For Immediate Release: April 6, 2011
Contact: Carmen Fenton, 512-469-0171
Fort Worth, Texas – Stolen livestock and ranch equipment worth more than $3.6 million were recovered or accounted for in 2010 by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Rangers.
The Fort Worth-based producer group was founded 134 years ago to fight cattle theft in Texas, a problem that still plagues ranchers today.
In 2010, more than 7,700 head of cattle and horses were reported missing or stolen to TSCRA, a slight jump from 2009 when the number peaked at just over 7,400.
“Livestock and ranch equipment theft is a big problem in Texas,” said Larry Gray, the association’s executive director of law enforcement. “The good news is that most of these thieves get caught because of the hard work and dedication of the special rangers.”
In 2010, TSCRA Special Rangers investigated 978 cases in Texas and Oklahoma, primarily involving stray or stolen livestock. The total market value of all recovered livestock and property reached $3,616,559. Convicted thieves received a total of 113 years of prison, state jail, probated and suspended sentences and deferred adjudication. Thieves paid more than $1.1 million in restitution, fines and court costs.
Though the association’s rangers are commissioned by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, they are not funded with taxpayer dollars. TSCRA membership dues, paid for by ranchers and landowners, provide the rangers with funds for salaries, equipment and training.
The 29 rangers are stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma. In addition to being trained in all facets of law enforcement, each ranger has in-depth knowledge of the cattle and ranching industry, making them a true asset to fighting crime in rural Texas.
The rangers are aided by TSCRA market inspectors. Market inspectors collect brands and other identifying marks on four to five million cattle sold at 104 Texas livestock markets each year. The inspectors report their findings to TSCRA headquarters where the information is entered into the nation’s largest brand recording and retrieval system. This database is the first source checked when a special ranger receives a theft call.
Gray says ranchers should brand their cattle to help prevent theft and to aid in the recovery if their livestock is stolen. Locking gates and counting cattle regularly are other tips that can prevent livestock theft. Parking trailers and equipment out of roadway site and marking your saddles, tack and other equipment with your driver’s license number is not only a deterrent, but also aids in the recovery and return of stolen property.
“Becoming a TSCRA member and displaying the blue gate sign on your property where it can be seen from the road is one of the best deterrents to theft,” said Gray. “Thieves know what the blue gate sign means and they are less likely to come onto your property.”
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 134-year-old trade organization. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses 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 and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.