Residents of Enterprise Gardens, East Coast Demerara are fed up with the unhygienic environment they are forced to live in as a result of a resident feeding stray animals on a daily basis, and are calling on the relevant authorities to intervene immediately.
Residents said that on a number of occasions they have contacted the Buxton/Foulis Neighbourhood Democratic Council, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Stray Catchers but nothing has been done to address the situation.
Several residents, who are disgusted and directly affected by the situation on Rose and Main Street Enterprise Gardens, explained that an estimated 30 to 40 horses would parade the block preventing residents from being able to use the road effectively.
They have since sent a petition, calling on Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, Regional Chairwoman Genevieve Allen, Chairman of the Neighbourhood Democratic Council Dion Abrams and Indarjit Ramdass of the Environmental Protection Agency to provide a solution but nothing has been done to date.
The residents said they had complained to their neighbours who are feeding the animals, but they refused to listen. When Stabroek News approached Alvin and Debbie Changur they refused to comment.
Contacted, Abrams told Stabroek News, that on Friday last the NDC served a notice to the Changurs as regards the insanitary condition in which they operate. He added that currently the NDC was seeking to engage the Ministry of Public Health and the EPA on the issue.
The residents told Stabroek News that on a daily basis animals would flock the street early in the mornings and late in the afternoons to be fed. The Changurs feed them by way of large basins of rotting fruit and vegetables, which they place on a concrete strip on the government reserve.
This has created an infestation of rodents, flies and cockroaches. The animals also leave behind high odours of faeces and urine.
When Stabroek News visited the area, a team of horses which flocked the street had been eating out of the basins. Residents described the scene as a norm in the community adding that it would often be crowded with donkeys, cows and horses. In addition, the Changurs own more than 40 dogs and cats which reside in their compound, the residents said.
One resident, Peter Wintz, said the major issues were the stench left behind from the animal visits and the food fed to the animals. He explained that although the couple washes the area, it is not properly sanitized. He added that when it rains, his windows and doors must remain closed to keep out the high odours.
He said the loud noise from a pressure hose pump which is used to clean the concrete strip where the food is placed awakens then early in the mornings, followed by the thunderous clatter of the basins on the strip. This situation, Wintz said, has been ongoing for the past five years, but recently it has taken a turn for the worse.
Another resident Geetangali Samaroo, who lives right next door to the Changurs, told Stabroek News that her residence has a rodent infestation. She explained that she has tried several poisons recommended to prevent the breeding of rodents but has received no relief because of the food items stored by her neighbour. “I am just fed up with this situation. Nothing is being done… We have to keep our homes locked up. We cannot get to enjoy the fresh breeze in our homes,” she said adding that her neighbour gets annoyed when they speak of the discomfort.
Samaroo said too that in the wee hours of the morning she is sometimes awakened by the rank odour of the meat used to cook food for the dogs.
She added that the garbage collectors, because of the odour, have refused to collect her neighbour’s garbage.
A letter written to the authorities and seen by this newspaper stated, “Young babies and children are even prevented from venturing outside for fresh air due to the foul odour that pollutes the environment.”
It also said, “Every day, we are also faced with another detriment with regard to the wild horses that frequently race through the streets…” The missive noted that persons, especially young children use those same streets and often have to run for shelter or risk being injured by the horses, which has happened in the past. Stating that this is unfair, the letter noted that, like in every other neighbourhood, the discomfited residents have to pay property rates.
“We are tired of the situation. This is a prestigious gated community and we cannot tolerate this anymore something needs to be done,” said Romel Richmond another resident. He told Stabroek News that not only are they affected by the stench left behind by the animals and food but they have suffer damage to property. On one occasion, Richmond said, his car was damaged by the horses that were running through the street. Now, he said, he has to ask permission to park inside a neighbour’s yard to prevent further damage. The streets are also damaged by the animals, he added.
Richmond went on to say that because of the stench in the community he has to “think twice” before hosting or inviting family and friends over.
Anela Balkarran, a mother of two infants, told Stabroek News that whenever she has to pick up her children from their babysitter, she would have to use alternative route although the sitter lives just a few houses away. The mother said she cannot use road which is a shorter distance because it is often filled with galloping horses. She added that whenever she is at home she has to take precautions before opening the windows for fresh air. Balkarran noted that the conditions under which she has to raise her children are uncomfortable and unhealthy.
“We wish if something can be done to address the situation. It is not healthy for us to be living in an environment like this. This is a residential community. They should not be allowing this kind of activity,” Balkarran posited.
Residents further complained that it is unclear to them in what way the Changurs are aiding the animals since majority of their domestic animals suffer with mite infestation and would frequently die.
The residents further alleged that when animals die, they are buried in an alleyway behind the Changurs. This, they said, makes the situation worse since the decaying animals adds to the stench in the area.
According to Abrams, the NDC has visited the Changurs and observed that the complaints made by the residents “have a foundation.” He stressed that if any resident is going to help care for animals it should be done in a manner that is healthy to the community.
He further stated that should the couple not adhere to the notice served, the NDC is prepared to take legal action.