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

  • Man recounts pushing fiancee away from car during protest

    World News CTV News
    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- With tires screeching and bodies flying, Marcus Martin shoved his fiancee out of the way of a car charging through a crowd of peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Marcus Martin was promptly hit and upended by the car as it plowed through the crowd. Source
  • Vandals tag Lincoln Memorial with vulgar graffiti

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The National Park Service says someone used red spray paint to scrawl an anti-law message on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The Park Service says the vandalism took place early Tuesday morning. A photo released by the service shows an expletive followed by the word “law” scrawled on the inside of one of the memorial’s columns. Source
  • Confederate plaque dedicated to Jefferson Davis removed from Montreal Hudson's Bay wall

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A Confederate plaque on a wall outside the Hudson’s Bay department store in downtown Montreal was removed Tuesday evening, Hudson’s Bay Canada spokesperson Tiffany Bourré confirmed. Bourré did not specify the reasons for the plaque’s removal. The plaque was dedicated to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. Source
  • Sex charge against P.E.I. man 'byproduct' of Creep Catchers sting: police

    Canada News CTV News
    CHARLOTTETOWN -- A Prince Edward Island man is facing a sex charge following a sting operation by the vigilante group known as the Creep Catchers. The Charlottetown Police Service says the 31-year-old man from Charlottetown has been charged with making an agreement or arrangement to commit a sexual offence against a child. Source
  • Women, toddler among 13 killed by falling oak tree in Portugal [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LISBON, Portugal — Authorities say a 12-month-old baby and two foreign women were among the 13 people killed when a huge oak tree crashed down on an outdoor religious festival in Portugal’s Madeira Islands. Miguel Reis, a local health official, says the foreigners killed in Tuesday’s accident were a 42-year-old French woman and a 31-year-old Hungarian woman. Source
  • Workers remove Baltimore Confederate monuments overnight

    World News CTV News
    BALTIMORE -- Confederate monuments in Baltimore were quietly removed and hauled away on trucks in darkness early Wednesday, days after a violent white nationalist rally in Virginia that was sparked by plans to take down a similar statue there. Source
  • 'Tiny and fragile': Edmonton woman's family seeks answers after she dies in police custody

    Canada News CBC News
    Deanna Noname opted to leave her oxygen tank behind when she left her brother's home for the last time that Sunday morning. The next time family members saw Noname, she was dying in a bed at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Source
  • Baltimore removes Confederate monuments overnight

    World News CBC News
    Work crews took down four Confederate monuments in Baltimore, Md., overnight into Wednesday, days after white nationalists led a deadly protest over the planned removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville. A monument to both Robert E. Source
  • Delays at Pearson Airport's Terminal 3 baggage drop off

    Canada News CTV News
    Passengers departing from Toronto Pearson International Airport’s Terminal 3 have been told to allow extra time for check-in on Wednesday morning due to ongoing intermittent technical issues at the baggage drop-off area. The delays began around 6:30 p.m. Source
  • Murder probe starts after legs are found in Rome trash bin

    World News CTV News
    ROME -- Police in Rome say they are investigating a suspected murder after hacked-off legs, apparently of a woman, were found in a trash bin on an upscale street and a head and torso were found in trash elsewhere in the Italian capital. Source