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Horse Theft
Horse Theft - It Still Occurs

It sounds like a crime from the old west but believe it or not there are still low down common horse thieves. Many horse owners have heard the reports of horse thefts in the area. There are steps that horse owners can take to prevent their animals from theft. Here are some suggestions on how you may safeguard your horses from theft.

Keep a Horse Identification Record on all horses
Keep this information in one accessible area. On this record include:
A. Owners Name, Address, Phone Number & County
B. Horses Name, Breed, Registration Number, Sex, Age, Height Approximate Weight.
C. Description of coat color and markings (include information on mane, tail, legs and hoof).
D. Description and locations of scars, blemishes or unusual markings. Include additional items that might help identify your horse (unusual shoeing, unique conformation, etc.).
E. Description and location of identification (ID) marks, such as brand, tattoo, hair whorl or chestnut patterns.
F. Outline markings described in C, D and E. Be sure to draw the mane on the correct side and include hair whorls. (Use a red pencil.)
G. Take colored photographs of your horse and paste or attach to this record.

Make sure to take full head and full body shots from both sides, including distinguishing marks and atdifferent times of the year. If a horse's coat color changes considerably during the year, it may become important to have pictures of both summer and winter coats. Permanently mark your horse with a brand, tattoo or microchip. (include on ID record) If horses identification mark is placed on or in an area that can be easily spotted, such as the hip or shoulder it may discourage thieves and make ownership easier to prove.

Vary your routine when checking your horse(s)
Don't leave halters on pastured horses if possible
This is often done for your ease in catching your horse in the pasture but it also makes it easier for a horse thief to catch a unwilling horse. 
Don't leave horse or stock trailers close by
If you leave your trailers in close proximity to your horse, make sure it is in a secure place or at least lock it so it can not be easily hooked up. Keep fencing in good condition with sturdy and secure gates. Secure areas with lights where possible. Install lighting with motion sensors around barns and gates. If in the process of establishing pastures or facilities, try to locate drive going into pasture or barns close to areas where if someone were to drive down to pasture or barn they would be seen or heard. You may just make it so a thief would have to drive by the dog pen, knowing that the dog will sound the alarm. Alarms may even be considered.
Post No Trespassing signs


1. Remain calm! Contact the Sheriff's Department at 911 immediately. Give the law enforcement personnel your horse ID Record over the phone and then provide law officers copies when they come out to investigate. If possible, give the time, location, method and evidence of theft. Report the theft and furnish the ID record to the State Bureau of Investigation.

2. Do not disturb evidence (tire tracks, footprints, etc.).

3. Contact your local livestock agent to advise about the theft so it can be sent to other livestock agents in your state. 

4. Contact neighbors and inquire if they had noticed anything or seen any strange vehicles.

5. Distribute ID record to area veterinarians, tack shops, feed stores, and other horsemen.

6. Record: Date and Time stolen, Location of theft, Date reported, Reported to, and method suspected stolen such as - Lead away, trailered or rode away, Corral, pasture barn or other.

7. Send copy of this information to your State Bureau of Investigation ~ in North Carolina the address is:  NC Department of Justice, 3320 Old Garner Road, Raleigh, NC 27626. Attention: Intelligence Division. 1-800-662-7610.

If you would like to have these forms mentioned in this article your local Cooperative Extension Service a call and request copies.

...Ben Chase



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