Man fined for injuring dog

Justice for animals was served in court on Tuesday, 15 August, in the case of Snowball, the dog who survived a machete attack in earlier this year (Caymanian Compass, 24 January).


Snowball is pictured with new owners Bob and Susan Charles of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, left, Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Officer Maggie Baldino, centre, and Cayman Airways representative Melanie Hulse. Photo: File

George Clyde Smith of West Bay was sentenced last month for the offence of injuring an animal under section 268 of the Penal Code.

Smith, 36, told the court he was annoyed because dogs were attacking his rabbits, which he was trying to breed.

Details of the case were set out in a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The successful prosecution of this animal welfare case by the Crown was due to the efforts of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Department of Agriculture’s newly expanded Animal Welfare Unit and was a first for the unit.

In January, police investigated the vicious machete attack on Snowball, a three-year-old Labrador cross, which left the dog with serious injuries. DoA’s Animal Welfare Officer Ms Maggie Baldino assisted the RCIPS with their investigation and compiled a file against Smith.

The primary goal of the Animal Welfare Unit is to improve the welfare of animals in the Cayman Islands through public awareness, education and persuasion, said Ms Baldino speaking on behalf of the unit. But in cases of serious animal abuse or neglect, the Animal Welfare Unit will prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.

Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees, who successfully prosecuted the case, confirmed that Smith received a sentence of six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was ordered to pay CI$1,400 in compensation for veterinary expenses related to the incident.

Presiding Magistrate Grace Donalds in making her remarks on the case characterized the incident as ‘appalling, horrifying and very disturbing.’

Snowball is now living happily in his new home in the United States after his adoption by frequent visitors to the Cayman Islands, Bob and Susan Charles. His survival after the unfortunate incident and the successful conclusion of this case was only possible through the caring, support and cooperation of a variety of persons in the community.

‘This has been an excellent example of how the local community can work together to improve and protect the welfare of our animals,’ said Dr. Alfred Benjamin, Chief Agricultural and Veterinary Officer.

‘We congratulate and thank all parties involved including the RCIPS constables, DoA’s Animal Welfare Unit and the Attorney General’s Office. We’re especially grateful for the generosity shown by veterinarians, individuals and companies who made donations for Snowball’s care.’

‘This case should serve as a reminder to the community that animal cruelty and abuse are crimes and will not be tolerated in the Cayman Islands.’

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