The occupants of the St Joseph’s and adjoining Holy Family homes of the elderly on Vlissengen Road yesterday expressed disgust as they were affected by a strong stench of smoke and burnt flesh from a nearby empty lot, where a dead horse was set alight by its owner after it died last week.
According to Greta Gomes, matron at the facility, which is located opposite the St Sidwell’s Church, a month ago, the owner of a horse took the animal and left it in the empty lot near the home where close to 20 women are cared for.
She said the horse had an injury to one of its back legs and the owner might have been unsuccessfully treating the animal for the injury. “We saw it there last week and we told him that they should put it down because it was suffering,” Gomes said and according to her, the owner of the animal stated that “it will be there until it recovers.”
She said that some time last week, the owner of the animal was accompanied to the location which is filled with thick vegetation, by an inspector of the Guyana Association for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA), and she indicated to both parties that the animal should be removed from the location.
According to another occupant of the home, on Thurs-day morning she looked out of a window and saw the animal lying on the grass. She said that on further investigating, she and others at the home discovered that the animal was dead.
The elderly woman said that on Saturday, several young men accompanied by the owner of the animal went to the location, placed several used tyres on top of the dead animal and lit the makeshift pyre.
“We asked them what they were doing and they told us to leave them alone and went away. [It] was a big fire. Suppose it had reached the fence? We have a lot of women here,” an upset Gomes noted.
Since then, she said a strong stench enveloped the atmosphere and when this newspaper visited the home yesterday, the situation persisted.
Gomes said attempts had been made to contact City Hall’s Solid Waste Division with no success.
Animal rights activist Syeada Manbodh told Stabroek News yesterday that the experience which the animal suffered prior to its death was “similar to the case of the donkey on the East Coast,“ a recent incident reported by this newspaper. She said it leads to a lonely and painful death and it is “another reason why we need a revision in the animal welfare laws that define who is responsible for sick animals that have been abandoned by their owners.”
Efforts by this newspaper yesterday to contact administrator of the GSPCA, Oliver Insanally, were unsuccessful. But this newspaper understands that the association was aware of the incident.
Stabroek News was told that the association had tracked down the owner of the animal and he had related that he was treating the horse, and also produced medication which was prescribed by a vet. A source there said that in such situations, the body would not euthanize an animal and at the same time, the extent of a situation would determine what measures may be implemented.