Two dogs were intentionally burned, one by flames and another by a chemical, within a week of each other earlier this month raising concerns among authorities and the Humane Society about animal cruelty.
Royal Cayman Islands Police officers said it was unknown why the animals were apparently targeted.
In the first case, reported to Cayman Brac police on 3 June, a dog was apparently set on fire. Police said the animal had severe burns on its chest and belly and has since been flown to Grand Cayman for care. It is expected to survive.
The other animal was taken to the Humane Society Shelter in George Town on 7 June. A volunteer there told police some kind of corrosive chemical, such as battery acid, had been poured on the dog. It also received medical treatment but had to be euthanized because of the extent of its injuries.
Police and the islands’ lone animal control officer were investigating the incidents, both of which are crimes under the Cayman Islands Penal Code punishable by up to five years in prison upon conviction. The Cayman Islands Animals Law (1999 Revision) also makes it a crime to cause unnecessary suffering or pain to any animal or cause unnecessary suffering in killing an animal, which is punishable by a $500 fine and six months in prison.
‘Animal cruelty is a serious offence,’ said Animal Welfare Officer Maggie Baldino.
It’s not certain precisely when the dog from the Brac was set on fire, but Humane Society officials there believe it happened sometime over the weekend of 31 May-1 June and wasn’t reported for a couple of days.
Society Chairperson Karen Fraser in the Brac said the injured dog; a two-year-old mixed breed named Bingo, belonged to a family in the Spot Bay area and was known to be a wanderer. However, she said she was not aware of the animal having caused any problems.
‘It’s a very friendly little dog and the owner does take good care of it,’ Mrs. Fraser said. ‘It’s the kind of dog that comes up to you and rolls over onto its back so you can rub its tummy. I assume when it did that somebody poured gasoline on it and set it on fire.’
A volunteer at the Humane Society in the Brac who saw the animal on 2 June said there was an ‘S’-shaped burn mark on Bingo’s stomach where it appeared someone had sprayed the fluid used to set the dog on fire.
Bingo was taken to Grand Cayman last week and is receiving treatment at Island Veterinary Services. Mrs. Fraser said some of the dog’s burned skin had to be removed and that vets were using a hydro-spray therapy to treat the injuries. She expected it would be some time before Bingo could go back to the Brac.
Little was known about the animal taken to the Humane Society in George Town. Police said the dog had been euthanized by the time they were called in on the case and that an owner had not been identified.
Humane Society officials said these types of animal torture cases were extremely rare in the Cayman Islands, although they admitted instances where nuisance animals have been poisoned are more common.
Late last year, the Caymanian Compass reported a spate of dog deaths, which veterinarian Brenda Bush suspected were from paraquat poisoning. But it’s unclear whether the dog-burning incidents occurred because of animal nuisances.
‘It’s so cowardly, to do this to a little dog,’ Mrs. Fraser said.
Medical care for Bingo was being funded by the Humane Society, which estimated that treatment could cost upwards of $1,000. Mrs. Fraser said donations were being accepted at the Cayman National Bank branch on the Brac, and at P.O. Box 207, KY2-2101.
Anyone with information about either case of animal cruelty is asked to call Ms Baldino at 925-2830