Texas cattle raisers association ranger says rustling still a modern-day crime
“It is indeed much more prevalent than the average person thinks of it.”
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Larry Hand is a special ranger with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He says cattle rustling can not only take the form of physical theft, but also through various digital formats like online auctions as well as through passing bad checks.
Hand said they typically see “30 to 50 cases a year. That may not sound that many, but some of these cases go on for months at a time.”
One way to prevent this crime is branding the animals. Rustlers often look for ones that are not branded.
“Because it helps us and our marketing inspectors who are stationed at various livestock auction barns across Texas, it helps us to track and possibly locate stolen cattle on your behalf if you’re the victim,” Hand said.
For absentee landowners, Hand suggests doing random visits of the land.
“Keeping good records, vetting your employees to make sure they have a good solid background before you put them on the payroll, as well as contracting persons who come on to work your animals.”
He also says many thefts first appear on paper so keep receipts as a backup, and do research when doing business with new customers.
In the late 1800s, cattle rustling was a hanging offense. Now, the penalty starts at a third-degree felony for one head of cattle. a person could face two to ten years of jail time and/or a 10 thousand dollar fine.
But if the victim is 65 years or older, “It automatically jumps it from a third degree to a second degree,” said Hand.
Hand advises livestock owners to get familiar with your special ranger in your district, as they are there to help and protect victims from these crimes.
Copyright 2023 KLTV. All rights reserved.