Animals on our roadways have been a major problem over the years and recently the Ministry of Home Affairs began a massive ‘stray catching’ exercise. Stray catchers are currently being paid $5,000 per animal. Once an animal is caught it is supposed to be kept at the nearest pound, most of which are housed at police stations for a specific period.
During that period, the owner can come forward, claim the animal and pay a cost of $5,000 in order to get it back.
However if that period expires the animal becomes the property of the state and can be disposed of through public auction.
But given the high value for cows, owners have been coming forward to reclaim them – not so for the unbranded horses and jackasses, which are being kept as guests of the state for an indefinite period.
This newspaper was reliably informed that as a result, these animals have been locked up in police pounds for more than two weeks, in most cases, without water and proper food.
So far at least two animals have died at one of the pounds on the East Coast of Demerara, apparently as a result of dehydration and starvation. There are also reports, too, that the remaining animals there are in really bad condition.
“A police can’t go and cut grass for these animals. Police are not being paid to cut grass to feed animals,” the source said.
A visit by this newspaper to several pounds along the East Coast of Demerara revealed that several jackasses appear to be gravely ill.
Kaieteur News understands that as recent as Monday, the carcasses of three animals had to be disposed of by burning.
Persons who were made aware of the situation are suggesting to the relevant authorities to find a proper holding place for the animals after the stipulated period of impoundment, before quickly auctioning them off, which would somewhat ensure their survival while in the state’s care.
“Even if they put these animals in a pasture, at least they get grass and they can survive a little longer,” a concerned animal lover told this newspaper.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, told this newspaper yesterday that his Ministry has not been in receipt of any reports about dying animals in the police pounds.
“Once we have that information we will certainly take steps to deal with it,” Rohee told Kaieteur News.
He explained that if such occurrences are taking place at the police pounds, there is a procedure that should be followed.
According to the Minister, if an animal in pound appears ill, the ranks at the station should inform their superior, who in turn should inform the coordinator of the stray catching programme.
This newspaper was told that only up to yesterday, Programme Coordinator Ovid Glasgow visited pounds along the East Coast of Demerara to ascertain the condition of animals there.
“Before jumping to conclusions, one has to ascertain what condition the animal was brought,” Minister Rohee said.
Although there have been some criticisms of the stray catching programme, the Home Affairs minister defended it as being very successful.
“People want to see this programme fail and they are making all kinds of allegations. But the programme is highly successful,” Rohee stated.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Head of the Guyana Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals, (GSPCA), Oliver Insanally, said that the matter will be investigated now that it has been brought to their attention.
Mr. Insanally said that he will now have to inform the other board members and a thorough investigation will be launched since animals too have rights.
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