Cattle rustling rebounding in Alberta and Saskatchewan

STRATHMORE, Alta. - It's not the Wild West but there are still low-down varmints stealing cattle and reaching into the pockets of ranchers in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

See Full Article

Cattle rustling has been around for ages and police say it is on the rebound in the heart of Canada's cattle industry, driven largely by ranch hands stealing livestock at a time when cattle prices are high.

"It's still a problem today. It's like any other property, if there's value to it people are going to steal it. In recent years the value of cattle has approximately doubled," said RCMP Cpl. Christian Reister, one of Alberta's two livestock officers.

The value of that cow grazing out in the field can range from $1,500 to $2,000 apiece, which makes them particularly attractive to thieves.

Reister, 45, looked right at home wearing a black cowboy hat, black coat, blue jeans and cowboy boots at a cattle auction in Strathmore, about 60 kilometres east of Calgary.

He said the number of missing cattle in Alberta rose from 575 in 2014 to 600 in 2015. Saskatchewan's numbers for last year aren't available but there was a sizeable jump from 600 in 2013 to 1,000 in 2014.

"Some of those stats in the increase in Saskatchewan can be attributed to producers paying a little closer attention to their assets and watching their numbers a little closer," said Reister.

The investigations are tough. Looking for a cattle rustler today isn't that much different than it was 50 years ago.

"I think there are a lot of producers who often have a few head taken and they don't know," Reister said.

"It's some of the most difficult investigations that we do. We look for tire impressions, we look for footwear impressions, we look for gateways that are cut so at this stage in 2016 really our investigations haven't changed any."

Reister said if cattle are stolen police usually don't need to go much further than local cowhands or neighbours.

"They're inside jobs primarily - employees - some of them are neighbours. In some cases they just live close to the individuals but in all cases they are people who do have knowledge of handling cattle," he said.

"It would be pretty intimidating for someone from the city that's never had an experience handling cattle to carry out that type of theft."

Making investigations even harder is the fact only about half of producers now burn their individual brands onto the sides of the cattle. It used to be an industry norm but without it rustlers have an easier time getting away with the crime.

Gary Guichon of Livestock Investigation Services, a private company contracted by the Alberta government to do cattle inspections, says cattle without brands automatically raise suspicions.

"Most livestock inspectors have local knowledge so in most cases they will have an idea of the guy bringing the cattle in," said Guichon, who has been inspecting brands for 34 years.

"If it's someone you don't know you're probably gonna have a closer look at the cattle and look at the brands and any other identifiers that may help you out."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • White House warns of 'potential' chemical attack preparations in Syria

    World News CTV News
    FILE - In this Tuesday, April 4, 2017 file photo, victims of the suspected chemical weapons attack lie on the ground, in Khan Sheikhoun, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. (Alaa Alyousef via AP, File) Source
  • Pepe lives: Cartoonist resurrecting frog hijacked by trolls

    World News CTV News
    Pepe the Frog is coming back from the dead. Los Angeles-based cartoonist Matt Furie told The Associated Press on Monday that he intends to resurrect the character he killed off last month in what appeared to be a rebuke to racist, anti-Semitic internet trolls who hijacked his creation, transforming it into a hate symbol. Source
  • Looking forward, not back at Canada's future

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The height of bigotry and intolerance is when entire groups of people or institutions are blamed for the actions of some people in the past. As we gear up to celebrate our nation on its 150th anniversary, the Toronto Star reported, “students at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Source
  • London's fire symptomatic of larger safety issues globally, experts warn

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The deaths of 79 people in a London apartment tower have triggered emergency inspections, evacuations and soul searching among British officials who failed to prevent the tragedy. But fire-safety experts say governments and builders around the world should take notice, because the fire at Grenfell Tower is just the latest in a string of deadly blazes that demonstrate how building regulations have failed to keep up with changing materials and cuts in inspections and oversight mean…
  • Mourners pack community centre to remember boxer Tim Hague

    Canada News CTV News
    Edmonton fighter Tim Hague, who died after getting knocked out in the second round of a boxing match on June 16, was remembered as a devoted father during a celebration of life service in his hometown of Boyle, Alta. Source
  • Hurricane Dora strengthens but moves away from Mexico

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- Hurricane Dora strengthened off Mexico's Pacific coast on Monday, but posed little threat as it spun out into the ocean away from land. The hurricane's maximum sustained winds Monday afternoon were near 90 mph (150 kph), according to the U.S. Source
  • Saskatchewan relents on cuts to funeral services for the poor

    Canada News CTV News
    The Saskatchewan government has relented on a plan that would have seen people on social assistance lose nearly half of the benefits provided to cover funeral costs at a savings to the province of about $1 million per year. Source
  • Brazil's attorney general formally accuses President Temer of corruption

    World News CBC News
    Brazil's top federal prosecutor charged President Michel Temer on Monday with accepting bribes, the first of what is expected to be a series of formal graft charges against the deeply unpopular leader in the coming weeks. Source
  • Brazil's attorney general formally accuses President Michel Temer of corruption

    World News CBC News
    Brazil's top federal prosecutor charged President Michel Temer on Monday with accepting bribes, the first of what is expected to be a series of formal graft charges against the deeply unpopular leader in the coming weeks. Source
  • Jury hears B.C. man's online communication constitutes criminal harassment

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A British Columbia man's online communications show he criminally harassed his ex-wife and his hatred of her was so intense that he used their teenage son as a pawn, a Crown attorney argued Monday. Source