AT this time of the year the number of cases of stock theft reported to the SAPS shows an upward trend. This could be attributed to the fact that people steal the animals to eat over the festive season or sell to those looking for animals to slaughter for their festive season celebrations. The SAPS urges livestock owners to take every reasonable precaution to safeguard them. They should guard against leaving livestock grazing in unattended fields unattended as because this make them easy prey. Another worrying factor is that animals are left to graze near roads, including freeways. The animals wander off onto the roads and get killed or are a threat to road users. In terms of the Animal Identification Act, Act 6 of 2002, owners of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs may be prosecuted if their animals are not marked in the prescribed manner. “We urge all owners of livestock to have them branded so if the animals are stolen and recovered, police would be able to trace the owners,” said police spokesperson Captain Vincent Pandarum. Anyone driving, transporting or conveying livestock on a public road must be in possession of the relevant removal certificate. “Police will be stepping up on policing of farms and rural communities as well as holding roadblocks as proactive measures to prevent stock theft,” he added. - Supplied.