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

  • Police union blasts handling of Utah nurse arrest probe

    World News CTV News
    SALT LAKE CITY - Two officers under investigation in the rough arrest of a nurse have been unfairly made into pariahs after body-camera footage got widespread attention online, a Utah police union said Monday. The Salt Lake Police Association said in a letter to the mayor and police chief that it is "extremely concerned and dismayed" about handling that has "corrupted" the high-profile investigation, The Deseret News reported. Source
  • Smoke fills plane's cabin after landing at California airport

    World News Toronto Sun
    FRESNO, Calif. — Smoke filled the cabin of an Allegiant Air jet after it landed at a California airport on Monday, forcing coughing passengers to cover their faces with shirts and firefighters to board the plane, authorities said. Source
  • Man pleads guilty to sucker-punching disabled person

    World News Toronto Sun
    WEST CHESTER, Pa. — A man who was caught on video sucker-punching a man with cerebral palsy outside a Pennsylvania store has pleaded guilty to simple assault. Twenty-nine-year-old Barry Robert Baker Jr. of Georgetown, Delaware, entered his plea Monday. Source
  • Canadian describes harrowing tale of Dominica destruction in Hurricane Maria aftermath

    World News CTV News
    It’s been a week since Hurricane Maria pummelled Dominica, and Patrick Mullins still vividly remembers his experience on the ground as the powerful storm tore through the Caribbean island. The 67 -year-old Ontario resident was in Dominica working on a project with local youth when Maria made landfall. Source
  • Paralympian sues University of Regina over accident that left her a quadriplegic

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- A Paralympian who was left paralyzed after a diving accident says she knew the injury was bad the moment it happened. Miranda Biletski testified Monday in Court of Queen's Bench in Regina, where she is suing the University of Regina for negligence. Source
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko rejects call for anti-corruption court

    World News CBC News
    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says judicial reform aimed at rooting out corruption in his country will be introduced in two weeks, but the leader rejects calls for the creation of an independent anti-corruption court. "I am absolutely confident that it is vital for us to create anti-corruption system in the whole court institution of Ukraine," Poroshenko said in an exclusive interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton. Source
  • 'Save our liberty!' Protesters in wheelchairs disrupt hearing on Obamacare replacement bill

    World News CBC News
    Protesters in wheelchairs interrupted Monday's U.S. Senate hearing on the Republican health-care bill aimed at repealing and replacing "Obamacare." "No cuts to Medicaid! Save our liberty!" they shouted at the Senate finance committee meeting. The noisy protests forced committee chairman Orrin Hatch to recess the hearing just moments after it began. Source
  • RCMP pursuit policy must change, says Sask. man who called 911 about stolen truck that killed 3

    Canada News CBC News
    Curtis Byford says it's not uncommon for vehicles to pull into his property at the end of a dead-end road near Lloydminster, Sask. But this time there were three of them. He didn't know it at the time, but one of the vehicles would soon be involved in the deaths of three people. Source
  • Edmonton police officer disciplined for lying about being a helicopter pilot

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An Edmonton police officer has been docked a week's pay for lying about being a helicopter pilot. Const. Jess Bagan pleaded guilty last year to two counts of misconduct in what police are calling a unique case. Source
  • Search on for hunter in Saskatchewan who had set out to find 2 others

    Canada News CTV News
    BUFFALO NARROWS, Sask. -- Mounties and civilians are searching in northern Saskatchewan for a man who was searching for two missing hunters. RCMP say the search is in the Frobisher Lake area north of Buffalo Narrows, about 500 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon. Source