Animal shelter full beyond capacity

Shelter will consider ‘humane destruction’ in extreme cases

The Cayman Islands Humane Society is filled “beyond maximum capacity” and has been forced to close its doors to new animals on a temporary basis.

The society is appealing to animal lovers to come forward to adopt some of the dogs housed in cramped conditions at its George Town shelter.

Directors of the society took the step today of reminding the public through an advert – page 10 – in the Caymanian Compass that it did have the option of considering the “humane destruction of sick and unwanted animals”.

A spokesperson said this would only be considered as an absolute last resort, but directors had wanted to address the false perception that the shelter has a “no kill” policy.

They added that for shelters that accepted sick and injured animals, sometimes humane destruction was the only option.

The society is appealing to dog lovers, volunteers and previous foster owners, as well as other animal interest groups, to come forward and assist.

The shelter is understood to be about 40 per cent beyond capacity, with at least 50 more animals out in foster homes and still technically under the care of the society.

In today’s advert the society directors warn: “CIHS is struggling to cope with the volume of rescued and surrendered animals taken in at the shelter and is now operating well beyond capacity … the only option is to decline any further acceptances of animals to the shelter until the current situation can be remedied.”

The shelter is offering a 50 per cent discount on adoption fees and has successfully transferred scores of dogs to overseas shelters, including 10 in the last fortnight.

Directors say that for every dog that goes out another is coming in. One dog was simply left abandoned, tied up outside the shelter earlier this month.

They say lack of space in the shelter is affecting the dogs’ quality of life and causing stress and aggression among some animals.

In their advert they add: “Volunteers that have an interest in animals through regular visits are urged by the CIHS to consider adopting their animal of interest or to encourage their friends to do so, not limiting this to the Cayman Islands as adoptions and transfers abroad are possible.”

Directors say they are not yet at the point where animals are about to be put down. But they want the public to be aware that this is an option open to them.

“To help put animals out of their misery is an extreme option but may be the only option in cases where dogs and cats have become unadoptable and their quality of life in the shelter is affected, or they are affecting other animals quality of life and depriving potentially adoptable animals the opportunity to find homes owing to lack of space,” the advert read.

“CIHS is struggling to cope with the volume of rescued and surrendered animals taken in at the shelter and is now operating well beyond capacity.”


  1. You left out the VERY OBVIOUS AND MOST IMPORTANT point–that we must spay and neuter our pets. We would not be so overrun by unwanted pets if people were to spay and neuter their pets. There are unwanted puppies and kittens being born every day. People here have the ridiculous idea that neutering a male dog takes away his manhood. No. It takes away his ability to get with every female in heat he can find and sire more and more and more unwanted puppies! And a female dog should be spayed. Otherwise every dog in the neighbourhood is going to try to get with it, and then you’ll be stuck with a litter of unwanted puppies. And what do most people do with unwanted puppies? Dump them at the Humane Society! Or leave them to fend for themselves. Then they run around, tearing into people’s trash bags, strewing garbage all over the streets just to find enough to keep their little bodies alive. They end up running in packs. Then people get angry at the dogs and throw rocks at them and hit them with sticks and then wonder why the dogs are vicious.

    Society’s attitude about spaying and neutering HAS GOT TO CHANGE, or we’re going to keep seeing articles such as this in the paper again and again. There are only so many people out there to adopt the dogs. We’re going to run out of homes way before we run out of unwanted dogs if we allow them to keep breeding.

  2. It has become almost impossible to avoid hitting a dog on the island while driving. It is our responsibilty to care, protect and love our animals. It is incumbent on all of us to donate our money, vounteer our time to the shelter, and neuter or spay or animals. The shelter needs our help or we will all be guilty of creating a kill shelter. People are throwing rocks at dogs because the people are too stupid to stop the dogs from procreating. Come on people act like human beings.

  3. What a shame – they seem to have missed a great opportunity here to push the spay and neuter message,instead choosing to lay the groundwork to justify killing animals who need care and shelter. The CIHS should be run as an animal shelter, not a government pound, but it needs effective community education and good management to achieve that.

  4. Sadly, just another example of people failing to accept their responsibility – to their pets, to other people and to themselves – as decent citizens. When are Caymanians going to realise that the world does not end at the boundary of their yards, and that we all have responsibilities beyond there?

  5. Back when I was a kid there was the Dog Licence which was a peppercorn annual fee. it was abolished in England back in the eighties (it cost about 50 cents at the time) as it was a legacy system and cost more to enforce than it brought in – BUT they did have a record of all dogs and their owners.
    There was much joking about the Dog licence vs. the TV licence – the TV licence was half price if you only had a Black and White Telly – so everyone with a black and white dog wanted a half price dog licence… and if you did’t have a dog licence you were subject to an ‘on the Spot’ fine which of course was hilarious if your dog was actually called Spot!

    In Ireland I understand it did not get abolished and they actually brought modern technology to bear and I think ended up with a good system.

    An irish dog licence is 12 pounds annually (Irish Pounds not Dog pounds) but requires the Dogs to be identified with an implanted microchip and the one off cost is typically 20 dollars or so. All puppies are to be chipped before 6 months.

    I also understand a similar system is used in parts of Canada with a very sensible twist.

    Dog licences fees are WAIVED for spayed or neutered dogs.

    This could work well in Cayman – it is not a revenue system but an animal welfare system.

    – CARE and the Humane Societys’ workload would drop dramatically.
    – a lost or stray dog is easy to reunite with their owner.
    – Central Dog Database would create a couple of jobs but not be very expensive given modern technology.
    – spaying or neutering becomes incentivised and people keeping intact pets would have to pay the full annual fee (60-80 bucks should do nicely).
    – People who claim not to be able to afford this ought not to keeping dogs – Heartworm meds are around 10 dollars a month alone – THAT MUST also be a requirement to the licence being waived and we could eliminate the suffering that heartworm brings in one simple stroke of a legilators pen. Endemic Heartworm could be eliminated from Cayman in a couple of years!
    – Dog theft is eliminated.
    – The sytem may allow integration with the PETS Pet passport system allowing dogs to return home with their owners.
    – If all dogs are chipped Pet Insurance becomes viable

    The question is not why we can’t do this, but WHY HAVENT WE DONE IT ALREADY!

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