A suspected arson attack Friday evening on the Cayman Islands Humane Society building was luckily stemmed quickly before it could harm human or animal.
It occurred shortly after 10pm Friday and started in the thrift shop drop box, where a few items were stored.
The charity is now looking into getting a security guard and security cameras installed.
Humane Society Manager Sugar Evans, who lives at the premises, said if she had been asleep when the fire occurred she could have died from smoke inhalation.
Luckily however, the shrewd manager smelled smoke coming from downstairs and, having called the police quickly, managed to put out the blaze with a water hose.
She had just returned from the grocery store around 10.15pm and passed the drop box while heading upstairs. She smelled no burning then and believes the fire was started in the seven to 10 minutes between then and when she first smelled the smoke.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police and Fire Department are investigating the incident.
Ms Evans believes that the lives of two dogs housed in a compartment out the front of the building could also have been put at risk had the fire spread onto the wooden areas such as the railings on the stairs.
Humane Society volunteer dog walker said the attempted arson is a shame.
This is the latest in a spate of suspicious crimes being carried out on the charitable organisation.
Ms Evans explained that the thrift shop has been broken into numerous times and they have now had the locks changed.
There is never any cash left in there, but nevertheless the intruders have found items to take, including a cake that one staff member forgot to take home one evening.
Ms Evans’ car was taken one night from the parking lot outside and was later recovered in another area of George Town.
‘Anyone we catch taking anything from our premises will be in some serious trouble,’ Ms Evans warned. ‘Why would anyone want to steal from an animal shelter that gives so much back to the community?’
Meanwhile, the Humane Society is over-run with animals, especially dogs and puppies.
On Tuesday morning alone, by 10am, four stray dogs had been handed in. This includes a tiny female puppy, about a month old, which was found by kind gentleman Timothy Ebanks, who handed her in to the shelter.
He only just managed to avoid her while driving his vehicle on North Sound Road, near CUC, where the tiny pup wandered out onto the road.
Altogether now there are 62 dogs at the Humane Society shelter, when the quota should be 36 for the animals to be comfortable.
There are 48 cats, when the quota should be 35.
When the shelter gets too overcrowded animals have to be put to sleep and the longer an animal is there the less chance it has of survival.
Ms Evans stressed the importance of spaying and neutering pets in order to keep populations down.
Anywhere from 15 to 50 animals may have to be put down at the shelter per month, depending on numbers.
‘It’s very painful. It’s the worst day of the job, to have to do that,’ she said.
Anyone wishing to help as a volunteer or willing to adopt an animal can call the Cayman Islands Humane Society on 949 1461.