Livestock Theft Law Passes House, Heads To Governor
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) today applauded the Texas Legislature for their final approval of a bill to increase the penalty for livestock theft in Texas. SB 1163, introduced by Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and Representative Lois Kolkhorst (RBrenham), unanimously passed the House, and is now on its way to the Governor where it will be signed into law or vetoed.
"Texas is the number one cattle producing state in the nation, but the penalty for cattle theft in Texas is more lenient than the neighboring states of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana," TSCRA President Dave Scott, of Richmond, Texas, said. "Cattle theft in Texas has more than doubled during the past year. To protect this $15 billion a year industry, Texas needs a stricter penalty. SB 1163 does that by increasing the penalty for cattle theft from a state jail felony to a third degree felony," Scott continued.
In 2007, 2,400 head of cattle were reported stolen to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. In 2008, that number jumped to 6,404. Under current law theft of less than 10 head of cattle, horses or exotic wildlife is a state jail felony.
TSCRA was founded in 1877 by a small group of ranchers to fight cattle theft. TSCRA has 29 Special Rangers stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma to combat and investigate cattle theft. Prior to 1993, livestock theft was classified as a third degree felony. In 1993 the Texas Legislature created the State Jail Felony category, also known as a fourth degree felony. Livestock theft has risen since the law was changed in 1993, largely due to the number of repeat offenders who are let out on state jail felony probation.
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 132-yearold trade organization and is the largest livestock association in Texas. TSCRA has more than 15,000 members 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 services, livestock inspection, legislative and regulatory advocacy and educational opportunities for its members.