Austin, Texas - Thieves who steal cattle will face harsher penalties starting last week. Persons who steal less than 10 head of cattle, horses, exotic wildlife or fowl could be convicted of a third degree felony and face up to 10 years in prison, according to a law passed by the Texas Legislature in May that went into effect last Tuesday.
“Cattle theft is on the rise in Texas, especially during these tough economic times,” Larry Gray, TSCRA executive director of law enforcement said. “In 2007, 2,400 head of cattle were reported stolen to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). In 2008, that number jumped to 6,404. We expect those numbers to continue to rise in 2009.
“Until today, theft of less than 10 head of cattle, horses or exotic wildlife was a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in jail. The new law will result in some criminals, especially repeat offenders, spending more time in jail,” Gray continued.
TSCRA has 29 Special Rangers stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma who work alongside law enforcement agencies to investigate agricultural crimes, primarily cattle theft. All have in-depth knowledge of the cattle industry and are trained in all facets of law enforcement. They are commissioned as Special Rangers by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 132-year-old trade organization and is the largest livestock association in Texas. TSCRA has more than 15,000 members who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 51.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement services, livestock inspection, legislative and regulatory advocacy and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.