September 20, 2019

Cayman Islands Minister, Department of Agriculture and RCIPS meet with residents about stray dogs

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Hon. Joey Hew, Temporary Minister for Agriculture and elected representative for , officials from the Department of Agriculture (DoA) and members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service () met this week with a group of concerned residents to give an update on the situation with a pack of stray dogs that have been attacking people and animals in the George Town North community, and also discuss ways to deal with the problem moving forward.

At the meeting DoA Director Adrian Estwick confirmed that seven members of the pack had been successfully captured in the vicinity of the George Town landfill by traps that were set by the Animal Welfare and Control Unit. An additional wild dog had been caught in a trap at Minister Hew’s residence, where a pack of dogs had recently killed the family’s cat.  The captured dogs were euthanised due to their extremely aggressive behaviour and territorial tendencies. However, at the time of this writing, two dogs remain uncaptured and another has reportedly joined the pack so that there are three dogs now roaming in the area which extends from neighbourhoods on West Bay Road through the and Brittania area into Snug Harbour.

Mr. Estwick said the Department will be launching a public awareness campaign to educate pet owners about the Animals Law and their responsibility under the Law.  Attendees were given a brochure entitled “Responsible Dog Ownership” which will be distributed in the community and placed in various business establishments.  Members from the RCIPS and DoA will be undertaking joint community operations and using the radio and other media to inform and educate the public.

Currently, anyone who has their dog in public without a leash is committing an offense and subject to a fine or seizure of the animal. However, these cases have to go through the court system which is a costly and lengthy process. 

In the meantime, Superintendent Brad Ebanks and Inspector for Community Policing Courtney Myles promised an increased police presence in the public areas where residents walk their dogs unleashed, such as the Britannia Golf Club and Camana Bay, and said that officers will be handing out the brochures and talking to dog owners.  Mr. Estwick also emphasised that members of the public need to be careful that they are not contributing to the problem by interfering with the traps that have been set for the wild dogs or feeding the animals. He and Inspector Myles also encouraged everyone to continue to share information of sightings of the pack of dogs, and one resident suggested a WhatsApp chat group that included representatives from DoA and the RCIPS.

If any member of the public encounters packs of wild dogs, they can call the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Control Unit on 947.3090 or email agriculture@gov.ky.  Reports of dog attacks or dogs dangerously out of control can be made to the RCIP by calling 9-1-1 or district police stations.

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