just check and make sure they’re all okay every day,” said Wayne Hensley, a cattle farmer in Morgan County who also manages the Northwest Alabama Livestock Stockyard in Moulton.

He’s concerned about reports from farmers in Lawrence County who have noticed their livestock missing.

Most recently, someone stole 12 horses from a farm on county road 200 less than two weeks ago.

Relatives of the 85-year-old farmer, Paul Prince, posted the information on Facebook.

“They meant a lot to him, his horses he uses; he rides, pulls his wagons with, trail rides, have fun with,” said Hensley, who’s a lifetime friend of Prince.

He added Prince gave him a flier to post at the stockyard.  Horse sales are set for next Friday, February 6th there.

Other farmers in Lawrence County, who didn’t want to be identified, say the thefts occurred in broad daylight.   They say a trailer pulled up, loaded up the animals and just drove off.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s office is investigating.

Sheriff Gene Mitchell said he believes the horses were stolen to be sold to a slaughter house for maybe $400 each.

Cattle can bring in more money, about $1,000 each.

Mitchell confirms there have been reports of missing cattle too.

Hensley is issuing a warning to farmers.

“Everybody needs to start keeping their gates locked and feed the cows back off the road like this where they can’t just ease up to a gate and load them up, you know.”

He said the same goes for horses, which can be so calm, they may just willingly step into a trailer never to be seen again.

Anyone with information can contact the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office or farmer Paul Prince directly at 256-303-6888.