Teen breeds dogs to support his family
Born in poverty but desperate to find a way out, one 16-year-old boy from the community of Fletcher's Land in Kingston is breeding 'brand name' dogs to provide financial support for his family, and ultimately to alleviate himself from the destitute living conditions.
"I have three younger brothers and whenever I sell a dog is dem I give it to go to school because my father died and my mother not working, so I have to play that manly role now," Omar Moses Thomas told THE STAR.
The teenager said when his father died when he was 10, he struggled to cope with the loss and it affected his behaviour at school.
"The teacher used to kick mi out of class because the least little ting mi used to get ignorant because mi father die," Thomas said. "So I didn't get a chance to go to one of those top high schools."
But his love for dogs dates back to when he was five.
"I used to love mongrel dogs and always have one fi mi self," Thomas said. Now, he is hoping to earn a living from the natural affection he has for man's best friend.
His interest in breeding and selling high-breed dogs was sparked when some 'elders' in his community got pit bulls and started selling dogs.
"I started to save up my money because I made up my mind that I wanted to go into the business," Thomas said. "So the first dog I bought was Oprah (a pit bull) and the first time I 'jump her', is 15 puppies she carry."
Along with the pit bulls, Thomas also breeds shih-tzu, Rottweiler and German Shepherd.
But his inability to provide medical care caused some of the puppies to die.
"They need injections and him can't afford it, so dem die off," his aunt said. "And they are expensive to feed."
According to Thomas, one of his pit bulls is worth $50,000, but he has reduced the price to $20,000.
"People come from St Elizabeth, St Ann, and all over the island really to buy these dogs," Thomas said. "When I get the money, I bank some of it because my mother did have a shop and it shut down now, so I want to buy some stuff and open it up again."
He said his next move is to rent dogs to various security companies. "I have a link that can get me into that business so that is my next move," Thomas said.
Thomas' ultimate goal though is to becomes a veterinarian and he is taking steps to make that dream becomes a reality.
"I am going to Alpha Boys School now and I want to do my subjects because I always wanted to become a veterinarian," Thomas said.