The goats were handed over to the owners through courts, police said.
The crackdown is following the goat thieves killing a Sub Inspector of Tiruchi police, S. Bhoominathan. The officer who chased the thieves at midnight was murdered by thieves.
Police arrested a 19-year-old goat thief, Manikantan, and two juveniles aged 14 and 11 years in connection with the murder.
Inspector-General of Police, Central Zone, V. Balakrishna in a statement on Monday said that instructions have been issued to the District Superintendents of Police to crack down on goat thieves.
Personnel in Tiruchi range of the police including, Tiruchi, Pudukottai, Karur, Ariyalur and Perambalur districts have registered 12 cases and arrested four people from November 23 to November 28.
Three cases were booked by the Tiruchi rural police, eight were registered in Pudukottai district, and one in Karur district.
The IG said that a special team comprising one Sub Inspector and policemen are constituted in the Tiruchi range and instructions have been given to enforce stringent crackdown on the goat thieves.
Police have also given strict instructions to regularly monitor the cases related to goat stealing and to arrest those involved and display their photographs and name.
However, local people said that there are more goat thieves who are out in the open and that it was a cartel that had deep connections spread across four to five districts.
Local goat farmers said that even if they get hold of the thieves generally, they are attacked using machete and iron rods and the thieves escape.