Today’s Editorial April 03: Animal abuse is senseless

The lives of 900 dogs snuffed in Grand Cayman each year is horrific.

Even more worrisome is that 900 is a low number. Usually more dogs are rounded up and euthanized because of careless owners.

That’s just one of the reasons the Cayman Islands Humane Society does a thorough search on the folks who come in and adopt the animals at their shelter.

They know, as should everyone, that owning a pet is a lifetime commitment. Dogs aren’t just something you play with while they’re cute puppies and then ignore as they get bigger and older.

For starters, if you’re not planning to breed your dog have it spayed or neutered. It doesn’t hurt the animal and in many cases can improve its health and prolong its life.

Not spaying or neutering a dog that is allowed to roam can be considered a type of abuse. Firstly, dogs shouldn’t be allowed to roam. They can join packs of strays and create all manner of havoc to pets that stay in their yards, to walkers, bicyclists, runners and others.

Here in the Cayman Islands there are two kinds of cruelty to all animals – passive and active.

Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect where the crime is a lack of action rather than the action itself.

Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention.

Active cruelty implies malicious intent, where a person has deliberately and intentionally caused harm to an animal.

The Department of Agriculture has named two animal welfare officers. They investigate reports of animal cruelty and are faced with the daunting task of educating the public about animal abuse.

It’s an unenviable task for sure.

But the cure to the problem rests in education.

It may be too late to teach old dogs with bad habits toward animals new tricks, but we can start educating our children about animals and how to care for them.

There is a lot we can do as individuals, too.

If you see someone abusing an animal, report them. Call the police or the Agriculture Department.

If you see a stray animal, see that it is picked up and taken to the Agriculture Department or the Cayman Islands Humane Society.

If you are a dog or animal owner, make sure that you’re doing all you can to keep that animal healthy and safe.

Animal abuse of any sort is not only unnecessary, but is a downright shame and a blight on the human race.

Something must be done about the overpopulation of stray dogs in the Cayman Islands.

It all begins with each and every one of us. Don’t turn a blind eye to abuse or to strays.

Do your part to end this vicious cycle.

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