Disruptive trespassing a concern for Orwell Corner Historic Village

Staff at Orwell Corner Historic Village are concerned about disruptive trespassing at the site that is causing minor damage and endagering the animals who call it home.

'And ultimately, it could kill the horse'

Jason MacNeil, site director of Orwell Corner Historic Village, says the vandalism is concerning for the health and safety of the site and animals. (John Robertson/CBC)

Keeping history preserved is part of the mandate at Orwell Corner Historic Village, something staff say is becoming more of a challenge as they deal with disruptive behaviour.

People have knocked over some fencing and thrown a sanitization station in manure.

But, it is the interactions with the site's animals that staff say are most concerning.

"We had pumpkins growing in the field and one morning we came in and there's a whole bunch of pumpkins in with the pigs," said Jason MacNeil, education officer with P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation.

"We come in one morning and the sheep were out of their pen — they're still in the barn, but they're moving around inside the barn out of their pens."

MacNeil says the sheep pen wasn't closed properly, allowing the sheep to roam the barn all night. (John Robertson/CBC)

MacNeil, who is also site director at Orwell Corner, said feeding the animals is disruptive to them, as it throws them out of their normal routines.

It could also be potentially dangerous as the animals could react badly.

Once the animals get a taste for other foods, MacNeil says, it can make them not want their regular healthy food. (John Robertson/CBC)

"Horses are pretty sensitive so if you're coming in and feeding the horses, whatever, the horses could end up with colic," MacNeil said.

"And ultimately, it could kill the horse."

Class visits

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation site is closed to the general public but still open for special bookings and school educational programming.

The site's working horses should only be interacted when staff are avaible to help assist — for the safety of both the animals and the visitors. (John Robertson/CBC)

Staff will be getting additional signage to remind people not to trespass and stay clear of the animals if staff are not present.

The historic village closes to the general public in the middle of October.

MacNeil said they have booked school tours well into November to keep up with the demand.

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About the Author

John Robertson

Video journalist

John Robertson is a multi-platform journalist based out of Charlottetown. He has been with CBC News for more than a decade, with stints in Nunavut, Edmonton and Prince Edward Island. Twitter @CBCJRobertson Instagram @johnrobertsoncbc