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New law for livestock farmers

Reported by: Susan Parker
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Updated: 7/03/2013 8:18 pm
MACON, Miss. (WTVA) -- Jacob Megehee is a lifelong cattle farmer.

While some raise livestock as a second job, it's number one at his Macon ranch.

Over the years, he's seen what can happen to farmers who place their trust in the hands of a stranger along with their livestock.

Getting them back is almost impossible.

"If you give a bad check or you buy cattle on false pretenses on livestock and they put them on a truck to Kansas and then if the check bounces, the owner who sold them has to go through civil court and that takes forever and ever and ever," Megehee said.

As of July first, Mississippi law makes this a felony. In the past, the buyer was given 48 hours to pay.

If they didn't, it was a misdemeanor or civil issue.

"When you change from civil court to criminal court-I'm not a lawyer, but you've got a more direct route and so it's an animal care issue. We should all be interested in animal care," Megehee added.

House Bill 178 also addresses livestock theft.  It states that if any person steals livestock of any value he is guilty of larceny and punishable depending on the gravity of the offense.

"These people put their heart and energy in to growing these animals and they need their money. They've spent time in the fields and those people that take the animals and write bad checks should be held accountable for those actions," Mississippi State University Extension Agent Dennis Reginelli said.

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