Dog poisonings under investigation says DoA Director

| 27/09/2009

(CNS): The Department of Agriculture has said that it is working with the police to investigate the recent, apparent poisonings of dogs in the South Sound area. DoA Director Adrian Estwick said the department was taking the reports seriously and that any such deliberate act of animal cruelty is an offense under the Animals Law (2003 revision) but he confirmed that as yet the agent being used to poison the animals has not been identified. DoA Animal Welfare Officer Margaret Baldino advised dog owners to use a basket muzzle when walking dogs to prevent them picking up contaminated food.

“Pet owners can take steps to keep their animals safe, by keeping them on a leash when outside and not letting them roam,” Baldino stated. “If your dog is one of those that can’t leave ‘stuff’ alone then, as an added precaution, owners can use a basket muzzle to prevent them from picking up items when out for a walk, especially on a long leash. Consistent training, especially with the ‘Leave’ command is important, as well as a constant vigilance.”

Estwick said the public could be assured that if any evidence of deliberate cruelty is discovered, the DoA will seek to prosecute but was still not sure how the animals were being poisoned. “Some members of the public have expressed concern that pesticides may be linked to the apparent poisonings. However, experience both locally and internationally has shown that where pesticides have been linked to poisonings, this has invariably been the result of a deliberate act or accidental misuse of the product,” Estwick added. “Pesticides recommended by the DOA, when used as directed, are safe and effective tools for the control of pests in both the agricultural and landscape sectors.”

The DoA screens and evaluates all of the pesticides that it imports and sells to ensure that there is the least potential for a negative impact on non-target organisms and the environment. Additionally, the DoA further restricts the sale of more toxic pesticides to registered farmers who have been trained in their handling and use. The DoA, however, is neither the sole importer nor retailer of pesticides in the Cayman Islands. At present pesticide importation, sale and use is largely unregulated under existing legislation.

The DoA said it and the Ministry was committed to enhanced regulation of pesticides and have over the years taken actions to promote increased regulation of these products. “Enacting new legislation to comprehensively regulate the importation, storage, distribution and use of pesticides in the Cayman Islands continues to be the goal,” the DOA said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Since nobody’s actually done a toxicology report on these deaths, are we so sure that these are deliberate poisonings attributable to some psychopathic serial pet killer?  Surely, no pet deserves this outcome, and as a dog owner it saddens me deeply.   However, some consideration should be paid to nonchalant owners who allow their untrained pets to root around, unsupervised, in a public/private area. 

    Loving pet owners with pets that eat whatever smells interesting should keep them on a lead to help protect them from themselves.  I’m not an horticulturalist, but am aware that there are a variety of common indigenous and imported garden ornamentals that can make pets (and children) very sick and/or kill, including: Aloe, Hibiscus, Poinciana, Spanish Thyme, Rhododendron, etc…see link below.  


    • Heinz 57 says:

      You have made some good points and I really appreciate your concern and made awareness with toxic plants however, I would like to make a few points as a response.

      First of all, toxic reports have been made, perhaps not by the DoA as they really do not seem to care too much otherwise something good would have come out of this by now after all these years of ongoing poisonings. IVS has a very loving 7 year old little dog from East End right now in their clinic with virtually certified paraquat poisoning based on sad extensive past experience. This by the way is the owners second dog that will likely die in the next couple of days, she lost her first about a year ago. Even I could make that statement having had 2 of our dogs die in my arms of paraquat poison which was certified after their deaths at the time. It is truly one of the most horrific deaths an animal can suffer. Not something one would wish upon their worst enemy, believe me.

      Your comment on the toxic plants is indeed very true but not too relevant in terms of poisoning dogs. Dogs being the ultimate carnivores, will not usually eat from any plant except certain types of grass which by the way could be part of the paraquat problem as most people observe that type of grass as a weed. On very rare occasion, a dog may be licking a droplet from what we call a weeping plant such as Dieffenbachia. This type of poisoning is generally not lethal, there may be some vomiting or some other form of stomach upset if the animal repeatedly licks the plant but that is generally it.

      I would be the last person to deny that people must become much more aware of the dangers lurking out there if the dog is not under some form of restraint such as fences and leashes. Sadly, it seems a lot of animal lovers that have them but can’t seem to afford the associated requirements such as fences, adequate pens and what not to protect the dogs from the people that do not appreciate them for what they are. They either poison them, or set fire to them, one dog we know of got poured over with bleach and lost eyesight in both eyes, she was actually at the HS dog show this year, I have witnessed a dog from the Brac that was "treated" with battery acid all over her back and to date, virtually nothing has been done about that by the authorities then or right now.

      I shall put some trust in the statement that the DoA is working with the police to discover who may the cause of this current killing spree since we already pretty much know what has killed them with one dog still on her death bed.

      Sweet dreams to all!

  2. realistic view says:

    Sad, but I trust that any of these dogs that died were actually on a leash as the law demands.

    Those people that let their dogs roam really have no right to complain if their ‘free ranging dog’ ate poison and gets sick. in those cases – those irresponsible owners shouldnt be allowed to own dogs.



  3. Anonymous says:

    Imagine, now we have to muzzle our dogs to take them out for a walk/run.  How do they breathe, pant and run with a muzzle on?  What a pathetic island this place has become?  Just ban the darn paraquat and strychnine from being imported and sold here!!!  Duh!!  How many animals in Cayman have to die such a cruel death until the Goverment steps in and takes control!!  Now imagine we’re out walkingour dogs for their late night pee and poop walk before retiring for bed for the night, and a mugger attacks.  Now our dogs can’t help us because their mouth is muzzled!!  That will encourage muggers to attack, because then the dog is useless as a defense, but they do need their late night walks to pee and poop so the owner can have a good night sleep without having to get up in the middle of the night to take the dog out, or wake up to have to clean up pee and poop off of the floor or carpet, something to stress them out along with trying to get ready for work on time!  How much more crazy is this place going to get???  GET RID OF THE PARAQUAT AND SYCHNINE PLEASE!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hope they find the wicked SOB that is poisoning these animals. I wish i had my way with them !!!! I also hope they are fined and prisoned.

  5. Heinz 57 says:

    Well, we can keep our heads in the sand for as long as we want until something really stupid happens. Please, think hard what I mean by that!

    I always thought the DoA is an Authority in the use of highly poisonous materials such as paraquat, I guess not!

    Mr. Estwick keeps referring to pesticides whereas paraquat is a herbicide, a very lethal one I might add. Strychnine is a pesticide which is equally lethal. Not too long ago, a great number of dogs were killed with that in Grand Cayman and the Brac.

    For those among you who do not quite know what we are dealing with, go to the links below and look for yourself and see what paraquat and strychnine really does and who can apply it, in particular on a porous island such as ours.

    As the DoA has finally come clean with the fact that every Tom, Dick and Harry can get their hands on it, don’t you think these products should come off any shelf we have it on?

    I also think we should muzzle all the young kids playing in the field, just in case we have a mad man running around killing "stuff"!

    We need legislation to ban these lethal products, NOW!! 

    Please, do let us know once you figured out what killed the dogs recently, it’s really not that hard to do.