‘We’re biting with gums and no teeth’
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — A recent near miss with a cow had deputy mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Ian Myles renewing his appeal to the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation to reopen an animal pound for the parish and get strays off the roads.
With three fatalities last year and several people injured, he believes the facility is urgently needed.
“Since we met last month there has been a fatal crash again, due to stray animals. I myself could have been a victim of a crash with stray animals but, luckily, I can drive,” Councillor Myles (Jamaica Labour Party, Little London Division) said at last Thursday’s sitting of the municipal corporation.
“We cannot sit idly and watch as people are losing their lives while we here at the corporation do not institute this pound,” he stressed.
He spoke of the challenges being faced by drivers and the wider population.
“You don’t see the cows until you reach them. They have taken over the streets of the parish, the deaths continue to climb, the associated burden on the lives of residents continues to be insurmountable,” Myles bemoaned.
He said coupled with the loss of lives from crashes caused by the strays, residents continue to lose fruits and vegetables along with domestic water they have purchased. The deputy mayor also pointed to the filthy mess untethered animals make on the roads, forcing some drivers to visit the car wash more frequently than desired.
He argued that the pound is long overdue.
“It has been on the books for too long. It seems as if we’re biting with gums and no teeth,” Myles argued.
He said farmers in the parish have no respect for law and order and there is a challenge identifying a cow once it is involved in a traffic mishap.
“Whether it be branding, tagging, whatever it is, but we as a municipality must push for identification of these animals. The appropriate agencies are here to start the conversation in a meaningful and serious matter,” he said.
Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar and councillor for the Negril Division Bertel Moore, has for months indicated that discussions are under way for Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company Ltd to support the council’s effort to repair the existing pound. However, Myles is of the view that the facility is not large enough to accommodate the hundreds of stray animals roaming the streets.
“The old pound is there and, if you ask me, it’s going to take some work. Because that pound…served the parish for decades [but now] is a different dispensation that we are seeing. The number of animals that are out there to be captured can no longer hold there,” he reasoned.
Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company, he said, must join the conversation as additional land space will be required.
While agreeing that the space is indeed limited, Moore said an auction system would keep numbers in check.
“To be honest, I do agree with you that the pound is small but we are only keeping animals in the pound for a certain period of time. We’re not going to have 200 animals in there. As soon as that 10 days is over, we will be auctioning them. I know it’s small, yes! But we will have to move with what we have,” the mayor explained.
He gave an assurance that as soon as the corporation’s new chief executive officer takes up the position he would raise the issue.
“Let’s jump on it ASAP so we can get it, once and for all, up and running,” Myles urged.
About 1:00 pm on Christmas Eve last year, 29-year-old Odane Dennison of Pipers Corner, Savanna-la-Mar was driving his motorcycle along the road when he collided with a cow that walked into his path.
The police were summoned and Dennison was taken to the hospital by a passer-by. He later succumbed to his injuries.
On July 30, the Westmoreland Police Division was plunged into mourning after 21-year-old Constable Tajay Ebanks died as a result of injuries he sustained when his service motorcycle collided with a cow in Little London.
Three days later, 22-year-old Christopher Samuels otherwise called “Delano” of Dalling Street in Savanna-la-Mar was driving his Toyota Corolla Axio motor car with two other people onboard when upon reaching a section of the Little London main road a cow walked into the path of the vehicle, causing a collision.