When horse theft is not considered to be a crime in Australia


Horse owners love their horses and who can blame them for that? There are so many farmers who could use a horse, not to mention the thrill of taking a ride among the scenic views. This interest in horses, which you don’t see in the Western world, explains the rising number of thefts reported throughout the country. How can you prevent such a thing, especially as the police are not always able to help. This may sound very weird, but there are cases when authorities can do nothing to find a missing horse as there isn’t actually a crime they can investigate.

How many horses are there in Australia?

According to estimates, there are over 1 million domestic horses in Australia, plus at least 400,000 feral horses. Most of the domesticated animals are Thoroughbred, Australian Stock Horse and Australian Quarter Horse, which can be found mostly in small farms in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

On top of that, there are many companies throughout the country offering riding tours for local or foreign tourists. Race horses are also in high demand, especially Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds.

When there’s a great demand for something, there’s also crime. It’s very easy to get some quick cash by selling stolen horses at livestock fairs in the rural parts of the country. Purebreds and race horses are targeted by professionals who always have a few eager buyers lined up.

What can you do if your horse gets stolen?

Horse thieves will jump at the occasion when they spot a horse wandering on its own in the meadows and the fact that it’s probably someone’s land won’t deter them. You’ll have to report the case to the police, but missing horses are rarely located, no matter if they were branded or not.

Another risky situation is when you leave your horses in someone else’s care. Many farmers do that when they need to be away for a while. There’s always a friend, neighbor or simple acquaintance you can ask to look after your horses.

When you get back you might have the nasty surprise of hearing your beloved animals have mysteriously died or they were stolen. Even if you do suspect foul play, what can you do? If you left your animals willingly with someone else, it’s not exactly theft and the case might be considered a civil matter. All you can do is try to find justice in court. However, trials take a long time, the results are uncertain, so they’re not worth the hassle or the money.

How can background checks help prevent horse theft?

Nothing can prevent a thief prowling around your property and taking off with your stallion, unless, of course, you keep your horses locked in their paddocks all day.

However, when you need to entrust your horses to someone you can try to make sure they’re decent people by asking them to submit a background check. Obviously, there’s no need for that if you take your animals to a relative’s place. But a stranger willing to look after them for a small fee? You can suggest a quick background check in such a situation and they’ll understand, especially if your horses are quite valuable.

The easiest way to do that is using the services of an online character agency. In Australia, there’s options like Australian national character check (ANCC) or other online government accredited vendors. In the U.S. there are various online services like Equifax. It’s not like you’re asking them to drive to the police station in your area and waste a lot of time. All you need is a phone, tablet or computer and you can order the police check in a few minutes. The results come back in two days, barely the time to pack your bags. If they don’t have a criminal record you can leave your horses with them and know your precious animals won’t mysteriously vanish by the time you get back.