Police push for responsible dog ownership

“Education and enforcement” is how officials plan to tackle the problem of people mistreating their dogs and letting them roam the streets unsupervised, according to Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Inspector Courtney Myles.

At Wednesday’s Cayman Islands Agriculture Show, Mr. Myles and other officers distributed flyers created by police and Department of Agriculture officials, educating dog owners on their responsibilities.

Last year, police responded to 142 reports of ferocious dogs, 39 reports of dogs dangerously out of control and 32 stray dogs reports.

With the problem persisting this year, Mr. Myles said that the RCIPS and the Department of Agriculture collaborated to create an educational flyer.

The flyer reminds owners of their responsibilities to their dogs, including feeding, watering, sheltering, and keeping them free of pain and disease. It also provides advice, including tips for people who have been a victim of a dog attack, or have had their dog attack other people.

Mr. Myles said the most important thing is for owners to secure their dogs so they do not roam unsupervised and attack someone. Not following the rules governing dog ownership, which are set out in the Animals Law, can lead to fines and even imprisonment.

Breaking the law can also lead to confiscation of the dogs.

According to the RCIPS, the first time a stray dog is picked up, the owner can recover it within seven days by paying a $25 pickup fee and $10 per each day the dog is impounded. If the dog is picked up by the Department of Agriculture again, then the owner “will have a challenge getting back the dog,” Mr. Myles said.

If the dog is not picked up within seven days, then officials will put it up for adoption if it’s healthy.

“Dogs picked up are not in the best of health many times, either – in the case of that they’ll put it to sleep,” Mr. Myles added. “But there have not been many cases of that because we believe that getting a dog into a home is the best thing.”