Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Rangers have confirmed the April indictment and arrest of a Turkey, Texas, man on the charge of theft of livestock that had allegedly gone estray. The indictment and arrest are the result of an investigation led by TSCRA Special Ranger Dean Bohannon.
An investigation was launched in September 2017 when the Floydada Livestock Auction alerted John Hindman, TSCRA’s market inspector for the auction, of a potential problem with a load of cattle they received. Hindman quickly notified Bohannon, who spoke with the sale barn owner and learned that a man had checked in 17 head of cattle under the name of Potts Farms, but later called to say they were not his cattle. With the assistance of Motley County Sheriff Robert Fisk, Bohannon was able to identify the suspect as Eddie Noel Potts, 63, of Turkey.
Bohannon and Special Ranger Harold Dempsey arranged to meet with Potts at his cattle pens near Flomont, Texas. During the meeting Potts indicated that he found the cattle on the roadway, penned them, and then transported them to the sale barn. Potts also stated that he believed the cattle belonged to his neighbor, with whom he had an ongoing dispute. He admitted that he intended to sell the cattle and keep the proceeds in retaliation.
The evidence was presented to a Motley County grand jury who on April 10, 2018 handed down an indictment for Theft of Livestock. Following the indictment, Potts was arrested by Dickens County Sheriff’s deputies on April 13, 2018. He was booked into the Dickens County Jail and was later released after posting a $25,000 bond. The charge of theft of livestock is a third-degree felony and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison along with potential fines and restitution.
“Estray livestock are not up for grabs,” warned Bohannon. “Even if the livestock are on your property, you cannot claim them as your own and are required to notify the authorities.”
Bohannon added that anyone who finds estray livestock along a roadway or on their property should contact the local sheriff’s office.