‘The worst case of abuse I have ever seen’

Call for prosecution after dead dog found

The dog known as Lennie is on the mend after severe animal abuse, but another dog, whose remains were found chained to a nearby tree, wasn’t so lucky. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

The pile of skin and bones was just visible in the rock and dirt at the foot of the palm tree. Jason Jairam could make out the shape of a small dog, maybe four months old. A chain tied to the tree hung loose around its emaciated neck. It had been dead, he figured, for at least two weeks.

Around 10 yards away, cowering in the shade of a neighboring palm tree, was another puppy – skinny, malnourished and dehydrated, awaiting the same fate.

In 10 years at the Humane Society, shelter manager Mr. Jairam cannot recall a single incident where someone has been prosecuted for animal cruelty or neglect. If ever there was a prosecutable case of animal abuse, he says, this is it.

Mr. Jairam has seen some horrific incidents in his time, but none worse than the scene he witnessed Friday when he was called to a home in Prospect following a police raid.

“There is no way to describe what I saw. It was like something from a horror movie,” he said.

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“This dog was basically chained to a tree and starved to death. If the police hadn’t been called to the house for a search warrant, the other dog would probably have died too.

“This is the worst case of neglect I have seen in the Cayman Islands and it should be brought to the courts and prosecuted.”

The dogs were discovered after the police Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force swooped on a home in Prospect and arrested Jonathan Welcome on Friday. The 22-year-old is suspected of pulling an imitation gun on police in a standoff in George Town a week earlier. He was charged with related offences on Monday, while police said they had arrested a woman and child on suspicion of aiding and abetting him.

Lennie is also known as ‘Survivor’ because he survived being chained to a tree and nearly starved to death.
Lennie is also known as ‘Survivor’ because he survived being chained to a tree and nearly starved to death.

It is understood that the house raided by police did not belong to Mr. Welcome and there is no suggestion that it was his dog.

Mr. Jairam said the Humane Society would be pressing charges and seeking a criminal prosecution against whoever was responsible. He said the Department of Agriculture, which ordinarily has the responsibility for enforcing the animal laws, had been too slow in the past to seek prosecution of offenders.

“I have been at the Humane Society for 10 years and I have seen all kinds of abuse, but I have never seen or heard of anyone being prosecuted. I think a lot of people think they can get away with it.” Spreading his fingers wide to illustrate its expansiveness, he said, “The Animals Law is this thick, but there is no one enforcing it.

Until someone is prosecuted people will continue to think they can get away with it.”

He said the Humane Society has no authority to go on to people’s property and confiscate animals or to enforce any of the Animal Laws. He said the Agriculture Department has that responsibility, but has been “too lenient” in investigating or enforcing the laws.

Nonetheless, he says, the Humane Society is there to do its part. If someone had reported this incident sooner, they would have been able to help.

“In this case the neighbors are almost as much to blame. The dogs would have been out there in the sun, starving for weeks and nobody called us or anyone else to report it. [T]hey were chained up in full view of the neighboring properties.”

A police spokesman confirmed the find and said officers were making inquiries in conjunction with the Humane Society into the circumstances.

The Humane Society is hoping for a happy ending for the surviving puppy, named Lennie, which means “brave lion.”

“He is starting to put on weight and is doing well. He is a fantastic puppy, he just needs love.”

The puppy is up for adoption at the Humane Society shelter, which can be reached on 949-1461.

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  1. Very sad story, but again there is someone to blame and obviously persons who are responsible for certain jobs are definitely NOT doing their job. These departments will not prosecute people, and it is high time they stop giving out tickets for these neglect and stop burying the evidence.
    When you encounter some of the workers in departments like Agriculture and Environmental health it makes one wonder why these places are not closed down. Yes every year an agriculture show is put on, but through the year they are the most unhappy miserable people you want to encounter.
    Environmental Health or Department of Environment, which ever, I still don’t know why the names ring together. Anyway which ever one that is responsible for garbage, litter and animals tethered, Government need to seriously look into these two departments. Back in the day when there was only two or three employees, people in those departments did their jobs. The visited neighbors and you were told to get things in order before they came back. Now a days you do not see anyone checking unsightly garbage dumps in peoples front yard. Want to know if I am telling the truth, just take a drive through Cumber Avenue from the Adventist church straich around the circle to Gun Square. You want to tell me that decent citizens have to put up with this plus the rats running across the road day and night. When you complain to the workers, they complain that they need more money. This department that is responsible for seeing that places are kept clean from front yard garbage dumps Government need to fire every one and get a new crew of workers in all departments.
    Many will not be happy with my comments, no problem, someone has to have enough guts to speak about these things. Wild cats, wild dogs they are everywhere, tied and untied, and no one speaks out, but why cant the responsible departments drive around and do their jobs instead of sitting down on the road side eating lunch every hour on the hour and the other shot callers sitting in AC on cel phone. Every body is a boss, make a call and see how many bosses you must go through. Gun square, Cumber Mission House, Harry McCoy Park , Front Yard private garbage dumps is a disgrace. Wild dogs, wild cats rats and who knows what will be found underneath.

  2. This is beyond animal cruelty, and I think that who ever own or live near that property should be held accountable for the cruelty of the animals . Who could live that close to a dog been tied up and did not do something about it .

    But I am seeing a bigger problem than animal cruelty . I think that the animal cruelty laws don’t have any enforcement claws into it to protect animals against such cruelty , just like many other laws of the Cayman Islands .

    I think that the politicians of the Islands are drafting laws and are putting in too much protection for the wrong doers , why we are seeing so many other problems not and can’t be enforced and don’t want to upset the people / voters of the Islands .

    Until these laws are amended to have strong consequences we will continue to have these problemsites .

  3. The Animals Law not being enforced does’t surprise anyone.

    There is The Protection from Domestic Violence Law 2010 that is not enforced because has no implementation mechanism. Lots of speeches and patting themselves on the back, but women ( and I hear men as well) are still being killed and abused.

    This is from Compass publication (2010)-“Lawmakers heard that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Family Support Unit dealt with 167 cases of domestic violence last year, 62 of which had been referred to the Legal Department for prosecution.
    “It should be noted that these numbers represent cases dealt with solely by the Family Support Unit officers and are not a reflection of the domestic violence cases encountered by the entire RCIPS, which would undoubtedly increase this number,” Mr. Adam said.
    Last year, he said, 92 women and children used the emergency shelter of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, compared to 88 the previous year.”


    • Anthony Eden had said (in 2010)
      “domestic violence….must be rooted out. “We must condemn this at the highest level. We must ensure that the enforcement takes place..” ..a report was also under way to prepare an anti-stalking law as companion legislation to the new law”.

      Who are WE? and where do WE sand on the enforcement? and on the anti-stalking law? Lots of WE MUST.

  4. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” What would this amazing man have thought of the Cayman Islands when not only are its animals so horribly mistreated and abused, but when those in a position to stop the abuse and prosecute the offenders turn a blind eye and do nothing?? Reading this article absolutely sickened me. It’s time for the Department of Agriculture to step up. Hire more enforcement officers. It’s time for the police to make the arrests, for the offenders to be found guilty in a court of law. Maybe then others would realize that there are consequences for abusing animals, even if their conscience does not guide them to do what is right. Let’s make Cayman a nation Mahatma Gandhi would have called Great.

  5. Reading some comments here, telling it like it is; its about time, those responsible need to be exposed.
    Paying the high cost on food, motor vehicle license, gasoline, health, security and the list goes on, is too much for us to just sit down on what we know is happening on this Island and do not expose it.
    You definitely do not see anyone from the departments responsible visiting districts to observe what is going on. Where are these paid people? Half of the staff in these departments need to go, they are over staffed, because when we only had a few , they did a better job. They have nothing to do, just tripping up over each other all day and sleeping behind containers. Why keep them on a payroll? ” Can of worms has to be opened” WHAT IS THE EXCUSE that these departments have , or MLA’s have to tell their people why “EACH DISTRICT” does not have an officer of environmental health /agriculture not visiting a district on a weekly basis at least. Dogs dead, tide up until dead, cows dead, chickens dead, run-away rats, cats and dogs people using their front yards for garbage dumps, road sides over grown with bush and leaves ; Yet every four years we vote in MLA’s and call it Good Governance? Nonsense, some one must be held responsible. Every body is a boss at these departments doing nothing. Enquire from these employees to give a report sheet proving what they did and have accomplished each week. If the heads of these departments do not request from their workers each Monday morning what they did for the week we will for ever have workers on the payroll collecting a fat pay at Credit Union every month with nothing to show for it. “Those in charge” what a waste of money, and people planning to go the Polls next year again to vote? Well I declare.