Cattle rustling a major challenge for Reg. 5 police

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One of the most prevalent crimes in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) is cattle theft or cattle rustling and Regional Commander Senior Superintendent Kurleigh Simon revealed on Tuesday that between three to four reports of cattle theft are reported every week.

“We have many cattle farmers there, all the ranches are off the main road deep down in the backdam,” the Commander said during the ‘Police and You’ weekly programme.

He explained that one of the challenges the police in the region face is accessing the backlands since they do not have the required vehicles.

To this end, the police there monitor ‘cattle in transit’ – that is persons who buy these animals and transport them from one location to another.

“We try to be as diligent as possible and check the vehicles those animals are in for brand to ensure we establish proper ownership,” the Commander explained.

However, there is another challenge of several unbranded animals and therefore, the owners are hard to identify.

According to Commander Simon, the main complaint from the alleged owners of these animals is that “this person brand my animal or cow and has sold it, so when you get the vet to examine to see if there was a previous brand, there is oftentimes none.”

When this happens, the person cannot claim ownership simply because they failed to brand their animal in the stipulated time. He explained that the animals are supposed to be branded within six months of birth.

The Commander said persons cannot own the animals by colour or any other feature. When this happens, the animal is lodged and a file is sent for legal advice.

“Sometimes based on whatever evidence we are able to unearth, it might come back and say ‘charge’ or sometimes ‘listen let the parties take private legal action’,” the Commander said.

In some instances, the animal is also kept in police care and later put up for auction.

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