Another dog – the second in three months – has been brought to the Cayman Islands Humane Society with an extensive burn injury. The most recently injured dog, Rufus, was brought in last Tuesday and immediately sent to Island Veterinary Services for treatment.
The Humane Society took the dog from its owner, who told them that the dog had been “bitten” on Aug. 4. The owner brought the dog to the Humane Society without previously consulting a veterinarian, and the dog was treated for its burns and neutered on Aug. 8.
The Department of Agriculture released a press statement Monday afternoon that indicated that animal welfare officer Erik Bodden began an investigation on Aug. 8. The DOA will be taking the lead on the investigation, with support from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
“At this time, it appears that the dog’s burns are chemical in nature and may be the result of a misguided attempt to control external parasites,” said the DOA in the press release. “The source of these burns continues to be investigated, as well [as] allegations of neglect.”
Rufus, who is believed to be about one year old, has extensive second-degree burns from the top of his head to the middle of his back.
“From my experience of doing this treatment, it’s going to take between six to eight weeks to clear,” said Claire Leadbeater, who is on the Humane Society board. “He’s still going to have lots of scars. He’s lost a lot of fur.… The one lucky thing is he doesn’t have heartworm disease.”
Ms. Leadbeater said the dog appeared to be malnourished, and a foster home will take care of him during his recovery. The animal’s wounds are reminiscent of those of Dora, a dog with extensive burns who underwent life-saving surgery at Island Veterinary Services in May.
Dora has recovered and is awaiting adoption. The police made an arrest in that case, but the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has not brought a case.
Ms. Leadbeater said the Humane Society has seen three burned dogs in a little more than a year.
“It’s horrendous each time. It doesn’t get any easier,” she said. “When I saw the photos, I was shocked again. Even after seeing Dora, and prior to that we had a boy called Monty with similar burns.”
Julie Arnall-Murray, a volunteer at the Humane Society, filed a freedom of information request last year to determine the frequency of animal abuse cases documented and prosecuted in the Cayman Islands.
That report indicated that 225 cases had been investigated by animal control and welfare officers at the DoA in 2016, and one of those cases had resulted in criminal charges.
Anyone with information about the case can call the DoA at 947-3090.