Online Petition to Prime Minister to help Animals Without Water at Jamaican Animal Sanctuary -- thepetitionsite.com/1/Water-For-Animal-House-Jamaica

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It is hard to believe that anyone would deny water to 164 rescued animals when there is no good reason to do so. But that is exactly the situation at The Animal House Jamaica which has been without running water for several months now due only to a bureaucratic - and very cold-hearted - impasse. An online petition to the Prime Minister of Jamaica has been launched to get the water back for their 183 animals at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Water-For-Animal-House-Jamaica/

finds that surprising in a country where tourism is crucial to its survival

Jamaica gets very hot in the summer. So hot that water becomes more critical than ever. "And being without running water when you have 115 dogs and 68 cats to look after - when all it would take to provide you with water is to open one valve - is to be faced with a very miserable daily reality" says Executive Director, Maureen Sheridan.

The Animal House Jamaica is a no-kill animal sanctuary located on the north coast of the island of Jamaica. According to Sheridan, many challenges have been overcome since the sanctuary was registered as a charity in May 2003 - including five hurricanes in only four years. But, Sheridan says, nothing has tested the mettle of the sanctuary staff as much as the loss of the sanctuary's water supply. "It is really hard to fathom how anyone could deny us water when the pipes are there and the water supply is there...and the only reason given for not giving it to us is that it might - might - result in additional maintenance bills because the pipes are old. Interestingly, though, when we had a water supply, we never had any problems with the pipes. In other words, when the system was built, it was built to last".

Sheridan explains that the problem began when The Animal House's original supplier - the company they lease the property from - closed down its main operation and gave the water supply lines over to the National Water Commission, the government-owned public supplier. This company, (whose motto is "Water is Life",) although providing water to other people in the area, has flatly refused to restore the water for the animals. Appeals everywhere, Sheridan says, even to the Prime Minister's office, have fallen on deaf and unresponsive ears.

In an effort to draw attention to their plight and to prod the Prime Minister into helping The Animal House Jamaica has started an online petition to the Prime Minister, The Honourable Bruce Golding, aiming for 10,000 signatures, has already attracted 2,000 supporters but is still short of its goal by 8000. The link to the petition is: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Water-For-Animal-House-Jamaica/

The fact that, without solicitation, many American, Canadian and European tourists find their way to the sanctuary and then describe their visit as the "highlight of their trip" seems not to register with the Ministry of Tourism, Sheridan comments, adding that she "finds that surprising in a country where tourism is crucial to its survival". "Nor, she says with a rueful smile, does the fact that those tourists, after visiting with the animals are unable to wash their hands properly nor use a toilet that flushes".

In the meantime, for the animals' survival and to maintain basic hygienic standards, the sanctuary has had to resort to trucking water in on a weekly basis. Not the best solution (both costly and unreliable) but the only solution presently at hand says Sheridan adding that "Cleaning the kennels with buckets is difficult and inadequate when you have as many dogs as we have. Shame on the people that have the power to provide us with water but refuse to. I am sure that they have water at home yet don't have over a hundred dogs and 68 cats to care for."

The Animal House Jamaica
theanimalhousejamaica.org
Contact: Maureen Sheridan, Executive Director
1-876-383-8338

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