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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sarah Carter and Bally Vaughan

I know many of you have supported Sarah and the Animal Sanctuary over the years through dipleague - as you know she announced she had to move due to financial reasons and her rent being increased.  

I have come across this very sad statement on Facebook and sharing it with the dipleague community.  Let's hope there is someone in the community who can help (at this point, I have no idea how).  Knowing the author, I can only assume it is true (I have seen photos of the barricade):

I know the parties concerned and i know who i believe but I would be interested in your comments on this blog.

Sarah Carter has been barricaded into Bally Vaughan by the Putteril's next door and they are threatening to get her arrested! All she was trying to do was to move some of the animals rescued by her and sponsored by you the public to their new home. She was locked in all morning, with animals drugged in preparation for the move, in the hot sun. The drugged animals were in cages in the hot sun before she was then told to leave the property by the police. She has managed to get the animals back in their enclosures but she has not been allowed to stay to monitor the animals coming out of their sedation! She is on her way back into town now and is frantic about their well-being.

The time to be quiet and diplomatic about this is now over!!! It is now time that you the public know about what is happening. You the public who have donated your money, time and effort into rescuing, feeding, medicating these animals have a right to know what is happening to them. It is time to put pressure on these people whose last thought is about the animal's welfare!!!

Sarah Carter has done nothing but dedicate her life and her time and her energy to these animals. She started at Bally Vaughan as a volunteer with Robby McIntosh whose dream it was to build a sanctuary where not only could it be safe haven for abused wildlife but also as a place where it would be affordable for everyone to come and learn about the heritage of our great country and learn about animals that most people in our country will never get to see!!! His dream became Sarah's dream and when he died she carried on his work!!!!

We all know and love Sarah's dedication and love of her work! She truly loves the animals, each and every one, and it is apparent in the lovely newsletters that we all eagerly await every month! Nobody can doubt her dedication and committment and know that she is 'all about the animals!'

Please could you all let as many people know what is happening today with Sarah and pledge your support to her in any way you can! It is time for these people to know that the public are not going to stand for the way they are dealing with the animals that they have sponsored and supported all these years!!!!!

This is from me, Diane Twiggs, not from Sarah Carter! I am tired of these people doing what they are doing to her!!!!

Dear Friends of Bally Vaughan,
It has sadly become necessary to issue the following statement to counter the massive misinformation currently circulating about both our Bally Vaughan Wild Life operations, and the dedicated people who run it.
·        Robin McIntosh, co- founder of all wild life operations on Bally Vaughan Farm, recipient of the prestigious Wild Life Oscar bestowed on those making outstanding contributions to conservation in Zimbabwe, died on 9/9/99.
·        Robin and Kathie McIntosh formed the Bally Vaughan Bird and Animal Sanctuary (BS) in the early 90s. It was to be an extension of Bally Vaughan Game Park in which it is located.
·        The BS was stocked with numerous birds and animals of all kinds.
·        Tragically Robin died in 1999, but his legacy continued through Kathie and her daughter Debbie, all who have dedicated their lives to animal welfare and conservation. Debbie’s husband, Gordon is an ex Game Warden with 20yrs Parks service.
·        Six years after Robin’s death, Sarah Carter was granted a lease of the BS - to care for its wild life and birds, and maintain the good name and public relations assosciated with our Sanctuary.
·        In May 2013 her lease came to an end. She has refused to vacate the premises, even though she has  established her own new sanctuary at Twala.
·        Even though numerous efforts were made by us, and eventually our lawyers, to discuss matters relating to the BS and her lease, to solve areas of dispute, these were all flatly turned down. It sadly became neccessary to take the matter to court.
·        In view of the stated intention to move all Bally Vaughan’s animals to Twala, and claims being made to most of our birds and animals, it became necessary to apply for a restraining order on animal movement from the BS, at the courts, pending a resolution of areas of dispute.
·        The owners were concerned about public statements claiming Bally Vaughan was moving and needing assistance to move all the Bally Vaughan Sanctuary animals. Naturally we were concerned that public statements of this nature were being made without any dialogue with the owners– we became very concerned for the future of our B/Sanctuary and inundated  with calls from the public asking  why Bally Vaughan was “moving” and therefore, closing down!
·        The net effect has been a drastic drop in visitors who help support all of our 150 large wild animals on Bally Vaughan Game Park, including our precious elephant, lions , buffalo, girraffe and various plains game species.
·        On the 1st July 13 the owners were completely surprised at 7:30 am to discover that a large capture operation was in progress at the BS, replete with a 30 ton rig, light trucks, picks ups and numerous cages, including  ZNSPCA officials, and Vets in attendance from AWARE.
·        The owners not knowing what was going on rushed to the BS and called the Police and National Parks.
·        Seeing trucks and vehicles in and around the BS, we the owners were denied access by Sarah’s  security  guard who mans a gate that Sarah has permanently locked. To see what was going on we had to climb through the fence.
·        Finding a large unlawful operation to move animals in place, we supplied an extra chain ( to Sarah’s) which was temporarily put on the gate and the gate entrance temporarily blocked with a vehicle to prevent the obvious imminent exit of our animals.
·        The big question was why the sudden urgency to move any animals from BV Sanctuary before a judgement was handed down by a court?
·        The animals have been under Sarah’s  control for the last 8 yrs, and CONTINUE to remain under her sole and direct control right up to this very minute.
·        She has never been barred or denied access to the BS, unlike the owners who she tries to prevent from visiting their own Sanctuary.
·        Upon entering the BS we found a handful of small tame animals ( meercat, cat, genet, vervet monkey, 2 marmosets)  had been put into cages, but nothing had been darted or sedated or tranquilised. This can be confirmed by the AWARE Vets Keith Dutlow and Lisa Marubini in attendance.
·        We called in the Police to uphold a court restraining order, and our lawyers - Sarah called in the local Chief.
·        When challenged to produce their authority to catch ANY animals in BV Sanctuary and move them to Twala Trust, Sarah and Vin could only produce movement permits, which do not settle the underlying questions about ownership.
·        No animals to our knowledge were either drugged, and certainly none were darted / tranquilised at all, AWARE said they had not darted anything.
·        We found the smaller animals that had already been put in 4 cages were tame, calm and relaxed. At no stage were these animals interfered with by us , or anyone else. They remained totally in Sarah's care the whole time . ZNSPCA were present at all times and had full opportunity to intervene if they thought the animals were in any type of stress.
·        Neither Sarah or Vin or anyone else for that matter were threatened WITH arrest by the Police, who were there to monitor the operation and look into its validity in view of the court order restraining animal movement. The police are to be commended for remaining calm and objective inspite of the levels of aggression and emotion at the time.
·        Sarah was never told, or ordered, to leave. She returned the animals to their cages/ pens herself, and left of her own accord.
·        She still remains in full control of all the animals and birds in the Bally Vaughan Sanctuary, plus the assets and operations, until such time as issues before the courts are settled, and she hands over.
·        In a joint meeting between the Police, our Lawyers, the local Chief, Sarah and Vin, and ourselves, an agreement was reached that no movement of animals should take place until the matter was determined by the arguments presented by both parties, before the courts.
·        no animals were drugged, or left in the sun, and Sarah was not asked to leave the BS premises. These animals were returned to their respective cages by Sarah before she left at the conclusion of the meeting yesterday at about 12pm.
·        the animals at Bally Vaughan don’t need “saving” by moving them to Twala! They are absolutely fine and well looked after where they are and have been for years. We ensured all our animals were well cared for, loved and supported before Sarah came, and they will continue to be treated the same, long after she leaves.
·        discerning members of the public reading many of the comments made by those claiming animals were left in the sun, made to suffer in a sedated state, and Sarah made to leave, need to have a good pinch of salt handy – the truth is being deliberately distorted and manipulated.  She in fact tried to restrain us from checking on the animals and flatly refused to allow our staff on to the premises.
·         if a marmoset died due to stress during this incident, and the few other animals already in cages were stressed, then why are all the professional people who were present silent? ZNSPCA officials, AWARE vets, 24 hr vet ( Vin ), National Parks officials, etc
·        if all was in order for the move to Twala, then how come the operation was stopped by the authorities?
·        Bally Vaughan Sanctuary  will continue under the good care of the owners and their families, who through their dedication to wild life had the vision to create Bally Vaughan Sanctuary and Game Park in the first place, and who will see its perpetuation as a service to the public and wild life, well into the future.
·        we deeply regret the unnecessary stress and concern these developments and subsequent cyber “storm” have caused to those many kind and deeply concerned folk who have generously supported us over the years, and indeed been there for our needy wild animals. We are doing everything in our power to normalise the situation at Bally Vaughan Sanctuary, so that we can get on with doing what we all love most – creating a safe haven for wild animals and an inspiring place for you to visit!
·        We are very concerned about the supposed death of a marmoset, and if this did occur, then Sarah must answer for this.  We have since been requested by the ZNSPCA to consent to an independent assessment of Bally Vaughan Sanctuary as it is at the moment, which we have willingly consented to, as the interests of the animals must remain paramount, and we cannot allow this to continue.
·        If you have any queries, we  would be happy to assist.

Kathie Mcintosh, Gordon and Debbie Putterill


  1. Just a few things I would like to put down on paper

    1) I was always under the impression that Sarah owned Bally Vaughan and was quite surprised to discover quite recently it was owned by the Putterills

    2) From what I hear all parties love the animals.

    3) No doubt Sarah did an excellent job looking after the animals,fund raising etc. in her capacity as manager.

    4) Surely if I as a manager am undertaking anything as major as moving animals it should be with the owner's consent?

    5) Even if I have managed a company well and,as a direct result of my charisma ,gifting and hard work the company has prospered I then at liberty to take assets belonging to that company when I start my own?

    6) If I am starting a brand new company it seems a little unusual to still use the name of the previous one?

    It gives the impression that Twala is taking over from Bally Vaughn when in fact both exist.

    7) Did some animals specifically belong to different parties? Was this made explicit to sponsors?
    8) It is unfortunate that police, courts etc. are involved which also points to the fact that this dispute is more complicated than it at first appears.The cogs of the law move quite slowly so presumably there is quite a long history and I am sure all parties must know the state of play and that once a dispute is ongoing one is not at liberty to make decisions regarding assets etc.

    9) I do believe we have more than enough animals in need of care to make both ventures feasable.

    10) The truth always prevails in the end.

    Thank you.

    1. 4) National Parks own the animals - they were entrusted to Sarah's care and through her and her teams efforts, and the support of donors and sponsors, have been fed and cared for. NP gave the necessary permits to allow the animals to be moved.

      5) It is loathsome to consider animals assets. Although the law may dictate this, the very close bond Sarah has with each animal, some hand-reared as orphans makes the act of the Putterills now claiming ownership (or custody) morally repugnant to me. Why should a tenant have to leave their pets behind? From what I understand, animals that were there before Sarah took over the tenancy will remain there.

      6) Sarah has started Twala Trust and Bally Vaughan will revert to the Putterrill's care (how lucky that they won't be subject to massive rent hikes!) - there is plenty of work for both sanctuaries to do, and there should be no competition between them. Remember these are not viable commercial concerns - they barely make ends meet and can only operate with donations from the public. Visitors to the park do not cover the costs.

      7) See 4

      8) This feels very much like a David v Goliath contest with the landlords IMHO acting like bullies. The rescued animals are NOT assets - this is not a zoo we're talking about! They are rescued and rehabilitated from awful circumstances, never procured for commercial gain.

      9) Agreed

      10) If only this were true. The court system is subject to a contest of the best lawyers representations. The law will also make no consideration of emotions or the bond between man and beast - purely commercial concerns. We may never know what has happened.

    2. 4 + 5 ) You speak of Sarah as a Manager. If she were there to manage Bally Vaughan then surely the Putterills should have been he ones paying her, and not the other way around!!! She was leasing the land and therefore a tenant and NOT an employee. Who in their right mind would expect a tenant to leave behind possessions that they acquired whilst leasing a property?? In my opinion the Putterills have had no hand whatsoever in rescuing, rehabilitating, caring or funding for the animals in the last eight years and have no right to lay claim to any of these animals!! The animals welfare should be every ones priority here and that's why I hope with all my heart that the Putterills do no get to keep any of the animals. They have recently proven that to them the animals are a business and not a passion. The founders must be turning in their graves at the tarnishing of Bally Vaughan's good name by these greedy people!!

  2. Can you clarify if Sarah was paid by you to run BVS ie an employee, or if she was a tenant and paid you rent to use the property for her rescue venture?

    If she was a tenant then Sarah should be entitled to move the animals that were rescued whilst she was paying you for the use of the property. Am very surprised by the Putteril's stance on this.

    Agree with the David vs Goliath comment above and hope that justice prevails for Sarah. Very disappointed that this is happening at all.

  3. Well, knowing Kathie, Gordon and Debbie, I have absolutely no doubt that the care of the animals is absolutely their highest priority. Also, they are rightly passionate about Bally Vaughan Sanctuary's good name, and are absolutely correct to protect it. Talk of Bally Vaughan itself 'moving' or other such nonsense is incorrect, damaging and hurtful. All that is happening is that one of their tenants is leaving.