MONTEGO BAY, St James — They are not quite an ark full, but the almost 30 chickens, 12 ducks, a head of cattle, and the few goats rescued from the grounds of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries are posing quite a challenge.
Taken in by Montego Bay Animal Haven and being housed at a secret location to protect them from thieves, the ravenous animals have the animal-loving group appealing for help to keep them fed.
“We would be very grateful for some assistance. It can be cow feed, chicken feed, duck feed… they're just eating everything that we have. We are not getting any funding or Government assistance towards looking after them, so if anybody wants to help us out, that would be really cool,” Animal Haven Managing Director Tammy Browne told the Jamaica Observer.
“It doesn't have to be monetary — the money will go towards food — but even if we can get Hi-Pro or somewhere like that to just send us some animal food, that would be a big help,” she appealed.
Browne told the Observer that she was contacted by a high-ranking member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force who asked her to “come and help with the animals” just days after the bloody Sunday night ritual which claimed the lives of three congregants.
Upon visiting the premises, Browne said, she realised that the animals were in need of care and decided to take them in.
“We couldn't leave the animals. They were basically left to starve. If the police hadn't called us or the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hadn't gone down there, they would have all perished,” she said.
With just one vehicle at their disposal, they managed to move some of the animals that were left in the 'ark' and have been making attempts to rescue the rest. It has been slow going, the progress made during each trip determined by the size of Animal Haven's van.
“We moved a cow and some ducks because we only have one vehicle, so we moved what we could. We have been going back every day to feed the animals that have been left,” she said.
They have had a tough time rounding up the rest of the goats but Browne anticipates the animals should be in their care by the end of this week.
“The trouble was that a lot of the goats were going up into the hills right beside the place. So when [we] went up there to try and catch them, they weren't on the property and obviously you want to make sure you are not taking somebody else's goats,” said Browne. “But I think we've now identified the goats and we're going to move them.”
She assured people concerned about the animals that they are in good health.
“The location is obviously being kept quiet because we don't want people to know exactly where they are, but they're being looked after. They weren't actually in bad health, so I think they were being looked after until this happened,” she said.
“Other than being a bit dehydrated and hungry, there's nothing obviously wrong with them, so it's not really care that they need,” she added.
Though they were able to rescue most of the animals abandoned on the grounds of the religious organisation, she believes that some of them were stolen after the horrific night.
“The rabbits were all gone. When we got up there to pick them up they had already been taken,” she told the Observer.
“We got maybe a dozen ducks and I would say between 20 and 30 chickens. There were a lot more initially but I think people just came in and helped themselves. I don't know, but it certainly diminished a lot by the time we started moving animals,” Browne continued.
She lauded the police for contacting her group in an attempt to save the lives of the animals abandoned after Pathways was rocked by the events of October 17.
“I am really, really impressed that the police actually thought about the animals and reached out to ask for help for the animals. They obviously had a lot of other things dealing with at the time and yet they still thought about the animals on the property. I think that is an amazing thing,” said Browne.
She told the Observer that Montego Bay Animal Haven is committed to caring for these animals.
“Although we're not considered a sanctuary, we do try our best to help any and every type of animal. And I'm very, very glad to have been of some assistance with this,” Browne said.