Colorado brand inspectors keeping up with cattle thieves

Hundreds of cattle go missing every year in Colorado, most of them simply lost. But the stateís brand inspectors work to ensure thieves donít cash in.


Kevin Simpson | The Colorado Sun

via Post Independent (CO) | April 8, 2019


GREELEY ó Amid clanging gates and lowing cattle, Terry Florian steps into a crowded pen and begins a subtle dance among the livestock, carefully stepping around and between their churning hooves to catch a glimpse of the brands burned into their hides.


He and his fellow brand inspectors circulating outside the sale barn will cull through more than 200 head of dairy and beef cattle this April morning before they go on the auction block. By cross referencing brands and ownership papers they ensure that the transactions are legitimate, and discourage an age-old scourge of the American West ó cattle rustlers.


Though not the pervasive issue it was in the 19th and 20th centuries, cattle theft remains a sporadic problem in Colorado. As recently as December, an Aurora rancher discovered that more than 50 from his herd had been run off his property and, it appeared, loaded onto a truck. Although the case remains under investigation, the animals havenít been recovered.


Rustling represents an even more troubling practice in some neighboring states. Five years ago, Kansas created a livestock and brand investigation unit under the state attorney generalís office specifically to address cattle theft. Oklahoma officials created a special law enforcement unit to pursue both cattle and farm machinery thefts and reduce losses in that stateís multibillion-dollar agricultural industry...