The growing problem of cattle theft in Kansas has led to an agreement between the state's Attorney General and the Kansas Department of Agriculture to improve state efforts to curb thefts.
Announced Monday, the agreement approves the formation of a new Livestock/Brand Investigation Unit within the Attorney General's consumer protection division. Kendal Lothman, a law enforcement officer of 22 years and former Kiowa County Sheriff, will lead the unit.
Record cattle prices have sparked the increase in cattle thefts. The new unit will respond to requests from local law enforcement agencies for help in investigations.
"This agreement is a great example of finding efficient ways for government to better serve the people of Kansas," Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. "Combining the law enforcement authority of the attorney general's office with the livestock investigations authority of the Department of Agriculture allows us to better protect Kansas ranchers from cattle theft."
Dr. Bill Brown, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner, also welcomed the new collaborative effort.
"This is a good day for Kansans," Brown said. "Livestock are a valuable asset and it is important that we remain diligent and assist in any way possible to protect those investments. Having an investigator in the field will provide expertise to local law officials to help support our Brand Program."
Producers or others involved in the livestock industry who suspect thefts or improper cattle sales in the state should contact their local sheriff or police department, which will request assistance if needed.