Interior cattlemen hope their voices will be heard by new RCMP livestock officer - InfoNews

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Interior cattlemen hope their voices will be heard by new RCMP livestock officer

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November 23, 2016 - 6:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - A position that's been vacant within the B.C. RCMP for two years is expected to be filled soon and ranchers will be breathing a sigh of relief.

B.C. Cattlemen's Association general manager Kevin Boon says having a dedicated RCMP officer to address livestock and range concerns will make the reporting of cattle rustling and poaching more feasible.

"(Ranchers)… actually are more comfortable to confide in someone that’s in this position," Boon says. "One of the issues that we do have within the RCMP is the fact that a lot of them come to rural postings from urban settings and don’t necessarily understand either livestock or the way it works out on the range."

The officer who will be appointed to the position will be employed by the Kamloops Rural RCMP detachment. Staff Sgt. Doug Aird says they're currently accepting applications for the job and hope to fill it as soon as possible.

Aird says the person will be hired as a "stock section police officer" and will act as a provincial officer for livestock matters.

Boon says the officer's duties can include anything from responding to cattle poaching calls to dealing with car crashes involving livestock.

"They know how to control the animal... who to call and where to get their resources to help," Boon says. "They really need an understanding of that."

Cattle poaching has always been a prominent issue for ranchers across the Thompson-Okanagan, but Boon says the past two years have been difficult without a dedicated livestock investigator.

"It’s always been a long term issue for us, but it will certainly help to make sure that all the rural detachments are aware of the issues," Boon says. "Whether it be here in Kamloops, or any other part of the province."

Just last month, a ranch manager in the Kamloops neighbourhood of Westsyde reported one of his cows had been poached.

Boon hopes the new appointment will help bring closure to more cases.

"It’s important to have (someone with) a trained eye come in and have a look at these," he says. "I do think there’s a lot higher chance of us getting some conclusions. When we had that livestock investigator there, we saw some cases getting closed."

More than anything, he says, this will bring a level of comfort to ranchers across the province.

"We really are looking forward to it and really glad to have it there," he says. "When we see that position vacant, we really see some holes open up... it is an extremely important one."

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