Friday, February 13, 2015

Okla. bills would let property owners shoot down drones, set mandatory jail for cattle rustling

Oklahoma lawmakers have proposed a pair of bills to deter a rise in cattle rustling and theft of farm equipment, Jeff Guo reports for The Washington Post. One proposal sets mandatory jail time for stealing farm animals, and the other allows farmers and ranchers to shoot down drones that they fear belong to potential thieves scouting the area.

A Senate bill that would mandate a prison sentence of five to 15 years for stealing farm animals or machines and a fine equal to three times what the equipment is worth cleared a committee this week, Rick Green reports for The Oklahoman. "Animals covered under the measure include mules, cows, horses and more. A lesser prison term of six months to three years would be required for the theft of a dog, sheep or goat."

Under current law, a person caught stealing cattle can avoid prison by paying a fine equal to three times the value of the cattle stolen, Green writes. "The alternative to the fine for the theft of cattle is a sentence of three to 10 years."

Also this week a Senate committee approved a proposal "that would let property owners shoot down drones and not be held civilly liable for monetary damages," Barbara Hoberock reports for Tulsa World. The bill's author Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City) "said the measure was needed to protect property owners from cattle thieves who are using drones with recording devices to track herds and their owners." Shortey "said the measure was designed to protect land owners from being sued for damages if they destroy or damage the unmanned aircraft by any means." (Read more)

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