Rustling: threat to ranchers

By Drew DeBerry
Texas Deputy Agriculture Commissioner

Cattle rustling, a crime many people associate with outlaws from the days of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, is on the rise in 21st century Texas.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) reports that in 2009, approximately 7,400 head of cattle were stolen in Texas - 1,000 more than the previous year.

With steer and heifer calves worth as much as $650 or more, cattle losses to r ustling can devastate a rancher’s livelihood. Although Texas doesn’t require livestock branding, it can go a long way in identifying stolen cattle. Brands can be recorded at the county clerk’s office and are helpful to law enforcement when tracking stolen cattle.

Common sense measures like locking gates and building pens away from main roads can also help deter thieves.

If you are the victim of cattle rustling, contact your local sheriff, then call the TSCRA Special R angers at (800) 242-7820. TSCRA offers a cash reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and grand jury indictment of rustlers through its “Operation Cow Thief” hotline, (888)-830-2333.

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2010-10-28 digital edition

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