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Stray Animals Act - Strengthened

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005 - An appeal has again gone out to cattle farmers and other livestock handlers and owners to cooperate with authorities, in getting stray animals off the island’s highways. Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Honourable Ignatius Jean, at this week’s House of Assembly sitting, introduced an amendment to the Animals Act.

The amendment, among other things, seeks to strengthen the powers of authorised persons who handle stray animals found either roaming the highways or on private property adjacent to or adjoining the island’s highways. It will also allow authorised persons who impound stray animals to be able to auction them off for sale in 4 days inclusive of their capture as opposed to 10 days exclusive of their seizure. Under the amended Act, the intended notice for sale will now require 3 days publication in the Gazette as opposed to the prior arrangement of 7 days notice.

Minister Jean says these measures are necessary in making for greater efficiency in the attempt to get stray animals off the highways. He says much collaboration along those lines is coming from the Police via the Ministry of Home Affairs, together with the Ministry of Communication, Works, Transport and Public Utilities.

The Ministry has been working closely with the St. Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS) in urging livestock owners to cooperate in getting stray animals off the highways. “We are trying our best to reduce on the need for the use of force by lethal shooting,” says Minister Jean.

He went on, “Again I say, we are trying as best as possible to immobilize those animals without having to use deadly force which is a last resort. However we need to have the full cooperation of members of the public and those persons who own livestock.” The Agriculture Minister says whereas cattle farming and livestock rearing is viewed as serious business by his ministry, the grazing of livestock along Saint Lucia’s highways has resulted in huge loses to life and property.

To date a holding pound has been established at Union and the services of a private contractor have been retained.

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