Sun | Sep 24, 2017

32 sheep, 18 goats stolen in one night

Published:Friday | June 14, 2013 | 6:00 AM
Phillip Reynolds, caretaker at a goat farm in St. Catherine who was tied up by gunmen as they slaughtered more than 30 sheep and goats early Wednesday morning. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

Wadeton Reynolds is at a crossroads; he's wondering if the profession he's loved for 15 years is still worth the trouble.

Reynolds, a livestock farmer in the Nightingale Grove Farms community of St Catherine, is still trying to cope with the fact that thieves slaughtered and removed the carcasses of 32 sheep and 18 goats from his five-acre farm between late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

"Mi feel like fi jus give up now," he said. "Right now mi so frustrated, mi can't tell you wah mi a go do. Can't really tell you." Reynolds grew up on his father's farm in Christiana and believes farming is in his blood.

"Is a trait you know," he said. "I used to do heavy equipment first and then went into this." He estimates his loss amounts to about J$2 million. He said the area suffers from thieves and was surprised his farm had not been hit before now.

When The Gleaner arrived after 9 a.m. yesterday, the entrails of the animals were still in the open, with flies swarming. Some of the goats were with kid. His sheep stock is still fairly healthy but his goat population is almost wiped out.

"I had so much goat here, I phased it out and went into sheep. Because of the same praedial larceny, I thought it better if I grow sheep," he said.

Man offered to buy sheep herd

A man had offered to buy his sheep herd, but he was reluctant to sell. He now rues that decision.

"Why did I not follow mi mind?" he asked. "But you can't foresee nutten."

Reynolds' son, Wayne, who owns a farm in St Mary, worried about the future of the livelihood.

"How must you tell a youth now to do farming? What happen to the average little man who suffering?" he asked.

"Mi have a neighbour who say him can't sleep a night. He thought it was his farm they hit last night (Wednesday)."

Police and residents believe a power outage, due to a damaged electricity pole, aided the thieves' heist. Investigators believe four men were involved in the robbery. They held up the caretaker who had gone to buy candles due to the blackout, and bound him in nearby bushes before heading to the farm.