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A race against time - JSPCA's struggle to find a new home continues

Published:Sunday | March 15, 2015 | 3:00 AMTyrone Thompson

Time is running out for the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) as a Supreme Court order has given the group less than eight months to leave the 10 Winchester Road premises that they have called home for more than 20 years.

The JSPCA was initially given notice to vacate the Winchester Road location in 2013, when the government had put the property up for sale. However Pamela Lawson managing director of JSPCA told The Sunday Gleaner that a two-year long search for a suitably alternate location has not gone well.

"Its not going well at all, because we have not yet identified a place, even though Minister of Finance Peter Phillips and others have committed themselves to help us find a home," stressed Lawson

"We have received an order from the Supreme Court which states that we have to leave this property on or before November 1, and not even the prime minister can reverse a Supreme Court order," bemoaned Lawson.

She said that the search for a new home has been complicated by the fact that the entity's survival is dependent on the centrality of its location.

"As I to said to minister Phillips I need to be fairly central, because I need the clients that can afford treatment to find it accessible for them to go there, but I also need to be somewhere that those that can not afford it can easily get to as well, so moving out of Kingston wouldn't be an option because if I'm not financially viable I wont be able to help those who can't afford care for their animals," explained Lawson.

"We had thought we would have got a place by Hope Road towards Papine, but we're still negotiating and we don't seem to be getting anywhere there."

With the date of eviction fast approaching Lawson is most concerned about the welfare of the animals who were housed at the facility.

"We have about 200 animals who live here because, remember now, when the police go on operations, and encounter animals, they don't shoot them they bring them here; so I've had to renew my efforts to find a place especially this month because moving the clinic and the pharmacy and the animals will take quite some time, and time is running out."

While hopeful that more Jamaicans will adopt abandoned animals housed at the facility Lawson argued that this would not be a major fix, nor would it allow the JSPCA to move into a smaller premises.

"We do encourage people to come in and adopt and people do adopt, but because we get so many animals daily by the time we get a little space another animal takes its space, the only way it would help is if we would stop people from taking animals to the shelter on a daily basis, and though I've considered closing it down, I just can't turn them away." said Lawson.