POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 6:29pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 7:02pm
Tyler, Texas (KETK) --- — The cattle industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and that's part of the reason cattle theft has increased in our area.
Livestock means money for ranchers in East Texas. Jonathan Oland, rancher from Rio Neches Ranch in Tyler says, cattle are precious to their pastures—and that's exactly why thieves want them.
Oland says, the bigger the cow, the bigger the bill, “About 7 or 8 hundred dollars if they're fat."
In March a rancher from Wood County woke up to what all ranchers dread, a broken lock, and 17 head of Mexican heifers missing.
Most of the time these heifer hijackers are just trying to make a quick profit from the slaughter house.
Oland says typically thieves will sneak on to your property at night and load up as much livestock as they can, he says, “You can't prevent it really, but you can just kind of keep an eye on your stock and know who's coming and going off your place and around and have your neighbors look out."
Cattle rustling is on the rise recent years, by about 30% from 2011 to 2012, according to the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Larry hand, special ranger from the TSCRA says, livestock theft it's a serious offense, “It's an automatic felony. Starts out as 2 to 10 years in the state pen, and or a 10 thousand dollar fine."
Hand says agencies are teaming up to crack down on cattle capers,”We have very good cooperation with local sheriffs we work these cases in conjunction with them"
Hand says unfortunately with the historical high prices on cattle today and record low numbers in cow production, the demand is very high; and the theft will most likely increase in 2013.
If you have information on any cattle thefts please call: Operation Cow Thief 1-888-830-2333
FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.tscra.org/