Back in the day, cattle thieving was one of the things you could be hanged for without much in the way of a trial. Things have changed, but cattle are still a serious business in the Lone Star State.
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Pro tip: When you're going to steal someone's bull, you'd best make sure said bull doesn't belong to anyone you live real close to. Selling the animal at a livestock show with lots of witnesses with a good memory for four-legged creatures is also decidedly unwise.
On Monday a Shelby County man turned himself in to authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was charged with felony theft of livestock and was released on a $4,000 bond. The suspect, Hollis Neel Farris, 53, a rancher and poultry producer, was accused of taking his neighbor's stray bull to an east Texas sale barn, pocketing the funds and denying to the victim that he'd ever seen the bull after selling it, according to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Yeah, there were lots of witnesses and he clearly showed up with the bull and accepted money that was not rightfully his for the animal. Not smart.
If you've never heard of the TSCRA, you obviously aren't into cattle, except for the kind that is called "steak" or "hamburger" and appears only on plates. The TSCRA is practically the law itself when it comes to cattle, or enough of the law that it helps law enforcement out when there's a suspected crime of the cattle type. TSCRA Market Inspector Pat McGuigan was able to locate sales records implicating Farris, who cooperated with investigators when confronted. TSCRA Special Ranger Larry Hand was able to track the bull through four counties to a feeder cattle operation and made a positive identification based on distinct earmarks and sales records, according to a release issued by TSCRA.
Another pro tip: If you're in the cattle business, it's a good idea to keep track of them through some means. Hair Balls personally finds branding kind of gross and brutal (and the owners of the bull at the center of all this must have too since they didn't brand him) but do something to make it clear said bovine representative is owned. Either that, or watch your neighbors since it turns out cattle can still be stolen these days.