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2009-06-18 digital edition

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2009-06-18 / General Stories

Special Rangers Recover Horses Stolen From Bastrop

A Houston man could face up to two years in jail after being arrested for horse theft by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Rangers Jimmy Belt and Doug Hutchison.

Theft of less than 10 head of horses is classified as a state jail felony and punishable with a jail sentence of up to two years.

Derrick Ervin, 36, was arrested on May 22, after he wrote a personal check for $6,975 for a registered American Quarter Horse mare and colt worth $675 and a registered American Quarter Horse gelding worth $6,300 to the Hills Prairie Livestock Company Auction in Bastrop.

Charges were pressed by the livestock auction manager after Ervin's bank notified the auction the bank account had been closed.

The three horses were recovered by Belt and returned to the victim.

Since 1993, theft of less than 10 head of horses, cattle, or exotic wildlife or fowl has been classified as a state jail felony. TSCRA has seen an increase in livestock theft since 2007. In response to the increase, lawmakers increased those penalties during the 2009 Legislative session making theft of any number of horses, cattle or exotic wildlife a possible third degree felony. The new law doesn't take effect until September 1.

"Branding your livestock, good record keeping and management practices will help greatly reduce the number of livestock related crimes in Texas," Hutchison said.

TSCRA Special Rangers are commissioned by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to investigate agriculture theft, specifically livestock theft.

The 29 Special Rangers are stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma and have indepth knowledge of the cattle industry. They are trained in all facets of law enforcement, and are commissioned as Special Rangers by DPS and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

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 and the industry.

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