Two animal welfare groups have obtained an injunction from the Grand Court to halt a planned cull of feral cats believed to pose a threat to native wildlife on the Sister Islands.
The Cayman Islands Humane Society and Feline Friends were granted a temporary injunction Tuesday to stop the cull, which was scheduled to begin in Little Cayman this week.
Justice Richard Williams will be asked to consider Thursday whether to grant the applicants leave to apply for judicial review of the cull program – a joint initiative between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment. He is also expected to make a decision Thursday on whether to extend the injunction.
Gina Ebanks-Petrie, director of the Department of Environment, confirmed that a cull had been planned to help deal with feral cats preying on wildlife.
She said, “The DoE and DoA had planned to capture feral cats for the protection of native wildlife. An injunction has been served and the matter is now before the courts.”
The two charities are asking government officials to meet with them to discuss more humane options for dealing with the problem. They have proposed a trap, neuter, vaccinate and release program and say they are willing to provide funds and resources to assist government.
In a joint statement, the groups said they had to act swiftly after learning about the planned cull, which was scheduled to start on Tuesday, earlier this week.
“On the basis of urgency and because the Cayman Islands Humane Society, Feline Friends and the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee were not consulted on the proposed cull, both organizations jointly applied for leave for judicial review and were granted a temporary injunction from the Grand Court prohibiting the DoA and the DoE from capturing homeless cats for the purposes of destruction until the matter is further considered by the Grand Court.”
The statement said the organizations were “acutely aware” of the hardships faced by indigenous wildlife in Cayman.
In their statement, they said, “We strongly believe that the homeless cat population on Little Cayman can be managed though a well-handled, organized and systematic Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release program, known as ‘TNVR.’
“The Cayman Islands Humane Society and Feline Friends are ready, willing and able, together with the support of local veterinarians to assist the DoA in developing and implementing a TNVR plan. We therefore remain committed to working with the DoA to finding humane and considered solutions and hope to be able to work collaboratively to address such matters going forward.”
Feral cats, the generational offspring of unwanted pets released into the wild, are considered a problem on all three islands.
They are believed to hunt rock iguanas on Cayman Brac and have been known to target brown-footed booby nests.