Editorial for 19 June: Take care of your dogs

 We at the Caymanian Compass feel the same
outrage and disgust that many of our readers do when we hear about numerous
cases of dog poisonings that have killed beloved pets around Grand Cayman.

There is nothing on this Earth that will
excuse the behaviour of tossing a paraquat-laden piece of meat into someone’s
backyard in the hopes that an unsuspecting animal will eat it and die.

However, we also understand – in certain
cases – why this occurs. Again, there is no excusing that criminal behaviour,
but we understand.

All over Grand Cayman, there are examples
of how pet owners act irresponsibly. Here’s a scenario: Someone buys a puppy
for their child. The child plays with it for a little while, then gets bored
and leaves it alone. The parents don’t want to be burdened with taking care of
the animal and leave it to wander around outside. The pet – now left to its own
devices – barks all the time, chases cats and chickens, runs after cars/bikers
in the street etc., etc., etc.

Anyone who has lived in the Cayman Islands
for any length of time has sometimes run across these animals; often they are
loose in the streets. Sometimes drivers have to take quick evasive action to
avoid hitting them with their cars. Sometimes those drivers just hit the
animals and keep going; we’ve seen this happen even by our office building.

Rarely, if ever, does anyone bother to spay
or neuter the pet. So a few months later a mama dog shows up bearing a litter
of pups that are now, officially, “no one’s problem”.

Frustrated homeowners and residents then
make bad decisions regarding how to deal with the dogs, which can sometimes
lead to poisoning.

Excuses from irresponsible or lazy pet
owners don’t cut it. Take care of your pets; spay and neuter the animals, keep
them on a lead, feed and care for them properly. If you do not, you are every
bit as deserving of a fine or criminal citation as the individual who poisoned
these helpless animals.




  1. There is no reason or excuse for poisoning and causing a defenceless animal to suffer so tragically.

    If there is an issue with an out of control animal, call the Department of Agriculture and request a dog trap be set up to capture the animal.

    While I appreciate it costs money and our government will probably not support it, all dogs / cats that are caught, should not be released to their owners or adopted out without being spade or neutered and the cost transferred to the owner.

    In Canada and the US, there are mobile spay / neuter trucks that catches animals, spay / neuters them and snip off a corner of their ear so that if the animal is caught again, the vets will know they have been fixed.

    Why is the Humane Society releasing puppies to adoptive homes without having them spayed / neutered? And I can say this for fact as I adopted a dog from the Humane Society and took him to be neutered at my own cost but they never followed up to see if this had been done.

    There are so many things that can be done to assist in alleviating the issues but all need support of the government whether financially or by supporting the ban on paraquat.

  2. As a regular visitor to Cayman over the years, and a dog lover myself, I heartily endorse the June 19 editorial on the subject of taking care of your dogs.

    To actually and deliberately poison a dog because it strays onto your property and does undesirable things is unthinkable. Such an act is inhumane, cruel, evil, criminal, and indefensible On the other hand, dog owners have total moral, humane, and the physical responsibility to ensure that their pets remain with the bounds of their yards with secure fencing and gates.

    I recently built my house in Cayman. When construction was done and before returning to the United States, I incurred considerable expense just to securely fence my property. The intent was to prevent dogs and other pets from trespassing. I have no regrets for the expenditure.

    One of the simple solutions for the problem is don’t own a dog if you are not prepared to fully care for the animal. If the animal is obtained to satisfy the desires of a child, think beyond that sentiment. As pointed out in the editorial, what happens after the child becomes bored and diverts attention to other things? Allowing the dog to roam the streets and be a menace to neighbors is definitely not the way out.

    Can someone enlighten me as to the outcome when those responsible for poisoning the dogs are identified. Is it punishable under the law. Such acts are considered as cruelty to animals and will result in fines and jail time in the United States.

  3. Hi Jane
    It is the policy of the CI Humane Society that all dogs should be spayed or neutered before they leave our Shelter. This is the reponsible course of action. Occasionally, exceptions are made for certain reasons eg if the animal is on medication but, in those instances we should be calling the animal back at a later date. The cost of the surgery is included in our adoption fee. I would appreciate it if you could contact me by e-mailing the Shelter [email protected]. If you would give me some information-your name, the pup’s name at adoption and the date of adoption I will investigate what happened here. I do need this information though so that where our systems have failed we can tighten them up.
    Thank you.
    Lesley Walker, Director.

  4. There is no reason or excuse for poisoning and causing a defenceless animal to suffer so tragically. It should not be tolerated by a civilised nation. It is a crime and should be investigated/punished.

    Equally, pet owners need to be educated in proper, acceptable animal care – and regulated.

    As noted by the letter-writer (Concerned About Prospect Poisonings), there are often other reasons why animals are poisoned. It is not necessarily maliciousness against pets. One of my colleagues had a neighbour who laid out paraquat to get rid of feral chickens. The chickens ate the poison and died in her yard. Her 4 dogs ate the chickens and subsequently died. Paraquat needs to be regulated so that it cannot be used by unskilled people in dangerous ways that lead to tragic accidents.

    All animals adopted out from the Humane Society are spayed or neutered. Not sure when or why Jumeirah followed a different procedure from the standard.

  5. IMHQ – your friend’s colleague should be arrested for animal abuse. I don’t care that they used the poison to kill chickens. It doesn’t matter what kind of animal the poisoned is used on – the result is the same – a slow and painful death. This goes for humans who are exposed as well.

    There are alternative methods to get rid of all animals and poisoning should not be one of them.

    How the unaltered dog was able to leave the Humane Society is not in question here. How to avoid poisonings of defenceless animals…ALL animals (chickens, iguanas, cats, etc)….is the issue.

  6. It is a terrible thing to see an animal suffer from this toxic poison. No animal deserves such a death and no onwer needs to watch this horrible thing occur! As an animal lover and dog owner I have spent every dime I have building fences around my home, paying someone to care for my dogs when I am off the island and training classes to try to have well adjusted dogs. I do not let my dogs roam outside of my yard. I do not leave them outside if I am not home. I put them in the house with music on to keep them quite and relaxed. I doubt my dogs made more noise then the guy driving down the street with his radio too loud. All my dogs were neutered and micro chipped I tryed my best to keep them under control but I still lost 3 dogs to this terrible poison in the last 3 months. My heart aches for the loss of my loved dogs. If the people responsible for this tragedy knew how much the dog owners suffer would that mean anything to them?

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