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

  • Decades-long mystery of Second World War helmet finally solved

    Canada News CTV News
    A mysterious Second World War helmet lost for decades has finally been returned to its rightful owners, thanks to some sleuthing and luck online. The Di Cecco family first discovered the helmet when they moved into a Toronto-area home in the 1960s. Source
  • Canada's 150 year ends on ice, but no hockey pucks, triple jumps allowed

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- No figure skating. No hockey. No racing. No cell phones. But other than that have fun kids! Canadian Heritage Wednesday unveiled the details of the Canada 150 Ice Rink currently being built on the east lawn of Parliament Hill. Source
  • Regina man accused of smuggling Nigerians across Canada-U.S. border

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- A man who pleaded guilty in the United States for his part in a human smuggling operation has been arrested and charged in Canada. RCMP say Victor Omoruyi of Regina was picked up at the Saskatoon International Airport on Tuesday. Source
  • Canada's largest school board votes to end armed police presence in schools

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's largest school board has voted to end a controversial program that places uniformed police officers in dozens of public schools across Toronto. Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustees voted 18-3 in favour of cancelling the School Resource Officer (SRO) program during a meeting on Wednesday night. Source
  • Sexual attacks against Rohingya may be war crimes: UN envoy

    World News CTV News
    Widespread atrocities against Rohingya Muslim women and girls have been orchestrated and perpetrated by Myanmar's military and may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the U.N. envoy on sexual violence in conflict said Wednesday. Source
  • Report: 2 women claim Franken touched them inappropriately

    World News CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS - Two women are alleging that Minnesota Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken touched their buttocks during events for his first campaign for Senate. The women spoke to Huffington Post on condition of anonymity. Source
  • 12 of 14 Hurricane Irma nursing home deaths ruled homicides

    World News CBC News
    Authorities say the deaths of 12 of the 14 Florida nursing home patients who died after Hurricane Irma have been ruled homicides. The Sun Sentinel reports that autopsy results from the Broward County medical examiner's office were released Wednesday. Source
  • Daily public transit use could pose hearing loss risk: study

    Canada News CTV News
    Daily use of public transit might cause hearing loss. It’s a conclusion anyone who’s taken Toronto rail transit might reach after one ride, but researchers from the University of Toronto now have data to suggest it may be true. Source
  • 'I would draw the line:' Sask. premier candidate opposes abortion for rape victims

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- One of the leading candidates in the race to become the next premier of Saskatchewan says he doesn't believe in abortion, even in the case of sex assault victims. Ken Cheveldayoff, a long-time Saskatoon member of the legislature for the Saskatchewan Party, also says anyone under 18 should need parental consent for the procedure. Source
  • Russia says expert body on Syria chemical attacks 'is dead'

    World News CTV News
    Russia's U.N. ambassador said Wednesday the expert body that has determined responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria "is dead" -- but Moscow is ready to discuss "a new mechanism." Vassily Nebenzia told reporters after a closed Security Council discussion that the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, "has discredited itself completely. Source