Cattle rustling measure clears Senate

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo
Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Amid warnings that cattle rustling is on the rise in Texas, the state Senate has passed a measure that would stiffen penalties for stealing farm animals.

The bill, which passed 29-2 Thursday, would make theft of any cattle, horses or exotic livestock a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Currently it's a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine to steal fewer than 10 head of cattle, horses or exotic livestock.

The bill by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, also would make it a third degree felony to steal 10 or more head of sheep, goats or swine.

Seliger's bill is SB1163.