Man pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

A West Bay resident pleaded guilty to a second charge of animal cruelty Tuesday in the case of a dog that was chemically burned last August.

Desland St. Aubyn Bailey, who had previously pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for putting Pine-Sol on the dog’s back, pleaded guilty Tuesday for not seeking medical attention for the animal, Rufus, in a timely manner. A third charge, for allowing the dog to be underweight and infested by fleas and ticks, will not be pursued.

Mr. Bailey’s case had been scheduled for trial in Magistrate Philippa McFarlane’s court on Tuesday.

The magistrate ordered a social inquiry report to be done, and the matter will return to court for sentencing on March 7. Magistrate McFarlane emphasized to Mr. Bailey Tuesday that taking a plea might be in his best interest since he had already accepted responsibility for putting Pine-Sol on the dog’s back.

“You look like a straightforward man. I’m a straightforward magistrate,” the magistrate told Mr. Bailey. “I don’t like when people waste time. I really feel like a trial would be a waste of a time.”

The incident with Rufus is believed to have occurred on Aug. 4, and Mr. Bailey brought the dog in for treatment to the Cayman Islands Humane Society on Aug. 8. Rufus had second-degree burns ranging from the top of his head to the middle of his back, and he was operated on at Island Veterinary Services.

But Dr. Ioanna Popescu, the veterinarian who treated Rufus, believed that the nature of the dog’s infected back meant that Bailey had waited longer than four days to seek treatment.

“I can’t say if the dog was maliciously burned. It’s impossible for me to say that” she said in August. “But what concerns me is that whoever supervised the animal waited longer than a week to bring it for care. They left the dog with that rotting wound on his back for so long before doing something.”

Rufus was surrendered to the Humane Society and spent months undergoing medical treatment at a foster home. He is still currently awaiting adoption to a new permanent home and family.

The Department of Agriculture investigated and handed the Rufus case to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in August, and Mr. Bailey was arrested in September. The Rufus case is the only one of 105 animal cruelty cases investigated by the Department of Agriculture in 2016 and 2017 to result in a criminal prosecution.

Magistrate McFarlane advised Mr. Bailey Tuesday that she does not believe his charges meet a custody threshold.

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