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Fri Apr 29, 2016, 11:28 AM

RIDE ALONG WITH THE COW POLICE (There Are Modern Day Cow Rustlers)

http://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/814-ride-along-with-the-cow-police

"Late one winter night, under cover of darkness, two young calves were stolen from a ranch in Alvarado, Texas. Someone cut a wire fence bordering the property, allowing a four-wheeler to trundle onto the pasture. The calves, an Angus and a Black Baldy, were loaded into a goat cage and driven seventy miles west, along Highway 67, to a cattle barn in Stephenville. Witnesses recall seeing two men collect a claim ticket for the animals. One of the men, wearing a wide-brimmed cowboy hat, kept his chin tucked to his chest, concealing his face. His partner, hatless, presented the clerk at the cattle barn with a driver’s license in his own name. Several hours later, the calves were sold at auction—the Angus to the agent of a dairy barn in Blanket, the Baldy to a rancher in Bluff Dale, who planned to use the animal to practice roping. By sunset, before the calves’ rightful owner had even noticed their absence, the men had already received a check for the sum of the two sales and disappeared into the dusk.

Cattle rustling, signature crime of the Old West, has returned to Texas. Rates of cattle theft in the state have risen fivefold in less than a decade. The thefts take many forms. Some resemble the Alvarado case, in which cattle are carried off and sold to a third party. Other times, rustlers will shoot and field strip the animals, then sell their meat to an unscrupulous abattoir. There also exist white-collar variants, whereby cattle are acquired fraudulently or invested in byzantine Ponzi schemes.

Lawmen and rustlers now find themselves reenacting a centuries-old drama, one central to the creation myth of the American frontier. If the cowboy was the great American folk hero, the cattle rustler was his villainous twin. They were both lone figures seeking their fortune in the hinterlands, unbound by government or caste. But the rustler lacked an essential sense of nobility and fair play—he stole what the cowboy earned.


In Texas, when a cow or bull is reported stolen, the case is assigned to one of twenty-seven men, the employees of a trade group called the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The TSCRA traces its origins to 1877, when forty ranchers, plagued by rustlers, gathered outside the courthouse in Graham and pooled their money to hire men with guns to protect their herds. The group now serves more than 17,000 businesses and ranching families who collectively manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pastureland. The armed men in their employ are no longer mercenaries but peace officers, deputized by the Texas Department of Public Safety as Special Texas Rangers, with full, state-sanctioned powers of investigation and arrest. The organization’s central mission, to prosecute cattle theft, remains unchanged.

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Interesting stuff.

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Reply RIDE ALONG WITH THE COW POLICE (There Are Modern Day Cow Rustlers) (Original post)
HuckleB Apr 2016 OP
warrprayer Apr 2016 #1
TheCowsCameHome Apr 2016 #2
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HuckleB Apr 2016 #3
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