By Howard West
Cattle rustling was the theme of many an old-time western movies where rustlers were dealt with in a swift manner. The criminal profession is not as prevalent as it once was in the old west, it still happens — and carries a severe penalty.
Wendi Cox of Oklahoma found out the hard way in recent weeks that rustling livestock in Arkansas doesn’t pay.
Cox agreed to a plea bargain where she received a 10-year sentence for admittedly stealing 15 heifers from a ranch in East Ogden in 2011. The cattle rustling occurred just a few weeks before she stole rodeo horses from Southern Arkansas University (SAU) in Magnolia, for which she was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
The theft of any livestock is a felony, according to Pope County Sheriff Aaron DuVall.
“When rustlers take a farmer’s or rancher’s livestock, that person is stealing someone’s livelihood,” he said.
Although livestock auction barns have processes in place to track potentially stolen livestock, it is difficult task to identify cattle thieves, according to Gary Thompson, a spokesman for the London Auction Barn.
“The London Auction Barn deals primarily with horses,” Thompson said.
“Before horses are allowed into the sale barn they have to have a Coggins test. This test gives a health profile of the horse and is matched to the owner’s driver’s license. More....