Sacramento – Today, Assembly Bill 1722 authored by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) and sponsored by the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) to crack down on cattle theft was signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
“California ranchers make a living raising and selling livestock—when their animals are stolen, it poses a serious threat to their livelihood,” said Bigelow, a Madera County cattleman himself. “By prohibiting individuals convicted of livestock from holding a registered brand, we can help prevent these crimes from occurring in the future.”
Assembly Bill 1722 will strengthen penalties against those convicted of livestock theft, by preventing them from holding a registered cattle brand in California for a period of five years after conviction. If the individual held a registered brand prior to being found guilty, AB 1722 would require the California Department of Food and Agriculture Bureau of Livestock Identification to cancel that individual’s brand. It will also deny anyone from applying for a new brand if they were convicted of livestock theft in the past five years. Those found guilty of livestock theft would also be subjected to more frequent brand inspections after the five year period had passed anytime cattle are sold, moved, or transported.
“This is an important victory for our state’s agricultural industry, and I’m pleased that the Governor listened to the voices of rural California,” said Bigelow. “Going forward, I will continue working with my colleagues to find more solutions to the problems facing our farming communities.”
AB 1722 builds upon the success of a bill sponsored by CCA and authored by Assemblyman Bigelow that was signed by the Governor last year. AB 924 (2013) realigned a significant portion of funds from fines associated with livestock theft to the Bureau of Livestock Identification, which helps local law enforcement investigate cases of cattle theft.
Lifelong rancher Frank Bigelow proudly represents the 5th Assembly District, which encompasses Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Placer, and Tuolumne counties and includes Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. He is the vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife and the chair of the California Legislative Rural Caucus.