Ag dept calls on public to report animal cruelty

| 18/05/2023 | 16 Comments
Cayman News Service
Virtue, a dog abused in 2018

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture is urging the public to report their concerns about animal cruelty to help its animal welfare and control officers track down perpetrators. According to a DoA press release, these officers “have a wide range of powers under the Animals Law” to enforce animal welfare and to investigate and prosecute offenders, with similar powers to police officers.

“It’s important for the community to not be afraid of reporting any acts of animal cruelty or animal welfare concerns as our officers conduct their duties with the strictest level of professionalism and confidentiality for each complaint,” said Senior Animal Welfare Officer Erik Bodden. He added that people need to be prepared to help officers and police in any legal proceedings, from a complaint to bringing offenders to justice.

However, officials have a poor track record in preventing, prosecuting or punishing people for cruelty towards animals, even though reports are far from uncommon. There are frequent and disturbing posts on social media about people putting out poison to deliberately kill pets and other animals, inexplicable violence against animals, rooster and dog fighting, and general neglect.

Reaching out to the community and urging people to report such incidents to them, Bodden said that to address it, officers need the help of those who witness animals being mistreated.

“Our community wants to see animals better protected and appropriate consequences administered for those who fail to comply with their legal requirements,” Bodden said. “For that to be done we rely on the assistance of the community to make an official complaint for these matters to be addressed and investigated as needed.”

All animals in the Cayman Islands are entitled to a standard level of care for their welfare, health and safety under the Animals Law and in accordance with the principles of the Five Freedoms. “Protecting the welfare of all animals in the Cayman Islands is not only the right thing to do, but it is a legal requirement,” Bodden said.

Individuals responsible for animals, whether farmed or domesticated, must meet the key principles:

  1. Freedom from Hunger, Thirst and Malnutrition
  2. Freedom from Discomfort (Physical and Thermal)
  3. Freedom from Pain, Injury, and Disease
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behavioural Patterns
  5. Freedom from Fear and Distress

In addition, people need to ensure that animals are:

  • kept confined to their property and not allowed to roam
  • are worked, ridden or used only in ways that are legally and humanely appropriate
  • never abandoned.

Members of the public who witness or suspect an animal welfare concern are encouraged to file a report or complaint through an established channel, including the location of the animal. An animal welfare officer will visit the location and assess the situation. If required, the officer will discuss the situation with the owner and identify improvements through a verbal or written notice.

The owner will be given a fixed period of time to implement the changes. In some instances, the animal may be impounded and housed at the DoA’s pound until the recommended improvements are made.

If the situation reaches the threshold of animal neglect or cruelty, officers can confiscate the animals in question, based on safety grounds established from a professional evaluation by a licensed veterinarian.

In such cases, animal welfare officers will follow the same investigative procedure as any RCIPS constable in gathering all necessary evidence and statements. Once a case file has been completed, it is then submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), which will determine if the matter reaches the standards required for prosecution.

To report animal welfare issues, call 947-3090 or 916-3051 or email
Reports can also be made anonymously to

In cases of dog attacks or dogs dangerously out of control, reports should be made to a local police station or through 911.

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Category: Crime

Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The government seems more concerned about feeding feral cats and chickens. The fines and penalties for that are much higher than for animal cruelty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The fact that this message has to be sent out by the AG dept is a sign that our community has lost its way. This is not how a civilized society treats its animals!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It becomes exhausting after a dozen calls and only two appearances by the DoA concerning my neighbours cruelty toward their pets and nothing ever gets resolved.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman doesn’t really have a strong history of pet ownership. Cats are despised and left for dogs to chase. Dogs are mostly only considered for ownership if they can be bred for selling the puppies, or taken as guard dogs. Few cats and dogs are real pets.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Emaciated cattle tied up in small lots. These are grazing animals and are chained up like junkyard dogs for the slaughter just like the rest of the Cayman cows. Suppose thats why the beef is stew ready only. Tough as the life they are forced to live here.

  6. Anon says:

    ERIK BODDEN NEEDs to get off his ass and work for his pay check.
    I called him on several cases and months go by with NO ACTION.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ok. Cows tied by ropes to cannons in East End with little vegetation.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who do I report the unnecessary transportation by barge of 2 cows to Little Cayman and back for a photo op? Would that not constitute cruelty?

  9. Anonymous says:

    CI Agriculture you are full of put laws in place over 20 years ago, NO PIT BULL WAS TO BE DOCKED or CROPPED, yet the very person who put that law in effect opened up a practice and cropped and docked. ALL banned dogs were all to be spayed and nuetered. That never happened. Dogs aren’t to be chained without shelter. Thats a joke. You call agriculture and nothing is ever done. The animal control people were afraid to go to people’s houses. DON”T PASS LAWS you can’t enforce. THe animal abuse here that goes on and nothing is ever done is horrific. THe courts just slap them on the wrist. Look at the Police K9…

    • Anonymous says:

      What Pit Bulls? They, and numerous other breeds we see around, were made illegal decades ago. We do not enforce anything around here!

  10. Anonymous says:

    “utmost confidentiality”. I don’t think so. I made a report on a neighbor and she came straight over when the DOA had left and said they told her it was me that had complained. So now the situation is worse.

    • Anonymous says:

      I reported 4 times and the animal was returned to the same home, same conditions. Result-told off by a different neighbor that i complain too much

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know where Erik Bodden has been hiding, but we continue to have the same animal control problems from decades ago. All dogs and cats are already supposed to be registered and licensed by the DoA, why not start enforcing that part of the law within 6 months? That forgone general revenue could go into pet owner education and so many other things. DoA can require a pass on a basic pet ownership and Animals Law comprehension test to secure the ownership license. All of these animals could also be required to be chipped with ownership information. The vets should not be doing work on the side with illegal breeders – esp those of prohibited breeds. Pull their license and stop this commerce. Any unclaimed animals that aren’t registered, go to the pound for 2 months either for rehoming, or ticking down to their euthanization date. Some of this is easy, some of it very hard.

    • Anonymous says:

      19/5 @ 4:06pm – Erik Bodden (if it’s the same one – same spelling) has been “hiding” in the aviation industry until just a few months ago. If it’s the same fellow, he’s very new to DoA.

  12. Squealer says:

    Just the usual pattern of decades long neglect by a govt dept of its responsibilities, thus contributing to the lawlessness and cultural breakdown that now pervades Cayman.


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