Rise in Kansas cattle thefts caused by high prices

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials say high cattle prices have led to an increase in cattle thefts.

State Animal Health Commissioner Dr. Bill Brown told the Hutchinson News (http://bit.ly/1uUkSWh ) he noticed an uptick in theft reports funneled through his agency’s brands department.

Authorities say five longhorn cows and a bull, worth at least $10,000, were recently taken from a pasture in southeast Kingman County. Four 600-pound calves were stolen this month from a Reno County property, and a rancher reported two black Angus cows and two calves stolen near Sylvan Grove. In Sumner County, state officials say thieves took several eight-month-old steers and heifers.

“I think we are going to see more,” Brown said. “We haven’t seen the end of this.”

On Monday, the Kansas attorney general and the state’s agriculture department announced an agreement to form a new investigative unit to combat the increase in cattle thefts. It will assist local law enforcement agencies in their investigations.

Dustin Cooke, an investigator with the Kingman County Sheriff’s Department, said branding cattle is a good practice to make stealing the animals less attractive for thieves.

“You can’t change something that is permanent,” Cooke said.

He recommended that ranchers work on their security measures and note if anything seems different on their property.

Brown said producers or others in the livestock industry who suspect thefts or improper cattle sales should contact authorities.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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