Paws for thought

| 25/09/2009

When the phone rings at 7am on a miserable, rain soaked Monday morning and you see that the call is from the veterinary surgery where your favourite dog is being treated for constant vomiting, kidney infection and laboured breathing, you know it’s not going to be a good day.

My worst fears immediately came to fruition as I churned inside and listened intently for any positive news regarding Hobnob. The vet’s tear-fuelled voice, however, gave away the stark truth.Thirteen minutes later I was looking directly into Hobnob’s dark, hazel coloured shiny eyes and recognized the playful, but not the terrified look, of a dog so cared for and so loved that it broke my heart to see her inside a steel cage with an intravenous drip attached to her front leg. This cold, clinical, but necessary holding pen at the veterinary surgery was to be where Hobnob would spend her final few hours clinging painfully to her precious life.

There is truly no justice in this world for a dog whose whole, but sadly short, life was spent bringing pleasure to others in such a remarkable way. One of the most painful and guilt laden decisions to ease her suffering had to be made by her brave owner stricken with all the conflicting emotions on such an occasion. The sense of loss and grief felt since the fateful day has been palpable in the sentiments and eulogies describing Hobnob which have been received since. Scant solace though for the void now left in Hobnob’s absence.

So what’s the problem? Old age? Disease? Road Traffic Collision? Sadly not. The problem, as with many problems around the world, is atrocious human behavior. Harsh words but relevant in the circumstances, I believe.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that certain individuals in our so-called ‘developed society’ deem it appropriate, and maybe even sadistically amusing, to willfully administer poisonous or injurious substances to the very animals that are globally recognized as being ‘man’s best friend’. This should really come as no surprise to me as I’ve witnessed many human vs human atrocities in a professional capacity, but to wantonly cause misery to any animal is, in my humble opinion, the worst crime of all.

The outcry since that sad day has resurrected the anger and pain of many residents of the Cayman Islands who have suffered similar incidents and lost their faithful companions in such a despicable way. Further research on the subject has uncovered a history of incidents stretching island wide. Even Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are not spared the injustice of the deliberate, and criminal, actions of those so blatantly intent on causing misery to others.

I am trying to remain impartial in all this. I am trying to rationalize the behaviour and approach the situation with an open, non judgmental mind. I am trying to fathom what it would take for the community in which we live to recognize that maliciously baiting food and killing animals is abhorrent.

My sentiments are obviously fuelled by the personal anger I feel welling up inside, not just for Hobnob’s death but also that of Bumble (left), yet another close friend’s dedicated pet, and all the other innocent dogs and animals that have been the victim of such outrageous human disregard to life, any life … human or otherwise!

Since Monday (21 September)I have become aware of many, many historical incidents and utterances from various sources, all of which add credence to this ‘viewpoint’ and should hopefully promote, not just discussion, but firm, positive action as well. The law in this respect is clear. In short, it is a criminal offence to willfully, without any reasonable cause or excuse, administer any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to any animal. This is an offence of Cruelty. The prospect of a four thousand dollar fine and one year imprisonment sadly does not seem deter or affect the attitude of those persons committing this offence.

The rhetoric and emotion aside I am asking, nay demanding, that those intent on such behaviour please desist and seek alternative animal control measures. I am a pragmatic person and recognize the need and desire to protect one’s property from animal intrusion. However, the deliberate and heinous act of baiting sandwiches, meat and other apparently tasty treats for consumption by dogs, cats, chickens etc must stop. I accept, to a certain degree, that ‘a man’s home is his castle’ and we all have the right to protect the same from both human and animal intrusion. Within the boundary of your property you can do as you please. What is appalling to me is that the recent, and historic incidents, are apparently occurring in public areas. That is simply not acceptable and it is only by some sort of divine intervention that an infant or adult within our society has not been mortally affected … to the best of my knowledge!

I hope these few words, in memory of the beloved Hobnob and Bumble, do go someway to alerting people to the increasing incidents taking place. I have deliberately been geographically non-specific and non-accusatorial to any section of our society as I believe it is so widespread in our islands that to point fingers and engage in antilocution would be unproductive. I do not intend for my writings and personal feelings of certain events to be regarded as scaremongering or divisive in any way. These incidents are real, they affect real people and only serve to generate bitterness, anger and, sadly, grief.

Previous postings in the Viewpoint section of CNS, most notably this one in February 2009, have eloquently and articulately described the widespread occurrences of animal cruelty. The perpetrators must know that this will not be tolerated. If the conscience and actions of such people can be positively affected then it is a step in the right direction but more, much more, needs to be done. Punitively, the law doesn’t seem to be effective. This is a matter for the authorities and legislators. Socially, the behaviour is unacceptable and we, as a community, must not let the deaths of innocent animals happen in vain. Personally, in the memory of such lovely dogs and seeing the pain that my friends have endured, I will do my bit. Words are all well and good but what’s needed now is education and action.

I would be very interested to read any responses and representations from any section of society. Please do not let this issue peter out as it has in the past.

Rest in Peace Hobnob and Bumble!

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  1. Fiona Brander says:

    Hobnob was my housemate and friend and I miss her like crazy. No matter what the day had brought, good or bad, Hobnob was there to greet me with a happy face and a wagging tail when I came home. Saturday morning has arrived in our beautiful island  but the house is empty and paradise isn’t quite the same as it was a week ago.

    I agree that Cayman actually does need to do something about the amount of stray dogs we have here and also maybe ensure all dogs are kept enclosed in their own properties. I myself have found it a little scary walking past some people’s houses when dogs run out barking at you but as far as I know it is not against the law to walk down the beach with your dog off its leash watching it run around enjoying itself while doing no harm to anyone.

    So if anyone has then put out meat laced with poison outside the enclosed barriers of their’s or someone else’s property to tempt the dogs to eat it with the sole purpose of killing that dog then they are pure evil !

    For a island that is God Loving we sure have a lot of people who are not going anywhere near heaven..

    However last Monday Heaven did get a perfect doggie..



  2. Gill says:

    This piece by Cayman’s very own dog whisperer is excellent, although the circumstances in which it has had to be written so cruel.  We simply cannot sit back and let these evil poisoning incidents continue (another dog sadly fell victim again today).  We must stand up and be counted, and where possible educate that this is simply unacceptable. 

    A huge thank you to everyone for their kind words at this time.

    Let us make a difference in Cayman, let this be the time to save a canine.

    Gill, whose life was blessed by sharing it with Hob Nob.

  3. anon says:

    Its also a criminal offence to permit a dog to be dangerously out of control, off a leash and to permit a ferocious dog to be at large.  I am fed up with dogs biting me on this island and no-one being accountable.  No I didn’t poison the dogs but maybe it is someone who feels the same as me.

    • Anonymous says:


      **** true ****


      And I think no one should have a dog if they can’t properly keep the dog fenced in… I don’t believe in tying dogs, tying dogs should be outlawed!

    • noname says:

      And we apprecite your point about dogs that are left to roam free but these dogs that have fallen victim are not the dogs that are danerously out of control.  These dogs are the dogs that have never left the owners sight.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have been "clipped’ twice by cars when out running and run over twice, due to some of the worst driving I have witnessed on this island and none of the drivers stopped.

      Should I take it on myself to start slashing everyone’s tyres?

      The fact is loose dog is not the dogs fault, it’s the negligent owners, yet these cowards kill the dogs indiscrementately

      There is a very hot place in hell for animal abusers

    • Anonymous says:

      maybe i’m fed up with the ignorant, uneducated wannabe gangsters out there, does that give me the right to leave a big bucket of poisoned turtle stew out for them to feed on?

  4. jubba gump shrimp co. says:

    A nation can be judgedby the way it treats its animals and children.

    It is for this reason, I would never have a pet here. The idea taking on a stray, spending time to undo the psychological and physical damage would create too much of an emotional attachment. This is heartbreaking in itself as I have always had dogs elsewhere and would love to be able to give a good home to the Humane society gang!

    Due to the impermanence, the frailty, and also the mass exodus, if I left, I would be worried that my pet would once more end up in the abyss.  worse still, endure a fate like Bumble and Hobnob.

    Excellent post Kevin.

  5. Anon says:

    Hobnob was my neighbour.  She was beautiful and very gentle.  She could never deserve to suffer as she did, nor should her owner, as she must be doing now.

    I truly hope that when the person who perpetrated this crime comes before the court, they will be given the maximum penalty of a year’s imprisonment and a hefty fine. 



  6. Iain lovegrove says:

     As the owner of Bumble I appreciate everything the vet’s of Cayman and my friends did for her. These despicable acts of ignorance towards loving creatures has got to stop. The Cayman Islands government has to start taking these matters seriously and start investigating and prosecuting these mindless thugs before the empty hearted dog owners do!

    For an Island that bangs on constantly about being God-fearing it’s about time they start taking care of his creations!

  7. Priscilla Miller says:

    Gill and Hobnob were neighbors of mine, when we first meet, and over the course of time Hobnob became very good friends with my dogs. 

    Hobnob will be missed.

    To Gill and the owner of Bumble- I am deeply saddened by your loss and the loss to the community as Hobnob and Bumble were loved by so many and were friends to so many.


    Priscilla and family (Roxy, Balto, Gucci and Austin)

  8. Jack Horner says:

    Very well put mate and yes you are right, these dogs were loving and brought pleasure to many more people in our community than just their owners.

    Kev is right, it is hard to remain impartial in this instance especially when you know and have looked after both the above dogs, I regret not being able to be there when Hobnob passed but was certainly there for Bumble, even though I am miles away on vacation the sense of loss is still the same – for those who knew them, both these dogs were EVERYONE’S best friend.

    It is easy to say that one maybe two or even three of these cases is unfortunate, an accident, an error in judgement but no, there are now too many ‘incidents’ spread over too greater area for this to be unfortunate, an accident or an error.

    For those who are doing this to these animals I hope that one day you will see the error of your ways and be punished for what you hav done but I fear that your blatent disregard for the law shows this may be done by a higher authority than our judicery system.

    In the meantime I beg you to stop and go through the proper Government Departments to deal with a problem of ‘invading’ animals if this is your complaint, however, if you are doing this for pleasure then you sicken me to core.

    Rest in Peace Bumble and Hobnob – thanks for the happy times!!!!