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Jan 31, 2007

Owner of euthanized horse defends carriage trade

Story PictureIt’s a story that touched a nerve with viewers and by this morning, it seemed that everyone had an opinion on the injury and subsequent mercy killing of a horse on the Western Highway. Today, News Five’s Janelle Chanona caught up with the mare’s owner to find out more about how the animal may have wound up there and what can be done to prevent such incidents in the future.

Ian Jones, Horse Owner
“I do not object to Mr. Jeffries shooting the horse, I would have probably had to have done it myself because the horse seemed to have been in really bad condition. And to be out there from the middle of the night until that time it probably suffered a great deal and I wouldn’t have wanted to see my horse in that condition.”

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
That was the reaction of Ian Jones this afternoon following the mercy killing of his mare “Whitey” on Tuesday morning. The animal had been knocked down on Monday night near mile three on the Western Highway and was slowly and painfully bleeding to death before it was put down.

“Whitey” was an employee of Giddy-Yap Horse and Carriage Tours, which operates from Fort Street. While Jones says that he only found out what had happened to the horse after its death, this morning an employee gave News Five a different version of events.

Janelle Chanona
“He told me this morning that he actually went out there, saw the horse, roped it, and then tied it there.”

Ian Jones
“Like I told you, this is the first time I’m hearing about that. Maybe he had discovered the horse, but you see I don’t reside in Belize City anymore so I was not informed of that when I got to where the carriages are kept because the carriages and the horses are not kept at the same place. Like I told you, that’s the first time I’m hearing of that though so I’m going to have to look into that. If he had told me that, then I would not have gone to make a report at the police station or I would gone to take care of my horse.”

Janelle Chanona
“Do you think that’s something that you will encourage in your employees next time, that if they see one of your animals out there, like you said it was raining maybe the rain made him stay away?”

Ian Jones
“Probably because it was raining and probably because he couldn’t ride the horse or move the horse, I don’t know. But he did not inform me of that at the time. Like I said, that’s the first time I hear that, coming from you.”

While Jones does his internal investigation, today the business man is calling on the police to arrest a group of young men aged thirteen to seventeen who have been systematically stealing horses in Belize City and charge them under the Cattle Theft Act.

Ian Jones
“I believe if that in the past the officers had at least charged one person for doing it, nobody would have moved the horses again. Because I’m not the only horse and carriage operator who has this problem, I’m not the only horse owner in Belize who has this problem. But the police officers they take it for joke. When you go to them and report, my horse has been missing since yesterday or since this morning, first thing they say it’s probably the boys “jolly riding”, I mean, “jolly riding” for them costs me money.”

Janet Stevens, Horse Owner
“The way how we feel because they de discriminate fu we horse. And nothing wrong with fi we horse. We tell the tourist them already in our country we have small horse, small breed of horse. We feed fi we horse, we tend to fi we horse, we do everything that we could do fi we horse. You have inna fi we company, you have some little boy does thief fi we horse and carriage every day, every day.”

As for the proposed Statutory Instrument that would regulate the horse and carriage industry, horse owners admit the lack of appropriate laws is obvious.

Ian Jones
“I want the S.I. to go through because not only does it protect the horses; it protects us as operators because for instance, no insurance company wants to insure the carriages because they don’t have to by law.”

“There are instances where the horses do sometimes they get injured on the job and if the S.I. would make sure that us as the operators would remove the horses from the work scene you know.”

Janet Stevens
“The Horse and Carriage is not a tour guide, it’s a ride we give them around.”

Janelle Chanona
“But the driver no talk to them and tell them?”

Janet Stevens
“Yeah the driver talk to them, but not as a tour. No, it’s not a tour, it’s a ride. Because for a tour you need a tour guide license and thing, so it’s a ride, it’s a tour. With the driver’s license, we seek into it already to the City Council and they said the horse is under no law.”

Ian Jones
“I would like to see, even though it has cost me a horse now, I would like this incident to help push that to go faster and even further.”

According to officials from the Belize Humane Society, an S.I. establishing the enforcement of animal rights in the horse and carriage industry, submitted two years ago, has yet to be signed into law. Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

Another persistent problem with the horse and carriage trade is that drivers of cars and trucks often grow impatient waiting behind the slow moving carriages and try to overtake, sometimes with disastrous results.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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