Code Section Group

Food and Agricultural Code - FAC


  ( Division 10 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

CHAPTER 9. Injury to, or Theft of, Cattle [21851 - 21886]

  ( Chapter 9 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

ARTICLE 1. Driving Cattle From Their Range [21851 - 21856]
  ( Article 1 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )


As used in this article, “range” means the enclosed or unenclosed lands outside of cities, towns, and villages in this state, whether of the public domain or in private ownership, upon which by custom, license, or otherwise, cattle are kept or permitted to roam and feed.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)


Any person that is not the owner or does not have the right of possession of any cattle, that is found driving such cattle off its usual range, without the consent of the owner, is guilty of grand theft.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)


Notwithstanding any other law, in any action for the wrongful taking, possessing, harboring, or transporting of cattle, for the driving of cattle off their usual range, or for the killing or slaughter of cattle without the consent of the owner or the person lawfully in possession of such cattle, the detriment caused thereby to the plaintiff shall be four times the value of the cattle at the time of the taking, possessing, harboring, transporting, or driving, or killing or slaughtering thereof, with interest from that time, plus an amount in fair compensation for the time and money properly expended by the plaintiff in pursuit of the cattle.

This section shall not apply to a secured party, as defined in paragraph (73) of subdivision (a) of Section 9102 of the Commercial Code, when taking possession of cattle pursuant to a security agreement if one of the following conditions has been met prior to movement of any such cattle:

(a) The secured party has requested and received a brand inspection of the cattle covered by the security agreement pursuant to Sections 21051.5 and 21171 of this code.

(b) The secured party has requested the inspection required by subdivision (a) and due to an insufficient amount of time to inspect the cattle prior to their movement, the brand inspector agrees to allow movement of the cattle, with inspection of the cattle to be made at their first destination prior to their commingling with any other cattle.

The inspection performed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) shall be conducted for the sole purpose of assuring that the cattle that are moved are the same cattle subject to the security agreement.

In a proper case, which shall include the killing or slaughter of cattle, exemplary damages may be awarded to the plaintiff as provided in Section 3340 of the Civil Code.

The commencement of any criminal prosecution for grand theft of cattle shall not preclude or prevent the commencement of any civil action for damages, as specified in this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 531, Sec. 25. (AB 502) Effective January 1, 2014. Operative July 1, 2014, pursuant to Sec. 28 of Ch. 531.)


(a) The judge before whom any person is tried for the wrongful taking, possessing, killing, or slaughter of cattle without the consent of the owner or the person lawfully in possession of those cattle may, upon the conviction of the person tried, order the forfeiture of any device or apparatus that is designed to be, or is capable of being, used to commit the offense charged, and which was used in committing the offense charged. “Device or apparatus” includes, but is not limited to, any vehicle that is used or intended for use in taking, possessing, harboring, or transporting the cattle.

(b) Any device or apparatus ordered forfeited shall be sold, used, or destroyed by the department.

(c) The provisions in this section authorizing a judge to order the forfeiture of a device or apparatus are also applicable to the judge, referee, or juvenile hearing officer in a juvenile court action brought under Section 258 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(d) For purposes of this section, a plea of nolo contendere or no contest, or forfeiture of bail, constitutes a conviction.

(e) Neither the disposition of the criminal action other than by conviction nor the discretionary refusal of the judge to order forfeiture upon conviction impairs the right of the department to commence proceedings to order the forfeiture of property pursuant to any other provision of law.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 149, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2004.)

FACFood and Agricultural Code - FAC1.