The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and Department of Agriculture released a statement Friday reminding pet owners of their obligations after a spate of pet attacks in Cayman this year.
The statement indicated that police have received a total of 68 reports this year of ferocious dogs or dogs dangerously out of control. In seven of those incidents, people have been bitten and required medical treatment. Last weekend, the police responded to two reports – one in Bodden Town and one in the Rock Hole section of George Town – where people had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
In many of the cases involving dogs, victims have been walking or riding along public streets where they have encountered unleashed dogs that have aggressively pursued them. In three of the cases where dog bites occurred, the victim was chased by multiple dogs, but the police report stressed that none of the victims of dog attacks this year have sustained serious or life-changing injuries.
The police have not been able to locate problem animals in some of these reports, and in others, an owner could not be determined. But in many of the cases, the animal has belonged to an owner who has not taken the proper precautions to license or secure their dog under the Animal Law.
The RCIPS and Department of Agriculture is working to reduce the number of dog attacks in Cayman and to form strategies to inform the public about the need to keep their animals properly secured.
“Being attacked and bitten by a dog can be a terrifying experience,” said Robbie Graham, superintendent of uniform operations in an official statement.
“We are seeing a trend of dog attacks as of late and want to remind dog owners of their obligations under the law. You are responsible for what your dog does.”
“Dog owners know their animals as pets and often have a hard time seeing them as a potential threat,” said Brian Crichlow, assistant director of the Department of Agriculture as part of a press release, “But the fact is that their dog can be a threat to those it does not know and often may display an aggressive territoriality in the area around its home. Dog owners therefore need to and are required by the Law to confine their dogs to their property either in a fenced enclosure or tethered in a humane manner.”
Below are excerpts of the Animal Law and Penal Code for easy reference for pet owners:
- Under Section 40 & 41 of the Animal Law (2015 Revision), the court may order that an animal found to be dangerously out of control, be disposed of (put down), or a record be made by the court of this occurrence, in which case, a second offense would lead to the dog being put down and the owner of the dog fined and liable to summary conviction up to 6 months or indictment of up to 2 years, depending on whether or not the offense is considered an aggravated offence.
- Under Section 44, a dog is regarded as dangerously out of control where ‘there are reasonable apprehension that it will injure a person or another domestic animal, whether or not it does so.”
- Under section 46, a person is liable for a fine of $500 and 6 months imprisonment if found guilty of having a ferocious dog at large.
- Under Section 26, a dog must be on a lead in any highway or other public place, and under section 36 a person who owns a dog and allows said dog to stray on the road is liable to a fine of $500.
- Section 39 of the Animal Law states that the owners of every dog are liable for any damages or injuries that their dogs inflict on any person, property or other animal. Such damage or injury does not require the knowledge of the owner or negligence to be a factor of consideration.
- Under section 211 of the Penal Code (2017 Revision) anyone found guilty of a reckless and negligent act, to include section 210(d), is liable to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and up to two years imprisonment.