Sask. rancher uses DNA to find stolen cattle

In October 2009, Glenn Strube noticed 10 of his heifers were missing. Years later, the Saskatchewan rancher found his stolen cattle by thinking like a detective.
Sask. rancher uses DNA to find stolen cattle 2:08

A Saskatchewan rancher had to act more like a detective to find his stolen cattle.

Glenn Strube breeds cattle north of Shellbrook, Saskatchewan. In October 2009, Strube and his wife noticed 10 of their heifers were missing.

Some people suspected a neighbour in the area had stolen them. When Strube confronted a man he suspected of stealing the cattle, the neighbour denied it.

"He then proceeded to give me a description of the cattle," Strube said. "It was a very good description of the cattle that he hadn't seen."

Strube made a few phone calls and discovered the man he suspected was marketing cattle at Saskatoon Livestock Sales. Luckily for Strube, he keeps meticulous records.

Strube gave the brand inspector and the RCMP detailed descriptions of his missing animals. However, it was a long shot because the heifers were not branded and their tags had been removed.

"The process seemed to be taking so long. It was slow and you feel the justice system isn't working," Strube said. "You want to do something and take things into your own hands."

The brand inspector found some cattle at a feedlot in Duck Lake that fit the description Strube provided. Strube decided to take DNA samples and compared them to related cattle. He said he got the idea from watching CSI.

The DNA tests confirmed that the nine heifers found in Duck Lake, as well as one found in southern Alberta, were a positive match to Strube's cattle.

Strube never got his heifers back because they were about to calve. Regardless, Strube said he was ecstatic to track down the stolen cattle.

"He would've gotten away with it," Strube said. "You would think surely this would deter rustlers from stealing cattle."

The man who stole the heifers was found guilty of theft of cattle and ordered to pay Strube $7,200. The accused is appealing the verdict.

Strube said he is filing a civil lawsuit for the increased price of the cattle and the lost revenue of potential calves.