Catron succeeds in another courtroom battle

| 24/09/2010

(CNS): Local community activist and former political candidate, Sandra Catron, has once again come out on top after another appearance in Summary Court on Thursday. Representing herself for the third time recently, Catron has been awarded $400 compensation in connection with money she spent on a dog police had accused her of stealing. The charges of theft against Catronover the animal she believed she had rescued in her local neighbourhood were dismissed by Acting Magistrate John Furness in June of this year. Catron then took up a civil action to recover some of the money she spent on medical expense for the dog (Precious/ Delilah) before the police took the pet away. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

In the wake of the award Catron said she was pleased that she could put the matter behind her as justice had finally been served. “This was never solely about monetary compensation but also serves as an important reminder that people must be responsible for their pets — they have a legal obligation to register their pets with DoA and not to let them roam. I made several attempts to settle this matter outside of court with the defendant but sadly she was not willing to compromise at all,” Catron said.

The compensation claim was made in the wake of a controversial trial in which the crown brought charges against Catron for theft after she found the dog and believed it to be a stray. Although Catron made attempts to find the real owner, during the time that Catron had the dog, which she named Precious, she took it to a vet for treatment. When the owner, who, it turned out, lives only a few houses away from Catron, came to claim the dog, Catron had asked to be reimbursed for the medical bills but the owner refused.
 
As a result Catron said she was not prepared to release the dog (named Delilah by its owner) until some agreement was made about payment, which is when the police became involved. Law enforcement officials seized the dog, which was taken to the pound, and arrested Catron for theft. The charges were, however, dismissed in court after Catron, who represented herself for the first time, made a successful no case submission.
 
Again in this civil action the court found favour with Catron’s arguments. “Ultimately the court found that since the defendant’s dog was in such poor health, the money I spent on its medical care was justifiable,” she said. “The magistrate said I took exemplary care of this dog but in the opinion of some people I may have gone above what would normally be expected. It appeared to me that this poor dog has suffered enough and if I was a bit lavish in my affections towards what appeared to be a neglected dog then that was my only mistake.”
 
Both Catron and the original owner of the dog Leianne Daykin-Bush had made submissions before Magistrate Grace Donalds. Catron presented over 20 sworn statements from neighbours and animal specialists to corroborate her arguments. She relied on the Animal Law, including the fact that the defendant had not registered her dog as legally required by s.24(1)(b) and argued that the spirit of the law supported her compensation claim.
 
The law states that if a stray dog is found by a constable for example, they will return it only after the owner pays all expenses incurred during the pet’s detention. Catron also told the court that as it was the second time that the dog in question had been allowed to stray it was negligence on the part of its owners and they would have to reasonably expect that someone might be unduly burdened by this. Catron also accused the dog’s owner of having blatant disregard for the dog’s safety.
 
During the proceedings Daykin-Bush didn’t challenge the vet’s report that revealed several medical problems with the dog, which is why Catron said she had spent money on the pet while ‘Precious’ was in her care. Catron saidthat she only did what any reasonable person would have done in the circumstances. Following the submissions, the magistrate said the only equitable thing to do was to award Catron compensation.
 
“I felt a sense of moral obligation to provide for this dog,” Catron said after the decision. “I can only now pray that she is receiving the ongoing medical care that she needs. If there was one thing that I would like people to remember about this matter, it is that if you chose to be a pet owner you have to be responsible. These are animals that rely on us for their care and the love that they give in return is immeasurable."
 
Catron also stated that she believed her experiences in the courtroom delivered another more general message for the community at large. “I believe the most important message this civil case sends is that you will be vindicated when you do the right thing and the courts have now confirmed that,” she said.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Get a life people! It’s over and clearly she won – not once but 3 times!!! If all you so-called legal eagles could not have argued and won such a case oh well too bad for you!

    Explains a lot now doesn’t it! The law is all about making compelling arguments – some based on legal precedence and some extending that which already exists. If she was able to do that despite all of your legal eagles saying otherwise she is MUCH MORE brilliant that even I thought! LOL ….

    Honestly, go and do some lawyering if you guys are staring at law degrees on walls and posting on here then clearly you don’t have enough client work to keep you busy!

    XXXXXX

  2. WOW says:

    Simple justice On Cayman?  Whats happening here?  This is what should happen so something is not right.  You can see by all the thumbs down that the powers that be and those who work for them are pissed!  Thumbs up by me for a citizen who saved a poor animal from neglect and did not get screwed for it.   Things might be looking up for Cayman.  For the non Government affiliated worker types I mean. Hope!

  3. Say It Aint So! says:

    hows the dog doing?

    • Anonymous says:

      DOE was asked to check in on the dog on occasion but I doubt that is happening. We have not seen him lately as he does not get walked. It’s doubtful he has been to the vet since then.

      • Rorschach says:

        WHY would you ask DOE to look in on the dog??   There is an Animal Control Officer, who should be following up on any reports of animal abuse or cruelty. 

        • Anonymous says:

          That should have read DOA – my mistake! DOA had the dog in their care and Maggie who works with/for them had been informed of the state of the dog.

          I know for a fact that Sandra was so concerned about this dog that she even checked on it when DOA had it to make sure Precious was still getting her eye drops etc. Sandra really cares for dogs and there has never been in doubt in my mind that she was genuine in her concern for the dog.

          Not for nothing – but have you guys seen the dog? Who would want to steeal a deformed dog and then lavish time/money/medical care etc on it? Clearly only an animal lover.

          Interesting that just because people pay money for dogs they think they can be neglected after purchase and there will not be ongoing costs associated with the care of the dog! Dogs cost money folks! They need vet visits and if they have medical issues you can’t just ignore it –  you have to fix it or the dog will suffer.

  4. Legal Beagle says:

    Although the reporting of the details of the claim in this article is pretty woeful, from what I can tell, as a matter of civil law I can’t see any basis for the compensation order. 

    • Anonymous says:

      You can see any basis because you obviously don’t understand the law! Have a look at the Animal’s Law and common law and you will find the basis that you need. The AL orders compensation for other people that find the dog like constables. Common law principles dictate that she would be compensated as well.

      It works like that:

      1. It’s against the law for you to allow your dog to stray
      2. it’s against the law for your dog to not be registered with DOA
      3. It was easily proven that she did not take are of her dog hence medical expensses
      4. It was easily proven she did not look for her dog hence irresponsible and burdeoning others to take care of it (tho she lived across the street)
       

      Do a little research and you will see this case would have been won in any jurisdiction actually. Common/case law prevails! Let’s comment on what we know please.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually common sense prevailed. I was speaking to a lawyer this weekend and he said this verdict would be expected from anyone with a little common sense.

        Just glad to hear that it’s over now!

        • Pauly Cicero says:

          It is disappointing to hear of a decision based on common sense in a court of common law.

      • Legal Beagle says:

        Since when did the common law expand about a limited right to compensation for a specified class of person derived from statute and impose it on a far wider class?  The only basis for a claim would be the law of restitution but given that the owner did not make any request that the individual concerned spend money on the dog, there really is no credible juridical basis for this award.

        Your moral compass may say that there should be a payment, but the law does not impose obligations on that basis.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are so clueless – I supposed you’d like someone to provide case law? The owner was negligent and her negligence was sufficient enough to put the finder in a bad position where she was compelled to spend medically on the dog. Get a clue or a law degree – one or the other would help you!

          • Legal Beagle says:

            If only you were a lawyer then you would realise that your post is gibberish.  It is quite funny.  And yes I have a lovely law degree, in fact I am looking at in on my wall right now.  Please continue with your legal analysis, I could do with a chuckle.

             

          • Rorschach says:

            ummmmm, I’m no lawyer, and I DON’T have a lovely law degree on my wall to look at right now.. ;), BUT your argument that Sandra was COMPELLED to to spend medically on the dog is lacking in substance…Sandra was in NO WAY compelled by ANYTHING other than her own conscience…Sandra is not a public officer and holds no public post which would, lawfully, require to take any action to ensure the animals continued good welfare..what she should have done, under the Animal Law, was turn the dog over to the Dept of Ag. and let THEM do the necessary treatment…and while I admire her for this…there is NO LAW to back up an argument of compulsion….having said all that…the judge obviously thought she did a good deed and should be compensated…

        • Anonymous says:

          LegalBeagle:

          Seems you need to review your law books.

          Upon purchasing a pet the owner has an obligation both to the animal under their care and to others with whom it comes into contact. This case was won on the principles of negligence – check your tort textbook! The owner has a legal obligation to do certain things which she did not do such as register her dog and keep it fron straying – Animal Law 2003. Said owner did not met her legal obligations and no one enforces that law.

          A person who chooses to keep a dog  owes a duty of care to people who may come into contact with that animal. This includes providing needed medical care. All of the evidence in court was produced to show this was not done.

          A civil suit is a lawsuit whereby the plaintiff claims that the defendant’s actions or negligence caused damages (losses and/or suffering). Clearly she was negligent in allowing her dog to stray as well as not taking care of her dog. All of her actions are directly link to what needed to then be done to the dog once it was on the loose.

          Another possible angle would have been:

          Public Nuisance – owners can be held accountable for their dogs – which are considered property: http://www.annarbor.com/news/dogs-destroy-a-neighborhoods-collective-sanity-attack-children/

          • Legal Beagle says:

            A little legal knowledge is a dangerous thing.  And you are very dangerous.

            1) Negligence – is an obligation not to cause harm to third parties to whom a duty of care is owed.  Read a little case called Donoghue v. Stevenson and work from there.  This is not a case of harm caused to any third party. 

            2) Common law obligations in respect of animals are again, a harm based liability.  From memory it developed out of the principle in Rylands v. Fletcher but it does not matter, and I can’t be bothered checking.

            3) Public nuisance is a criminal offence.  (And PS Ann Arbor is in Michigan).

            The only basis for a claim would be an express statutory power, and such powers while common are usually, and quite rightly, limited to claims by public authorities given a statutory obligation to intervene in respect of stray animals. 

            XXXXXXX

          • Pauly Cicero says:

            It is reasonable to extend the owner’s duty of care to a third party’s personal medical expenses. I do not think it reasonable to extend liability for a third party’s voluntary personal expense. If I hit you with my filthy car, I am liable for your medical expenses. I am not liable for your expense of washing my car, no matter how much of an eyesore it is to you or how neglegent I am towards my car’s appearance.

  5. Why the Bug Up Your Butt? says:

    Every time I see all of the thumbs down when I read yet another success story by Sandra I conclude that there are jobs on Cayman:  somebody’s flunkies are paid to put in a thumbs down for these stories.  She clearly is perceived as a threat by the powers that be.  Drrrr- explain to me why that is?  Sandra is educated, smart, compassionate, knows her way around a court room and makes Mac look like a bug (a super-cute, cuddly, just wanna eat you right up kind of a bug).

  6. Question says:

    It is interesting how the comments don’t reflect the mood of the clear majority of posters who commented on the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down.  The Thumbs don’t seem to behind great supporters of SC.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who cares? Bottom line is she won 3 cases – how many of the thumbs down can say that?

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what happens when you figure out all you have to do is delete your history & hello.. it’s like you never clicked a thumb in the first place 🙂 You’d have to be pretty idle (or a really sore loser?) to do it multiple times though. Thumb me down, Scotty! 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Whether you like her or not or voted for her or not you have to admit that winning 3 cases as a non-lawyer is quite a feat! I dare say that she’s a very intelligent person. This can’t be chalked up to luck or even that they just want to get rid of her – that’s not how the judiciary works as we can see from the recent case with the teacher and the ganja! Challenge her in other ways but I would say that she clearly has put her legal knowledge and skill to work here. I’m sure law firms are watching.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You go girl, can’t keep a good woman down.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sandra Catron is a wonderful woman. Cayman deserves the best to run the country and Sandra is the one to do it. Why? because she cares for the people f the cayman islands and the dogs of the cayman islands. She is honest and thats what lacking in the cayman islands. The people of cayman should stand up and support her 100%

  10. Animaliberator says:

    Despite the fact that the act by itself was noble to protect this particular dog from further unnecessary suffering however, what Ms Catron should have done and she may have, I do not know, was to call the animal control authorities and initially report this alleged case of animal abuse/neglect to them. If no response from the DoA was recorded, it would make it more understandable what she has done. However, I think arresting her as a result of it was not necessary either considering what certain people do to animals here and quite often nothing is being done at all. Paraquat poisoning would be one of them as a primary example as none at all of these cases have ever been solved while dogs have been dying left, right and center in recent months and for years before that. Reading today’s Compass on the subject may hopefully change that a bit in the future as they stated the product has been removed from the shelves but still find it ridiculous that anyone has an allowance to import just about anything they want without the DoA having anything to say or do about it whereas the DoA is supposed to be a regulatory authority. I guess not!

    Miss Catron’s vigilant behaviour however should be encouraged to some degree if proper procedures as aforementioned are followed first. I receive almost daily e-mails from private friends and/or CARE about lost, found or even stolen dogs at times. This proves that there are still too many owners of animals who do not seem to care enough about the welfare of their "pet". The DoA being understaffed in that department and simply may not be able to respond to each and every call-in about whatever with an animal but as said, there should therefore be more tolerance as to what a private citizen is allowed to do for the best interest of the animals if owners appear to be in default as such.

    • Anonymous says:

      Animaliberator,

      The abuse was reported to the RCIPS/Animal Control and nothing was done about it at all.

      Sandra obviously loves animals and recently helped me get reunited with my lost pet. Check her FB folder where she posts stuff all time for lost dogs to be found.

      • Animaliberator says:

        Thank you, my point exactly as I explained in my initial comment.

        Most of us will believe in true accidents and therefore I will not ask you why you lost your pet in the first place.

        It would be most helpful if we all look out a bit for each other and our beloved pets in such events, we and our neighbours, since we all have dogs, cats, birds etc. look our for each others animals in the event of a happening and that has worked and still does very well for all of us. Perhaps other neighbourhoods could do the same for the benefit of all people and animals alike. Call it an extended form of the neighbourhood watch program.

        Prevention has always been better rather then end up in court would  you not say?

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes and it was clearly demonstrated in court that this dog had strayed before and no real precautions were taken to make sure it did not happen again either.

  11. durrrr says:

    why is this news? people represent themselves in the Summary Court every day

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s news because it’s called a follow-up story to the criminal piece! DUH!!!

      • engaged says:

        and… it is news because we so rarely hear that common sense wins the day in court! (not just here in Cayman) and many citizens have lost faith in the legal system (i trust you note that I didn’t "justice" system

  12. Anonymous says:

    CATRON FOR "AG"!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why all the thumbs down? At least Sandra will take a stand and gets things done!

  13. Dred says:

    I am starting to wonder if we shouldn’t have her employed in our legal department. She seems to be winning more cases than the crown does. At least take her on as a special advisor. lol

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sandra has proven that many accepted injustices in our system can be successfully challenged. Luckily, she has the tenacity, knowledge and ability to defend herself – others have to rely on lawyers and therefore reluctantly choose not to challenge injustices because of cost. Sandra’s saga could be seen to support the need for the legal aid issue to be resolved. 

    As an advocate, her actions are commendable and should indicate her M.O. to any prospective constituents should she choose to enter the political arena again.

    Congrats Sandra!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Vindication! Finally the judge stated the obvious – Sandra took great care of this woeful dog and should be compensated for it. Glad she fought this to the end!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Ms. Catron! I understand you are also back at Law School doing the PPC – congrats on that also; looks like you have found your calling.

    A lot of people learned a lot from this story.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well done Sandra. Do ensure you join the Leagal Department after you are called they surely and sorely need your help

  18. Anonymous says:

    Whether you like Sandra Catron or not, you have to admire her "utter zeal and determination" in proving herself not be a "simple loser" like so many other persons who have appeared in court on a variety of unfortunate circumstances. Some of them with even experienced defence lawyers at their side, have failed miserably.

    I for one whether you agree with me or not, won’t count Sandra out of being a possible MLA in 2013 linking with the Chuckster, Miller and other independants who are gaining some valuable notice these days. 

    Afterall, as a recent poll indicated, people are becoming very fed up with the PPM and the UDP both.

    • Two Thumbs Up! says:

      I love the idea and you can bet that the good ol’ boys with their fingers on the thumbs down here have thought of it, too. 

  19. Rover says:

    That’s just "go away and stop wasting our time" money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop being disrespectful to the court/judiciary! Clearly she made a good argument to the judge from what I read here and I agree with the decision!

      How can Ms. Bush expect someone to provide medical care that she would not give her own dog and not compensate them for it? Bottom line is IF she had taken her dog to the vet this expense would not have been incurred.

      3:0 wins and Catron not even a lawyer yet? Hmmmm … pure talent that!!

    • more veggies please says:

      Ah… I think this would be more appropriate applied to the school teacher who was "made an example of" by some [insert adjective] prosecutor who appealed a case against him (2 times, I think) for half of a spliff. THAT’S some serious waste of money.