(Jamaica Observer) Ten masked gunmen on Wednesday night invaded an animal farm in Nightingale Grove, St Catherine, slaughtering 32 sheep and 18 goats before making off with the carcasses, leaving only the intestines behind.
The elderly caretaker of the farm was returning from a nearby shop during a power outage when he was attacked by the gunmen, beaten, gagged, dragged to bushes a half-mile away and left for dead.
Police said the men then went to the farm where they slaughtered the animals — several of which were heavily pregnant and not fit for consumption.
Yesterday, owner of the farm, Wadeton Reinolds, put his losses at approximately J$2 million.
He said he was alerted to the horrific incident by a resident early yesterday.
“I was at home in Kingston when I got a call from a neighbour that something serious had happened,” said a distraught Reinolds.
He said he, accompanied by his son, rushed to the farm only to discover the animal intestines strewn about the property.
By then the caretaker — battered and dehydrated — managed to free himself and was making his way back to the farm. Yesterday, the elderly man said he was experiencing pains in his mouth.
“I was coming from shop when the group of men just attacked me,” the frightened caretaker related.
Meanwhile, Reinolds, who said he has been rearing animals for more than 30 years, said he was contemplating closing down his business.
Other farmers told the Observer that the raid was the latest in a series of attacks on farms in the quiet community by gun-toting criminals in recent times.
“There are about 60 farmers in the community and so far about 30 of these farmers have fallen victims to robbers since the start of the year,” said Christopher Bacchus, president of the Nightingale Grove Farm Citizens’ Association.
He was among a group of angry farmers who said they were living on edge.
According to Bacchus, it was just a few months ago that criminals invaded his fish farm removing thousands of fish from his pond.
Another farmer, who asked not to be named, said several months ago criminals stole more than eight cows from his farm.
The farmers said they were frustrated and have called on Agriculture Minister Rodger Clarke and the police for help.
Clarke, responding to the farmers on a radio programme from China yesterday, reiterated that he was looking at measures to hold wholesale and other establishments who purchase meat more accountable.