The old-time rustlers who stretched a few ropes in their time might be rolling in their graves when they hear of a Missouri proposal that redefines "livestock" for rustling purposes.
Back in the old days, the good guys used to string up the bad guys who stole their horses and cattle. The law in Missouri for years has made it a crime to steal those critter s as as well as mules, donkeys, pigs, sheep and goats. But what about fish rustlers? Or quail, pheasant, and rabbit rustlers. Or ostrich and emus rustlers? Changing times on the farm lead Senator Dan Clemens of Marshfield to push for a change in rustling laws. He says it’s a response to the growth in niche farming in which some farmers raise animals that are sold to game preserves, hunting clubs, and the like.
His bill also adds buffalo and farm-raised elk to the definition of livestock.
Additionally, Clemens wants to up the prison sentences for repeat rustlers because he thinks too many first-time livestock thieves don’t learn much under the present law’s relatively short sentences. Rustling would not be a hanging offense under his bill—Missouri hasn’t legally hanged anybody since the mid 19-30s—but the bill does say a second offender can go to prison for as much as 15 years and will have to serve 80 percent of that sentence.
The senate agriculture committee likes the bill and recommends the full senate pass it.
The bill is SB941