Temple Hall grows weary of stray cow road hazard - Animal butchered after latest crash as injuries, damage from collisions mount
Stray cows belonging to cattle herders with sprawling farms along the Temple Hall main road in St Andrew have been causing nightmares for motorists who traverse the roadway after dark.
The Gleaner understands that there have been at least two near-fatal accidents in recent times caused by large, black cows wandering on to the roads at night.
The latest incident occurred last Tuesday about 6:30 p.m. after a motorist was rushed to hospital following a collision with one of the animals.
“We only hear the impact and when we go on the scene, we see the driver badly injured and his Volvo – one of the old-time ones that he seem to have been cherishing – mash up. Him did injured bad and they took him to the hospital. We don’t know him around here, so we nuh know if him still hospitalised,” one resident told our news team.
Angry at the accident, residents and other motorists who stopped at the scene resorted to butchering the cow on the scene.
“A regular the cows dem stray and cause accident, and at that point, it don’t have any owner, so the people dem help themselves and start butcher the cow. Everybody get a piece. The only thing left was the carcass and dem light it,” the resident said,
In August, there were reports of a two-vehicle collision reportedly caused by cows along the same main road.
The Stony Hill and Lawrence Tavern police say they have knowledge of both incidents. However, no official report has been made.
“It happens too often. Several people crash into the animals all the while. I have transported injured persons who crash into cows – people broken up and vehicles damaged,” a policeman who did not wished to be named told The Gleaner.
When our news team visited nearby farms, no one was in sight, but the animals were seen in dilapidated pens, some of which were open.
“It’s a busy thoroughfare connecting several parishes, and at nights it’s dangerous. The animals are big, and worse dem black! The area is pitch dark and drivers won’t see these animals until they are very close – too close – and there is not much that can be done to avoid collision,” the policeman further stated.
Another resident from the nearby community told our news team that they have been contending with the problem for years.
“Is no ‘cow-incidence’! In the past, it was [even more] frequent. Is a thing weh yuh have to look out for, but is not every motorist know the area. People just a drive on a normal public road. There is no sign like ‘Look out for cattle’, and from what I know, the original owners did sell out and is new farmers a raise di cow dem now,” the resident said while applauding the on-site butchers last Tuesday night.
The police say they have been unsuccessful in locating the cattle herders as no one has claimed ownership of the animals.
Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) President Lenworth Fulton says there is legislative provision to deal with stray animals.
“There are provisions in law provided by the parish council of each parish to safekeep stray animals at cost to the owners, and they are the persons under law who are authorised to take stray animals from the street, or animals that are on people’s property that ought not to be there, and properly put them up and levy a fee against the owner for those animals,” he told The Gleaner.
Fulton said the JAS receives complaints from time to time and refers persons to the mayor’s office in the respective parishes for redress.