Manitoba teen fined for stealing cows; defence says he was ‘tricked’ into scheme

By on October 3, 2014

Keith Weller / USDA
Keith Weller / USDA

WINNIPEG—A 16-year-old Manitoba boy has been fined for cattle rustling.

The teen, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty Thursday under the Health of Animals Act.

He was given a $1,500 fine and ordered pay more than $700 in restitution.

The cattle farmers discovered the theft in October 2013 near Fisher Branch and contacted RCMP.

Police learned that a vehicle belonging to the accused’s family was seen in the area, in the dark of night, around the time of the incident.

Video surveillance from a Winnipeg auction house showed the teen selling nine cattle the morning after the theft.

They were then sold that same day to an Alberta-based slaughterhouse.

This triggered a race to find the cows before any were killed. Police learned eight had gone to a Manitoba processing plant, while a ninth—suffering from an eye infection—was already in Alberta.

The cattle owner visited the Manitoba processing plant in person and was able to identify the eight by making a unique “sound” which they all responded to, court was told. Those cows were returned to her.

The Alberta-bound cow, however, had already been killed which was more than a $700 loss to the woman.

Defence lawyer Ryan Rolston told court the teen was tricked into selling the cows. He got an call from someone purporting to be the owner of the cattle, hiring him to pick up the cows and take them to the Winnipeg auction house for sale.

“He’s not a particularly sophisticated individual,” said Rolston. “He’s either an individual who is extremely bad at being a criminal or believed what he was doing was legitimate at the end of the day.”

Rolston said the boy and his family have been shunned by the community as a result.

“This young man has gone through a lot,” said Rolston.

He will have one year to make the full fine and restitution payment.