NEWFANE N.Y. (WIVB) — The cattle battle in Niagara County continues, as around hundred people protest outside Asha’s Farm Sanctuary demanding the owner releases two cows.

In a story News 4 told viewers first, two cows somehow found their way from McKee Farms to an animal sanctuary in the town and owner Tracy Murphy does not want to give them back to the original owner. It’s creating an uproar throughout Niagara County. People on both sides of this issue held dueling protests today.

“This has just taken off in Newfane, we got our neighbors back,” said local farmer Ed Pettitt, who wants the sanctuary to release the cows back to McKee Farms.

“Just return the cows because it’s going to effect your animals. This drama in this community will effect the animals, it’s taking away from her cause and I don’t want that to happen,” said Jeanette Miller, who’s the President of the Niagara County Farm Bureau.

During a protest Sunday there were people against the sanctuary’s actions and people in support of them.

“We’re here to speak for Tracy, to stand for her, we’re here to stand for the sanctuary and we’re here to stand for the animals,” said Christine Collins, a volunteer at Asha’s Farm Sanctuary. “We are here with the message of compassion and kindness toward all living beings, we don’t need to kill animals to survive.”

“I just couldn’t sit by and let that happen to one of my neighbors,” Pettitt said. “Because fundamentally, if she got away with it, that would mean none of us have rights to our own livestock anymore.”

“I don’t think it’s right, whether you’re a vegan, not a vegan. I just don’t think it’s right that she stole cows that don’t belong to her,” said Kathy Maynard, who was out protesting.

Those wanting Murphy to return the cattle, are calling her, a beef thief. However, Murphy tells News 4 that she believes she’s in the legal right to hold on to the animals.

“I’m happy she cares, but theft is wrong. She’s mixing the message of what’s she’s doing with theft,” Miller said.

The two cows are beef cows and they were being raised to eventually be turned into food, something the sanctuary is against.

“There’s a lot of hypocrisy in what they’re saying. They’re talking about morals and ethics. They’re talking about stealing. They steal the lives of innocent animals everyday,” Collins said.

Local law agencies are investigating.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter from Buffalo, N.Y. who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.