A poorly judged Facebook comment landed a woman in court Thursday.
Diane Gagne, whose dogs were impounded and euthanised by the Department of Agriculture, faced charges over threatening remarks she made on social media about the animal welfare officer involved in the case.
Gagne made “inflammatory and scandalous” comments on a Facebook thread, her lawyer Richard Barton acknowledged at a Summary Court hearing.
He said she had reacted emotionally after finding out her dogs had been put down by the DoA and disposed of at the landfill site.
In a discussion thread about the incident, referencing DoA welfare officer Erik Bodden, she wrote, “I want to take him to the dump and not tell anyone he died, like he did to them.”
Bodden made a complaint about the remark and Gagne was charged with using an Information Communications Technology network to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
The 25-year-old Canadian national appeared in court Thursday and a letter of apology was read on her behalf. Magistrate Grace Donalds ordered a conditional discharge and no conviction was recorded.
Outlining the context to the case, Barton said his client had been off island in Canada when the dogs, which were being looked after by her partner, were impounded and eventually euthanised by the DoA.
“That is a lot to stomach when you consider that she is the owner of these animals,” Barton said.
“You can only imagine the shock and grief with which she responded.”
Barton said she had been returning to Cayman to collect her dogs’ ashes, when she discovered that they had already been disposed of at the dump.
In a letter of apology, Gagne wrote that she had never intended to harm Bodden.
“I was under tremendous stress. I wanted to have them cremated and have a piece of them forever. After hearing that they had been dumped and incinerated … I acted inappropriately ….
“Nothing I can do can bring my dogs back. I was grieving. I mean no harm to anybody.”
The details of how and why the dogs were impounded were not aired in court. Barton accepted that there was no evidence that Bodden or the DoA had acted inappropriately.