HARARE – There was chaos at Bally Vaughan Animal Sanctuary yesterday as animal care givers on the reserve were kicked out over rental disagreements.
Bally Vaughan, which is located 40km outside Harare along the Shamva road, catered for over 300 animals of different species rescued from across the country, and some in need of medical attention.
The sanctuary is part of the Bally Vaughan game park owned by Kathleen Norah Mcintosh.
However, Sarah Carter, director of the animal sanctuary, said her lease agreement expires in October next year.
“They came here with the deputy sheriff and gave us 25 minutes to evacuate the place without any notice,” said Collin Mwatupa, the assistant manager.
“They have been planning for this eviction for a long time because they came with workers to replace us, but they do not know the needs of these animals.
“These animals were rescued from various situations, there are four animals that need medication every day, a leopard, a serval, baby donkey and lion.”
Carter said the sanctuary had an operational lion rescue and was not even given time to remove the animals to another sanctuary they were building in Arcturus.
“This was not even a commercial reserve, it was about giving these animals a second chance, my husband is a vet and so he was helping us taking care of these animals,” she said.
“It’s Mcintosh’s son-in-law Gordon Putterrill and his wife Debra who are behind this. They wanted to double our rent, but that was criminal.
“We were also taking care of a lion that belongs to a widow, which was the only memory. We also had six lions and a hyena for another official as well,” Carter said.
She said she was disappointed in the way the eviction took place as her staff, who stay at Bally Vaughan farm faced eviction.
According to the Murewa magistrate’s court ruling, the eviction was granted pending a court appeal by Carter to remain on the land until the lease expires.
“The respondent (Carter) will not suffer irreparable harm if leave to execute a pending appeal is granted in my view. Instead, applicant will be greatly prejudiced if this application is not granted especially considering the long period appeals take to be heard,” the court papers read.
“Having gone through the documents filed of record, the record proceedings as well as the judgment of my brother magistrate, I am convinced that the appeal has no prospects of succeeding and that same as indeed dilatory meant to frustrate the applicant,” the court papers stated.