Drive to free Lucea of stray animals
Christopher Bodden, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Seven dogs were captured as the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) started a drive on behalf of the Hanover Parish Council to remove stray animals from the streets of Lucea on Wednesday.
The exercise was carried out at the request of Mayor of Lucea and Chairman of the Hanover Parish Council, Councillor Shernet Haughton.
"We are trying to see how best we can assist the town of Lucea by removing the stray dogs from the streets," Evelyn Hall, manager of the Montego Bay branch of the JSPCA, told Western Focus.
"I know it's a big problem here, so what we are doing is to remove them (dogs), take them to our facility, and assess them. What (dogs) can be re-homed, we will do so, while those that can't, we will have to do what's best for them."
For many years, the dogs have been lazing in Bustamante Square (the heart of the town), sleeping beneath motor vehicles at the Lucea Police Station or on the porch of the Lucea Post Office; however, complaints began to surface in recent times about the unsightly condition of the animals after some of the dogs started to suffer from sarcoptic mite infestation, or mange, a skin disease caused by mites which burrow under a dog's skin and lay eggs, resulting in skin inflammation, incessant scratching, and hair loss.
Haughton told Western Focus that the council would be turning its attention to the matter of the stray goats, which are now roaming the town, especially in the wee hours of the morning.
"As for the goats, I have been made to understand that they are owned, and as such, next week, I will be issuing notices to these owners to provide pens for their goats," said Haughton. "If they don't comply, action will be taken against them. The goats will be taken away."
This is not the first time a mayor of Lucea has threatened to remove goats from the streets of Lucea. In a Gleaner article published in May 2004, then mayor, Lester Crooks, was reportedly taken to task by two councillors at a council meeting following his announcement that he was going to capture six herds of goats, which, he said, were rummaging through garbage in the town during the morning and evening hours, causing traffic hazards.
At the time, Audley Gilpin and Sheridan Samuels, then councillors of the Lucea and Cauldwell divisions, respectively, insisted that the goats were helping out the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) as the animals provided a well-needed service by eating the garbage, which was usually strewn across the streets, gullies, and the Lucea bus park due to poor solid-waste management.
Gilpin also argued that the goats were preventing the breeding of flies by eating discarded mangoes and other fruits that harboured pests. The council was told that the goats were owned by community members from First Hill and Prosper Road who reared them for a living.
Gilpin further said that the goats, who ate the garbage while on their way out to pasture, were not in the town during the day and were not posing a threat to pedestrians or motorists.
The two councillors had demanded that Crooks focus his attention on stray cows, which were in abundance at Point Estate and were roaming the highway, resulting in a number of accidents, during which several lives were lost.