April 16th 2015 Jenn Irvine, England:
Good afternoon Mr. Brantley,
I have copied Premier Amory, the Directors of C.A.R.E Nevis, Mr. Lupinacci, owner of The Hermitage Plantation and Director of the Nevis Humane Society, Mr. Daniel, developer of The Hamilton Beach Villas and Mrs. Slagon, owner of the Yachtsman Grill for their review. My husband, two young children and I were visiting your beautiful island for two weeks over the Easter holidays. It was our third trip to Nevis as my parents have relocated to the island. Towards the end of our visit we watched a man and his very young primary school aged son bring two dogs and their brand new puppies to the beach next to the Hamilton/Yachtsman Grill. The man took turns putting his dogs on a lead and physically dragging them into the water against their will. I thought this was strange as most dogs love the beach/the water and are excited to go for a swim. Ours certainly does. Clearly these animals knew what their master had in store for them. The man stood in the shallow water, holding the lead whilst the dogs desperately tried to swim to shore for between 20 and 30 minutes each time. He did this repeatedly. His child, seeing what the father was doing to the dogs, took turns throwing the tiny puppies into the water (they couldn't have been more than a few weeks old). It was so distressing that our family genuinely believed his intention was to drown his animals. I have never, ever seen a dog be tortured in this way apart from in Nevis. We have visited half a dozen other islands in the Caribbean and never seen such lack of care for an animal's wellbeing. When the dogs were finally permitted ashore by their master, they could hardly muster the strength to stand up. It was heart breaking to watch. When we approached the man and expressed concern for the dogs' wellbeing, we were remonstrated not only by him but by a local couple who were on the beach - it was their opinion the man should do whatever he wanted to his animals and they told us there are no laws to prevent him from torturing his animals… to their deaths if he so desires. They were very clear on this point. It was obvious to us that as a father he was leading by example and his son was copying his despicable behaviour - learning to treat his own animals with disdain. If you came upon a man beating/kicking/starving/suffocating etc his animal, would you not intervene? This man was drowning his animals within an inch of their lives. He could have simply taken them for a walk down the beach! It was shocking not just to us, but to many other tourists on the beach as well.
This was the second year running that I have witnessed such appalling treatment of dogs in that exact location. When we watched it happen last year, we mistakenly thought it was a unique situation - this couldn't possibly be happening repeatedly… but we were wrong. It is because we have now witnessed this cruelty and mistreatment twice that I write to you. In England, there are laws in place to ensure mistreatment of animals is an offence punishable by steep fines, confiscation of the abused animals, a ban on keeping animals in future can be put in place and finally jail time and the accompanying criminal record. Should Nevis not have the same punishments for animal cruelty? In such a God-fearing nation, how can it be possible that the Lord's commandments are not upheld by its population?
“A righteous man regards the life of his beast” -Proverbs “For every beast in the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is mine.” -Psalms “Open your mouth for the mute, for those who cannot speak for themselves.” -Proverbs “And the angel of the Lord said to them, “Why have you struck your donkey? Behold, I have come to oppose you because your way is perverse before me.” -Numbers Man has been tasked with caring for, not abusing, His animals. As a church-going Christian family, we cannot reconcile that animal cruelty is commonplace and accepted on an island of practicing Christians. I ask you to please consider the welfare of your animals and educate your people so that they know what basic, humane treatment should be expected. I can assure you that many other people from around the world will be as disgusted as we were to witness first hand the type of torture Nevisians believe to be acceptable.
With the utmost respect,
February 19th 2016 Mark Brantley
Your email directed to me from nearly a year ago was just directed to me again. I confess that I have no recollection of having received that email and am unsure therefore if any response was forthcoming from me then. If not, then please accept my apologies.
The incident you have described is despicable and unacceptable. However it would be wrong to conclude that this is commonplace or acceptable in Nevis. Dog fighting is not only illegal but as a Government we have gone further and banned the importation of certain breeds of dogs which some use for fighting. The police here will continue to be vigilant to prevent any abuse to animals and prosecute those who infringe the law.
I do agree however that there is a need for continuous education and sensitization of our public in relation to the treatment of animals. To that end, the island has partnered with CARE Nevis to stage annual spey/neuter clinics together with World Vets. We have also partnered with ARK Nevis who even now are jointly funding a significant expansion to our government run veterinary clinic. Most recently we have actively encouraged a programme called “Nevis Animal Speak” with the stated goal of educating our children about the care of pets. These efforts have been ongoing and will continue.
I however apologize to you for the despicable behaviour you described and assure you that we will continue to be vigilant to prevent animal cruelty in the island.
Hon Mark Brantley
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation Tourism, Health, Culture, Information, Youth, Sports, Community Development, Gender and Social Welfare Bath Hotel NEVIS