Woman prohibited from keeping animals

Magistrate Grace Donalds has placed a Cayman Brac woman on probation for two years with a condition that she is prohibited from keeping any animals during that time.

The magistrate said no conviction would be recorded against Beulah Tatum, 56, of Spot Bay. She ordered Tatum to pay compensation to the Humane Society of $250 or serve three weeks imprisonment in lieu.

Trial began on 21 June during the Summary Court’s most recent sitting in Cayman Brac.

Tatum pleaded not guilty in August 2006 to charges dating from February 2006.

She was accused of tethering her dog Bruno on a lead under such conditions or in such manner as to cause unnecessary suffering.

The second charge was leaving the dog on premises without ensuring that it could move freely and had reasonable shelter against the sun and rain.

The third charge was that, being the dog’s owner, she abandoned it under circumstances likely to cause the animal unnecessary suffering.

The prosecution’s case was conducted by Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees. Attorney Lloyd Samson defended Tatum.

The court heard from Humane Society volunteer Carol Busby, who described the conditions in which she found the dog. This witness also submitted photographs of the dog, the yard and other animals.

The dog was found tied on a very short leash with numerous ties including a chain three feet long, wrapped around a log so that the dog could not stand up. The dog could not reach food or water when the chain was looped around the log. It was unable to untangle itself and was lying in its own faeces. It had fleas and looked emaciated.

She said there was no food in the dog’s pan and less then one inch of dirty water.

She also reported finding three dead chickens in a small coop and doves in an aviary with dirty water.

Questioned by Mr. Samson, she could not say what condition the dog was in when Tatum had gone off island.

Kelly Scott, who had also been charged with cruelty to an animal, told the court that Tatum had left a message with someone else asking him to look after the dog. He said he had attempted to feed Bruno, but the animal bit him and he became scared.

Scott said he went to the Agricultural officer and reported the matter. He told him he would not be feeding the dog any more.

Agricultural Officer Melford MacFarlane confirmed Scott’s report. He said he subsequently went to the premises and the dog appeared to be in pretty good condition. However, when he went back with Ms Busby, the dog was not in good condition.

After an adjournment, Mr. Samson and Ms Lees told the magistrate that they had come to an agreed version of facts. They also agreed that the charge of abandoning an animal encompassed the other two charges, which were then left on file.

The Crown offered no evidence against Scott and his charge was dismissed.

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