A man was ordered to pay fines and compensation of $550, but avoided having his dog destroyed Wednesday, after facing charges of allowing a ferocious dog to be at large.
Victor Oliver Yates of West Bay had been charged over two incidents where the dog was said to have chased neighbors on Up the Hill Road, West Bay, in July and October, 2007.
Magistrate Nova Hall was forced to throw the first charge out, after she concluded Police had not brought the charge to court in time. In that charge, it was alleged the dog had been at large for a week, and that it had chased a neighbor, barking at him in a threatening manner as he put out his trash.
Yates pleaded guilty to the second charge that the dog had chased a neighbor down the street, forcing her to jump a fence and hurt her foot in the process.
In a previous court sitting the Crown had claimed the dog was proving a persistent problem to neighbors in the area, but on Wednesday, Yates claimed he had never seen the dog show aggression, saying he was surprised by what had happened. He said the dog was almost always kept in a pen and was a playful companion to his 13 and 15 year-old children.
Yates said he had not been at the residence on either occasion, but as the head of the family, accepted he had to bear responsibility for what had happened.
‘It’s not a mean dog; it’s a children’s dog,’ he said. ‘But I accept full responsibility and I apologise to [the complainants] and the court.’
Magistrate Hall said the dog – described in previous court appearances as a Rottweiler – appeared to be a prohibited breed under the Cayman Islands Animals Law, and asked Yates why it should not be destroyed.
Yates said the dog is not a pure-breed Rottweiler, adding the Department of Agriculture had inspected the dog and told him it did not have to be registered under the Animals Law.
The Magistrate said she took this into account in deciding against ordering the dog’s destruction. She surmised that the DoA must have concluded the dog was not a risk by their decision to take no action. She also noted the age of Yates’ children as a factor in the decision, saying she did not consider they were so young that they would be at a heightened risk of harm from the dog.
Noting that the maximum fine under the law is $500, Magistrate Hall ordered Yates to pay $400 to the court in fines. She ordered he pay a further $150 compensation to the complainants in the case.