Homa Bay zoo: Livestock invade markets, eat produce, injure traders, buyers

Traders threaten a tax boycott in seven days if animals not removed. Say they’re losing money

In Summary
  • Public health department says it will impound animals found in the street and has issued a directive that animals must not enter markets.
  • Livestock includes cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats that rush to the markets at 7a.m. Compensation demanded, lawsuits threatened.
Donkeys lie on the road in Homa Bay town and interfere with business operations
Donkeys lie on the road in Homa Bay town and interfere with business operations
Sheep feed on someone vegetable where they are sold in Homa Bay town
Sheep feed on someone vegetable where they are sold in Homa Bay town
A cow tries to walk out from a road in Homa Bay town
A cow tries to walk out from a road in Homa Bay town

Traders in Homa Bay are alarmed by rampant interference in markets by un-restrained domestic animals that roam, trample, eat their fill and do their business.

Cattle, goats, and sheep mingle with other customers, disrupting business and making a joke of hygiene.

Traders deplore losses when a donkey steps on produce to have a snack, or a more substantial meal, and later excretes it.

Market officials have presented a petition to the Homa Bay department of Trade and municipal boards to get rid of the foraging animals and send them back to their farms.

Homa Bay Giant Traders Association chairman Jack Nyambega said despite their pleas to the county government for help, the numbers of roaming ruminants have increased.

“We have raised the issue with Homa Bay government without success. If the animals cannot be controlled then we’ll suspend paying taxes because of the unsafe business environment,” Nyambega said.

Speaking to journalists in Homa Bay town market on Saturday, he said they have given the county government a one-week ultimatum to respond to their plea.

He said traders will be directed not to pay taxes until the problem is solved. Traders, byers and motorists have been injured.

Traders want the cows, sheep, goats and donkeys to be removed from markets within seven days.

Nyambega said the animals interfere with sanitation because they remove garbage from their collection sites as they feed on them.

“The county government must be ready to be sued over negligence. We’ll want to be compensated for the damages the animals have caused us,” he said.

At Soko Mjinga market, traders use canes to keep animals away from their stalls.

Market chairman Joshua Ouma said animals come to their stalls by 7a.m. and cause problems the whole day.

“They eat fresh fruits and vegetables which are sold in stalls. Some even grab what customers carry in their hands,” Ouma said.

Some traders said the animals have caused physical injuries to them and their customers.

Quinter Akoth said attacks have been reported when cows try to knock down traders trying to send them away. She said most of them have lost customers and buyers due to fear they may be attacked by hungry animals.

They urged the county enforcement officers to control the animals.

The animals have also caused road accidents as speeding motorists knock them down when they sleep by the road. Sometimes they stroll down the middle of the road.

“There are people who have been admitted to hospital because of injuries inflicted by the animals. We’ll demand compensation from the authorities who can’t discharge their duty,” Akoth said.

Homa Bay subcounty Public Health officer Henry Ojwang' said they plan to impound the animals found in the streets.

The department said it has issued a directive for cattle owners to restrain their animals from accessing markets.

“Stern action will be taken against people whose animals are found roaming on roads and streets in Homa Bay,” Ojwang’ said.

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