Row over Shamva animal sanctuary

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.

Comments (12)

I am totally disgusted at the way the owners of Ballyvaughn have put their financial gain before the welfare of the animals that Sarah Carter and her loyal staff have rescued from appalling conditions. Sarah and her staff have rescued the animals NOT the Putterrills, Sarah and her staff have cared for and fed the animals, some since birth...what right do they have to now say they cannot leave with their rightful owner...If I were to rent a house and while I am there purchase a pet, does that mean that when my lease expires I must leave my pet behind...the whole situation is Ridiculous and makes a mockery of the Zimbabwe Judicial system. I for one will never support Ballyvaughn ever again and I will certainly not recommend any of our numerous overseas visitors to support it either. I sincerely hope that the Putterrills find some common decency within themselves and let Sarah take her precious animals to their "Forever Home".

Animal Lover - 29 November 2013

I know this ghastly mess is all for money and no consideration for the plight of the animals. The Putterrill,s and KathyMcintosh call them selves christian? Robin Mcintosh would be turning in his grave with horror not to say that his Girls hate to see the loss of what he had created. Enough said.

Sue - 29 November 2013

This is a totally disgusting act that the Putterills have committed. They should be totally ashamed of themselves for behaving in such a manner and for tarnishing the reputation of Robin Mackintosh. You will ever have the support of the Zimbabwe public and I predict that it wont be long before the SPCA are forced to relocate the poor unfortunate animals to the care of the TWALA Trust due to the neglect that you have a history of.

John - 29 November 2013

I am saddened and horrified that this was allowed to happen. As mentioned in the article there are animals with special medication and nutritional needs. Evicting Sarah and her staff, forcing them to leave the animals behind is like ripping a baby from the arms of it's mother. Shameful.

Natalie - 29 November 2013

Having worked with Sarah for over 10 years and been witness to all that has happened there I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the Putterill's have no interest in the welfare of the animals! They have never, in the 8 years that Sarah has been in charge, even shown one minute's interest nor offered any support or help of any kind! They have no right to do what they have done and absolutely no grounding for their so called reasons.

floydiane - 2 December 2013

I do not understand why the animals rescued by Ms Carter should not be permitted to be moved to the new Twala Trust premises, but typical of the Zim judicial system not to take into account extenuating circumstances such as animal welfare. Robin Mcinstosh must be spinning in his grave, poor man. Ms Carter has always spoken fondly of him & the work he did, and for that to be repaid the way it has by his daughter and son-in-law is, frankly, disgusting. If the Putterills are an example of Christian "tolerance" and "humanity" then I am very grateful not to count myself a Christian. Despicable behaviour on their part and I will never support Bally Vaughan whilst they have any involvement whatsoever. I hope that the animals will not suffer too greatly in this debacle although it is my opinion that they have already been traumatised further (bearing in mind their already compromised backgrounds) by this cruel and unnecessary separation from the only caregivers that many of them have ever known.

Lucinda - 2 December 2013

Shame on the Putterills - and shame on the court for this masquerade of a trial. Justice certainly hasn't been served. Not to mention that the animal's best interest have not been met. Let's hope a less corrupt magistrate will rule fairly, and quickly, so that Sarah Carter will be able to rescue her animals - again.

Cedric J - 3 December 2013

I had the extreme pleasure of visiting and meeting Sarah and Vin a few years ago, the love and passion they have for those animals and the wildlife of Zimbabwe as a whole was evident in everything they did. Their lives revolved around their work and love of their "family". Now, for the sake of someone's bank balance, that work must stop and the love and future of the animals they have rescued must be jeopardised - what is this world coming to? All my love to Sarah, Vin and all associated with wildlife rescue xx

Alexa - 3 December 2013

This is deplorable, there are no words to describe my disgust of the complete & utter disregard for these animals. I am the legal owner of the lion that Sarah has mentioned (the widow!) and am determined to fight the Putterills for what is legally mine - Kadiki will go to live with her beloved Sarah.

Chooks - 3 December 2013

I have known Sarah and Vinay for some years. Sarah is one of the most committed people that I have ever met when it comes to the responsibility and love of the animals that were under her charge. Her kindness to people as well should be noted. She has worked with the local communities helping them with their domestic stock and pets as well as having her staff all wanting to stay with Sarah rather than work with the PUtterills. Loyalty from I think 17 people. For the courts to honour what is obviously not an honest or accurate portrayal of the case is all wrong. In todays Zimbawe we as Zimbabweans have to believe that their is transparancy and honesty. Please people in the high postions that you have look into this totally unfair eviction of Sarah and allow her at least to have the animals that have been under her care and given to her to look after. When Zim had problems and there was great difficulty in finding food in the supermarkets, Sarah did not let the animals go for one day without food. Please help Sarah get her animals home with her. Karen P. Zimbabwe

karen - 3 December 2013

I am experiencing great dissatisfaction, anger and anxiety over the current situation at Bally Vaughan Animal Sanctuary, and the dispute between the lovely Sarah Carter and the lowly Putterills. Although I am a resident of the UK I volunteered at the sanctuary a few months back, whilst Sarah Carter was the manager. I have never seen anyone so dedicated, passionate and loving towards all animals, great and small, as the love that Sarah Carter showed. The animals thrived under the protection and love of herself, Colling Mwatupa and their staff. The Putterills have no right to claim the animals and have given no explanation as to HOW they have been able to get the couts to favour them - the animals are Sarahs family and should remain with her. The latest despicable blow came with the eviction, which is absolutely discusting! How the Putterills sleep at night after tearing families apart and leaving others without homes is beyond me! SHAME ON THEM!!!

Lucy Morton-Smith - 7 December 2013

Firstly, Debra is NOT Robin McIntosh's daughter, she is his step-daughter. Her mother, Kathy, was previously married to Debra's father, who was killed in the Zim war. I would thus say that surely Robin's TRUE daughters should be the inheritors of Bally Vaughn and NOT Debra Volker-Putterrill. Interesting how these "second wives" manage to get the inheritance away from the true inheritors and into the hands of their own offspring! Robin was a good man and this is desecrating his memory and all the good he ever did for the animals and Bally Vaughn. I am sure Sarah Carter and her team did a wonderful job there. The fact that she was evicted and given 25 minutes to leave the property, speaks tomes about the kind of grabbers that the Putterrills are. Amazing how filthy lucre can make people behave. I lived in the area for many years (long before Robin even owned Bally Vaughn, and he was just a farm manager there, as well as after he bought the farm) and it is very sad to see what has now transpired. I am disgusted by the Putterrills behaviour, but knowing a little about their history, am not surprised. It is sad that the animals have to suffer through man's filthy greed. Sarah, I hope you get your beloved animals back again soon. May the Putterrills get what they deserve! I shall allow readers to insert their own thoughts here!

Jane - 2 January 2014

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