Brands lead to cattle return, arrests

Two people have been charged and 19 cattle siezed with the help of Livestock Services of Saskatchewan during an Alberta fruad investigation.  |  RCMP photo

An inter-provincial investigation dating back a couple of years leads livestock officials and RCMP to recover 19 head

Two people have been charged with fraud over $5,000 after an RCMP investigation into cattle in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Shane Hoff, 49, and Shanon Hoff, 45, of the Two Hills area in Alberta are slated to appear in Vegreville provincial court on Oct. 18 after cattle were allegedly purchased with a fraudulent cheque and transported out of the province without a brand inspection.

The RCMP is “encouraging livestock owners to brand their cattle, horses or any other livestock because this is a primary means of identifying ownership, and in most cases for our livestock investigators, this is what we rely upon for a successful prosecution in these matters,” said Cpl. Deanna Fontaine.

The Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigation Unit was first notified Aug. 19 about an alleged fraudulent purchase of cattle in Tofield, Alta., it said in a statement. “Livestock Services of Saskatchewan were called to assist and a location was identified where the cattle were believed to be grazing.”

Two purebred Black Angus bulls were seized on Sept. 2 in Spiritwood, Sask. Evidence involving further alleged victims was also located during the search, said the statement.

Cattle were also recovered on Sept. 16 in Spiritwood in connection with alleged fraud in Thorsby, Alta., and Lloydminster, Sask., said Const. Lyle Korver of the Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigation Unit in Airdrie, Alta.

An Alberta fraud investigation results in 19 cattle being recovered near Spritwood, Sask. | RCMP photo

A total of 19 animals have been seized and identified through registered livestock brands and/or registered purebred tattoos. However, the RCMP’s investigation could extend back “a couple of years,” said Korver.

Anyone with information about other alleged incidents in connection with Shane and Shanon Hoff is asked to contact the Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigations Unit at 403-598-6991, or their local police.

People who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 (TIPPS); online at www.P3Tips.com; or by using the P3 Tips app, which is available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

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