An individual has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty in relation to the dog that was brought to the Cayman Islands Humane Society in August with burns from his head to the middle of his back.
The dog, named Rufus, was treated by Dr. Ioanna Popescu of Island Veterinary Services, and he has been recovering in a foster home. After his recovery, Rufus will fly to Vancouver in November to join his new adoptive family.
Dr. Popescu said in August that she could not be certain whether the wounds had been sustained maliciously, but she believed that the dog had been untreated for a week before she had seen him.
After an initial investigation by the Department of Agriculture, the file was handed to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in late August. The DPP returned the file to the Agriculture Department on Sept. 12, and an individual was arrested and charged with animal cruelty on Sept. 21.
205 reports of animal cruelty or abuse
The Department of Agriculture fielded more than 200 reports of animal cruelty or abuse in the first eight months of 2017; only one had been referred for prosecution before September.
The Cayman Compass filed a freedom of information request to get a breakdown of animal cruelty reports this year. The data shows that 50 of the 205 reports did not require intervention by the Department of Agriculture. The Department indicated that 155 of the cases warranted treatment through education or improved awareness of appropriate care and the needs of the animal.
The Department handled more than 20 reports of animal cruelty in seven of the year’s first eight months, and the data shows that one of the two officers who handled those reports had at least 18 cases every month from January to May.
The case that was intended for prosecution is still an active investigation. Vanessa Rivers, operational human resources and information manager for the Department of Agriculture, said she is unable to provide any more information until the investigation has been closed. However, Ms. Rivers was able to provide some clarity regarding how the department decides which reports can be handled through education and which need to go through the legal process.
“The officers responsible for Animal Welfare make the determination based on the merits of the situation,” she said in an email. “The DOA completes the investigation in conjunction with the [Royal Cayman Islands Police Service] after which the completed investigation report is submitted to the Office of the [Director of Public Prosecutions] for a ruling.”
There was also a report of another injured dog, Dora, which was allegedly set aflame intentionally by her owner earlier this year. The RCIPS made an arrest in that case; the suspect was subsequently released on police bail. The DPP returned the investigative file to the RCIPS on Sept. 17, but there is no word yet on whether the case will be set aside for prosecution.