Local October 18, 2011 | 2:56 pm

Ranchers say members of the military head gangs of cattle rustlers

SANTO DOMINGO. – The livestock ranchers grouped in APROLECHE accuse members of Dominican Republic’s military of heading gangs of cattle rustlers and ask the authorities to investigate their constant denunciations of rustling, which has left losses of more than RD$1.5 billion in the last few years.

APROLECHE president Eric Rivero said they know who the members of the military are, but revealed neither their names nor their ranks. "A day doesn’t go by without at least 40 heads of cattle reported being carved up or stolen in all of the country’s regions, generally productive cows, which leads to even higher losses for ranchers."

APROLECHE, which said the country has nearly two million heads of cattle, affirmed that a milk cow is worth as much as RD$60,000, but when rustlers carve it up to sell the meat they only make 4,000 to 5,000 pesos.

In a press conference, the livestock executives said there’s impunity with animal thieves because despite being charged they’re never convicted, citing one case in which a rancher had to spend 200,000 pesos in the judicial process against a man accused of rustling.

After listing their problems to the media, the cattle dealers went to Police headquarters to meet with Police chief Jose A. Polanco, to make him aware of the situation.

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