Preventing Horse Theft
We often think of horse theft as something from bygone times. unfortunately, hundreds of horses are stolen in the United States annually. How can you keep your horse safe? Here are some tips:
Secure your facility
- Install locks on your tack room and on all of your gates. Do not lock your horses in their stalls, though. You don’t want them trapped in their stalls if there is a fire.
- Install security lighting around your barn.
- Don’t install gates alongside a road. set up your property so that the only drive to the barn or paddocks goes past your house.
- Keep your fencing in good shape.
- Keep barns away from the road.
- Keep a gate on the entrance to your property, and keep it locked.
- Identify your horses.
- Invest in freeze brands, hot brands, or microchips.
- Photograph your horses from the right, left, front, and back in the summer and winter at least once each year. Take close ups of any identifying characteristics. Keep these photographs in a notebook where you can access them if needed.
- Get an ‘alarm’.
- Have a barking dog in the barn, peacocks or guinea hens who will make noise when someone comes on the property, or a donkey who brays whenever anyone goes in the pasture. Pay attention to these animals - there may be several false alarms, but investigating false alarms is far better than ignoring your “alarm” and finding your horses gone.
- Secure your truck and trailer. Keep your truck locked and keep a hitch lock on your trailer. Don’t provide a possible thief with the means to move your horses.
- Don’t leave halters on horses in the pasture.
- Note any strangers in the area. If people stop in front of your property and watch the horses, write down a description of their vehicle and license plate. If someone drives by your property multiple times, write down their vehicle description and license plate. If there is suspicious activity in your neighborhood, report it to the authorities.
The Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association offers a Horse Identification Program (HIP).
Subscribers to the HIP program pay a small annual fee per horse to record their horse’s information with the HIP program. If an enrolled horse is stolen, his owner should contact the HIP program immediately. They will:
- Submit the horse’s identification information to the local law enforcement officials working the case.
- Submit the info to the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association brand inspectors who are located at the two horse processing plants in Texas.
- Submit the info to other horse processing plants in the US.
- Other national and local law enforcement agencies.
The HIP program will also release the information to the public to aid in the search and will work with local and national law enforcement agencies to make sure that they have complete information needed to search for the horse.
Links & Resources
- The Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association Horse Identification Program
NetPosse/Stolen Horse International
Helping Reunite Owners with their Stolen Horses