Enforce the Animals Law, stop cruelty

| 01/10/2018 | 24 Comments

Animals Law, Cayman News Service‘PAWSatively Hopeful for Change’ writes: Thirty-two dogs were recently removed from one premises in Grand Cayman by the Department of Agriculture. The DoA contacted all the animal charities on island seeking their assistance in arranging for these dogs to be taken out of their facility. In record speed these charities managed to remove all the dogs. Due to the goodwill of many, these dogs are now safe in foster care and are not looking at the syringe of death as sadly so many unwanted dogs do on a daily basis at the DoA.

The Humane Society and a couple of the charities are now faced with the expensive task of getting these dogs spayed and neutered so that they do not add to the island’s problem of overpopulation. The dogs had not been properly cared for and will need medical treatment, and all of them will need the monthly medication that they should have been provided with in the first place to prevent them from contracting the killer Heartworm disease and flea and tick infestations.

This is abuse in itself by the “owner” for not providing the necessary care required when owning these dogs. Without taking into account the day-to-day cost of feeding, just the above treatments alone for these dogs will cost in excess of CI$10,000 — a considerable sum that is most definitely going to hurt the various charities that will have to pay.

Hoarding animals for whatever purpose, breeding, protection etc., is a form of abuse when they are not cared for in the proper way. These dogs do not come from a “normal” environment; they lack social interaction skills and have no idea what it is like to live a “normal” life, living happily and safely in communities.

Why is it that the Animals Law never seems to be enforced? Why is it that the term “abuse” has a different meaning to many and, as such, is ignored time and time again? Some people, sadly including police officers from different countries, definitely view abuse in a different light and have the attitude that “it’s only a dog”.

Why is it that blatant abuse (not necessarily intentional physical abuse but, for example, depriving the animal of shade, food, water and medical assistance, abandonment or continual breeding) just seems to be ignored? Why is it when on the rare occasion a case does reach the courts, nothing seems to be done and therefore a message of “abuse is acceptable” seems to be the only verdict?

Not even a week later and another plea was sent out on social media asking for assistance with regards to the removal of a new intake of dogs from the DoA which had to be undertaken within a 24 hour period otherwise the dogs would be euthanized. The DoA should not be a conveyor belt for the destruction of animals because owners cannot be bothered to look after them, allowing them to breed and roam over the island.

These dogs will ultimately form packs, scavenge and protect themselves, some becoming aggressive just to survive — natural behaviour due to neglect by the owner. On the other hand, a dog tethered 24/7 on a very short, heavy chain may be confined and not bothersome to the neighbourhood but this is also abuse and something that needs to be addressed and the owners punished for such cruelty.

It is for these reasons and many more that the Animals Law needs to be treated like any other law and enforced. A strong message to those “owners” who neglect and abuse these animals needs to be sent with harsh punishments handed down. Owners need to be held accountable for their actions (or lack of in some instances), and once frequent and harsh punishments are handed out (as well as orders to not allow such owners to own dogs in the future, which need to be properly monitored), then just maybe we can start saving lives.

It is not acceptable for this type of cruelty to carry on unnoticed and not to be dealt with. The DoA, police and charities need to work together to ensure the safety of animals and, if they find that they are not being cared for, the animals need to be immediately removed to a place of safety and not euthanized shortly thereafter, as so many are.

Owners need to be put in front of the courts quickly and harsher sentences handed down to include heavy fines and/or imprisonment. Excuses of not having the money for a fine or the impact of the owner going to jail having a devastating effect on family and livelihood is just tough. If you don’t have sufficient finances don’t get a dog, and if you are abusing your animal and breaking the law, expect to be punished appropriately.

Backyard breeders should also be harshly dealt with in the court system; there are too many people thinking that breeding dogs, especially many of the so-called “banned breeds”, is just an easy way to make a buck. We need to get the unwanted dog population down, and by allowing these leeches to carry on breeding these dogs and not caring what happens to them after they have been sold has to stop.

The DoA again needs to investigate and DO SOMETHING — time and time again stories are told about a certain breeder that is blatantly breaking the law, abusing his/her animals etc., complaints are filed with the DoA and yet nothing seems to be done. Why is that? The law states that dogs need to be licensed.  Apart from a DoA dog-tag, which anybody can apply for, no in-depth identification or information on the owner or dog is required. How is this “licence” worth anything and who monitors and regulates them?

Investigating abuse even further shows links between animal abuse and violence against people. This is a community and country issue, not just a dog welfare issue. One such study found that in families under supervision for physical abuse of their children, pet abuse was concurrent in 88% of the families in the USA.

Acts of animal cruelty are linked to a variety of other crimes, including violence against people, property crimes, dog fighting and drug or disorderly conduct offenses. Stopping animal abuse in children can help curb violent tendencies before they escalate to include violence against people.

There are many people here in the Cayman Islands who can vote now and others who will be eligible in the future and would welcome a government that actively enforces this law and helps to end the suffering of these animals.

They say you can tell a lot about a country from the way it treats its elderly and its animals. Allowing this behaviour to continue sends a message to visitors that the Cayman Islands is a third world, backward country that knows no better.

Enforce the law, bring abusers to court, and hand down sentences that will be a discomfort and hardship to those that receive it, similar to the discomfort and hardship that they have inflicted on the animals that have no voice.

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Comments (24)

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  1. B says:

    Cayman does not do enforcement. It is against the “culture. Life would be so much harder if laws were actually enforced here. For those who choose to live third world.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If you don like a little good ole fashion cruelity every now an den, you should leave the island.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It would be a good idea for all the animal welfare charities to share the link to this article to all of their members and encourage them to post a response in support of change.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Ron Ebanks, I agree with you. As a volunteer for an animal support group I see the abuse first hand and it breaks my heart each time. These intelligent wonderful animals are tied up all day with no love, attention, sometimes no food and water and no medical attention. We should be ashamed to let this behavior continue. It is a disgrace!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, abuse isn’t restricted to pet ownership. We have generations of deadbeat fathers and single income, school dropout working moms trying to keep it together; sometimes with several kids from different men. Some of these kids, rejected by one or more parents, find belonging and kinship in the thriving gangs that the police ignore. So yes, animal abuse is horrible, but look at the unaddressed social origins of where these dark personalities replicate and implement a 20 year plan to reverse it. Unfortunately, the existent paradigm favors over-promising, cash-dolling politicians that wield enormous power over these deprived fiefdoms, so nothing changes.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There are still non-agrarian stockpiles of Paraquat being used. DoA must have either held some back, sold it on to their favorite consumers, or someone’s bringing it in illicitly. I’ve seen freshly opened plastic protective wrappers in the beds of non-farming pickup trucks and wind blown in Residential areas. The labels are fresh, ie. not faded in the sun from a decade ago. Different rules for different folks I guess.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get why someone would want a dog for example just to have it tied up somewhere outside 24/7. I have neighbors who fit that profile where on dog constantly gets lose roaming through the neighborhood and the other one looks like his is about to strangle him/herself on the chain every time someone drives or walks by. t’s ridiculous! No matter how often you go and speak to them or have animal enforcement officers involved, nothing changes.

    Unless they are hit hard where it hurts them (which is likely the bank account), nothing will change……

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maybe if the sole DOA officer who deals with the cruelty complaints wasn’t cousins with half the abusers, things would be a bit better. He doesn’t care. He’s made that clear multiple times. Would be better to bring in an expat to do the job. Like one from a country that actually respects animals and animal cruelty laws.

  9. Unison says:

    What about cruel and inhumane treatment to Iguanas. I know they are a pest to most people and farmers, but they shouldn’t be tortured. Just like no one would butcher a cow by slowly sawing its neck off. And people should be instructed on how to cull certain pest.

    There needs to be laws in place against inflicting “unnecessary pain” on animals. Anyone who tortures an animal should be named & shamed, and brought before the court. For if they can have no conscience on the way they treat one of G’s creatures, and get away with it, they will more than likely show the same indifference to people.

    • Dont like chickens either says:

      Please do not equate iguanas with dogs or any other domesticated animals. You are right they are a pest and should be eradicated one way or the other.

  10. Ron Ebanks says:

    I completely agree with the viewpoint of animal cruelty . And because of the DOA and Justice system no one will be made an example off to teach everyone that animal cruelty isn’t going to be excepted in society .
    If we look at any animal life , it’s a life and when we take that animal as a pet , we should care for it much like a kid with care and affection . IF we don’t change this cruel inhumane behaviour , a dog’s life would always be a dog life and all the problems will continue .
    We need to remember that a dog can be your best friend and do what some best friends wouldn’t do for you , only when they are treated with respect and love .

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, there have been rescue groups working hard on this island for almost 20 years trying to stop the abuse of animals, spay and neuter to curb the population and help the animals to get out of the situation, yet in those many years, absolutely nothing has changed. DoA doesn’t seem to care and neither do the many owners who breed or allow their animals to roam to become pregnant or get heartworm. It almost seems futile but we keep trying.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Agree 100%.

    We are sorely lacking any compassion for animals here, and enforcement of animal protection laws is very poor. It’s very sad.

  12. Anonymous says:

    They say you can tell a lot about a country from the way it treats its elderly, its animals and it’s mental health….we’ve failed and continue to proudly do so. Yet when people call us shitty we all up in arms.

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 4 :06 pm , you have hit the nail on the head , and that’s why the whole world has turned into a dog eat dog world , and most people have lost love and respect for other people .

    • Anonymous says:

      I think millions of animals all over the world are butchered and eaten. How’s that for cruelty.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Completely agree, we are a 3rd world country until we start to do something.

    Where is the accountability with enforcing the law? This behaviour and the blind eye that is turned towards it is disgusting and needs to stop.


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