Stray dogs attack, injure foal

A five month old foal is recovering at St Matthew’s Teaching Hospital after being savagely attacked by a pack of stray dogs off Watercourse Road in West Bay.

Young foal

Paul Rivers comforts the young foal while Dr. Colin Wakelin administers pain medicine to the foals right hind leg.
Photo: Jewel Levy

The young horse was left to graze in a pasture overnight with its mother Sweet Irish Rose when dogs chewed away muscle tissue from its right hind leg.

The attack was so vicious that attending veterinary physician Dr. Colin Wakelin from the Agriculture Department said his first reaction was to put the animal to sleep, which would be the humane thing to do to keep the animal from suffering.

‘The young foal has lost a lot of muscle tissue in the right rear leg and only time will tell if she will survive or be able to walk properly again.’

Students from St. Matthew’s Hospital who were assisting Mr. Wakelin with medical care of cleaning and stitching up the wounds, administering antibiotics, tetanus and pain medication, got the hands-on opportunity to study the medical procedures.

‘Keeping the foal at the hospital for a few weeks will properly give the foal a better chance of survival,’ said Mr. Wakelin.

Paul Rivers the owner of the young horse was devastated and angry that owners of dogs continue to let them roam freely causing harm to people and other animals.

‘Two dogs roaming in a pack of four did this in a matter of minutes,’ he said. ‘It was around 6.30am when I was notified by neighbours that dogs were attacking the foal. When I arrived on the scene it was horrible to see what they had done.

Mr. Rivers, who owns about 33 other horses and runs a horse riding company named Spirit of the West, in West Bay said dogs are always around but this was the first attack.

‘We need to build public awareness that this kind of thing does not happen again,’ said Mr. Rivers. ‘Dog owners need to take more responsibility to ensure their animals do not roam at night.

‘I think some sort of micro chip should be installed in these animals so later on they can be identified.’

Agriculture Department animal welfare officer Maggie Balbino was also on site. She said it is a huge issue in Cayman with roaming dogs.

‘I agree whole heartily with Mr. Rivers, something needs to be done, even if it is micro chip. People need to be more responsible for these dogs. The dogs pose tremendous threats not only to humans but also on the highway.’

Ms Balbino also suggested that dog owners could put in place some sort of enclosure where dogs could run freely.

‘If a dog is caught by the Department wearing a tag we try to contact the owner, other dogs are kept for seven days, if not collected they will be euthanized.’

She also said students at St Matthew’s have volunteered time and energy to create a website, where owners can visit and collect animals as quick as possible from the Agriculture dog pound.