Animal over-population

| 09/09/2013

At last count there are now six animal welfare organisations here in Grand Cayman – not all of them registered. How is it possible that an island this size (I am only discounting CaymanBrac and Little Cayman as these entities are all based in Grand Cayman) has the need of six animal welfare operations all focused on any or a combination of all of the following (and this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • Rescue abandoned or abused animals (and prevent ill treatment, cruelty and suffering of all domestic animals)
  • Provide shelter (and care and attention)
  • Aim to eradicate the animal overpopulation by encouraging spay and neuter
  • Relocate animals to (preferably no kill) shelters in the USA
  • Promotion of adoption/seek out (responsible and loving) homes
  • Educate the public on responsible pet ownership

My mother was one of a group of people who helped to start what is now the Humane Society and in an interview in the ‘Nor’wester’ Magazine in 1972, she was quoted as saying that the Humane Society came about due to there being an animal over-population problem … this was 41 years ago and it doesn’t seem to have improved.

In the past 41 years how much money has been thrown at this problem? (How many relationships have been fractured and how much more money do we intend to keep throwing?) Most of this is privately funded. I believe of the six organizations only one (that being the Humane Society) receives (minimal) government assistance, and as all but one are registered charities, who presumably keep accounts, this figure is possible to obtain. But I’m not sure it will be helpful in solving what is an enormous and incredibly emotive problem that doesn’t seem to be diminishing, despite best intentions.

To give you an idea, just one of these charities that I follow quite closely is Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts (CARE). I am a big fan of these guys, who possess honesty, integrity and a willingness to ‘be the change you want to see’. (I’m not saying the others don’t; I am simply focusing on CARE because I know the most about these guys.) In addition, with no government subsidy, and with no premises or paid staff they have accomplished the following in the short time they’ve been operating as a registered charity (late 2009):

  • 1,011 spay and neuter surgeries for community dogs and cats
  • 272 dogs and puppies have been transferred overseas
  • 72 dogs have been adopted into loving and responsible homes here on Island

As much as it’s been helpful to forge relationships with (at times no kill) shelters overseas and good homes have been found for some of our ‘Caymanian’ breed dogs, this is not solving the problem over the long term. It’s a short term fix and it seems that as if each new organization pops up, there’s another reason for another irresponsible pet owner to shirk their responsibility.

It seems we’re almost enabling this culture of irresponsible pet ownership and giving folks a free pass to leave the Island without having to take their animals with them because of the big hearts involved – ‘someone will always take care of them’. Equally, there are those who aren’t leaving the Island but are leaving their animals in very inhumane conditions and may as well be considered an ‘absentee owner’.  And so, every time someone is required to take care of an animal that’s been abandoned or mistreated by those irresponsible amongst us, it detracts resources (both time and money) from the true purpose, which is to educate the population and eradicate the over-population problem.

What is needed is government legislation (and enforcement). A dog breeding legislation must be in place, and it must be one that enforces breeders to hold a Trade & Business License.  In addition, and in order to obtain and maintain such Trade & Business License, the licensee would be subject to home or businessproperty inspections, etc.  This will cost money to implement and oversee and this is why there is a price to hold a Trade & Business license that is renewable annually. But this has got to cost less to oversee than is currently being spent by both government and the private sector in the funds being used to fund six different (yet similar) directions.

In addition, the government must bring back the dog licensing registration, preferably with a fee scale depending on whether the dog being brought in is to breed or not, and if the dog isn’t being brought in to breed (by a licensed breeder) then surely the dog should be brought in already spayed or neutered.

If this were to take place, there would be no need for these organizations to continue cleaning up the mess that is being allowed to continue (and in fact seemingly multiply) and the money that is being bled into and out of them might be channeled to one of the many other worthy causes that have yet to be fixed with something as simple as legislation and oversight.

In the meantime, and until legislation and oversight is in place, all of these registered charities need our help, and so I would encourage you to consider making a donation to any or all that speak specifically to you. But equally important, I would encourage us all to reach out to our government representatives to see if we can encourage change.

I realize we have enormous problems to tackle and this may be the least of them in some of your minds but please remember the quote by (I believe it was) Mahatma Ghandi, who said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    With so many "non-profit" organisations on this Island, it makes one wonder about the ulterior motives for coming here and setting up shop, then asking the public for monetary support but the problems continue to grow – hhhhmmmm whats happening with the so called "donations"? – some really good investigations need to be carried out on this Island – too many crooks have squeezed in here.  As for the dogs, I am not a lover of dogs, cats or iguanas just don't feed me any ofthem please ! 

  2. Anonymous says:

    May I suggest that if people are prepared to pay ridiculous amounts of money to import dogs and puppies that the government should levy a substantial duty on those who can't find a perfectly good dog on island, same as importing a car or any other goods. Theres no doubt we are hugely overpopoulated so lets deter those who only add fuel to the fire??

  3. Deputy Dawg says:

    I agree that something needs to be done to control the dog over population and with the suggestion that breeders should be licenced and regulated, after all it is a money making business that should require a level of responsibility and control.

    It is no secret that banned breeds puppies are being advertised for sale on island. Recently CARE rescued a female Pitbull that had been used and abused for breeding purposes for many years and had been neglected when she was sick. Currently there are breeders who see their animals as a means to make money, overbreeding them with  no regards for their wellbeing. When the money making machine breaks down and needs attention it is tossed on the scrap heap and a new one is sought. 

    Instead of enforcing the dog licencing scheme based upon the old system where the dog is issued with a collar tag that can be lost, how about a system where the dog is microchipped and the owners information is entered into a database. That way when the dog is found abandonned or roaming the owner can be identified and fined. Following on fron this regulation of breeders would require all puppies bred on island to be chipped and registered to owners.

    The success of any regulation new or old as everyone knows relys on enforcement of the law. Currently law enforcers have typically ignored the often blatent disregard of the rules regarding the breeding of banned breeds, turning a blind eye due to other pressing Police issues. Whilst many would view breaking this law as trivial, the compounded effect of this ignorance has led us to where we are now, a lawless unregulated mess .

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you have any dogs you need to get rid of, please send them to my yard. Its so funny when my neighbors gets anoyed with other people dogs barking on my property when I go out to cut my fruit.  Cant  figure out why my property value has decreased with all these barking mad dogs.

    email  A$%^&

    • Anonymous says:

      First let me point out the animal laws changed quite some time.  There was to be animal welfare officers "ENSURING" animals were being taken care of, not being abused, "ENSURING" banned dogs weren't being bred, "ENSURED" banned dogs were microchipped, properly contained and muzzled when out in public…..can we all stop laughing yet?  The greatest thing is the one who placed this ban on "certain breeds, not allowing croping and docking" is docking and cropping and taking care of the "banned" breed puppies and making money off of it.  Non of the vets report any of this to the proper departments.  The one person who was getting paid from government to enforce this was to scared to go into "certain" neighborhoods.  

  5. Verticalpharmacy says:

    Cayman people are overall animal lovers then any average americans.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can shuffle these words and make a sentence in English.  Maybe.  It can't get worse whatever order you put them in.  I think this might have been written by a talented cat.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You can tell a lot about a person by how he treats animals.  Nuff said.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I would be happy to see Dog licensing take place if it would assist in some of the needless cruelty that goes on.

    One of my neighbours for instance, 'Bleached' her dog to death, had her children removed from the home (due to the concern for their welfare) – only to have her children returned a few weeks later and having acquired another little puppy.

    Humane Society were sympathetic but the animal welfare inspector couldn't seem to care less unless I personally saw the murder taking place – (regardless of the fact  that the whole case would be a matter of public record) and even Cayman27 just ignored my Email on the issue, a week or so after making a big issue about a dog left tied up to a post and abandoned.

    What I am trying to get at – If licenses were required, then this woman's 'satanic' murder of her poor dog could have been recorded and a further license refused.

    That being said, as some of the posters have already pointed out – there are already laws in place – they are just not adhered to so I'm probably just wasting my breath – …. this woman would probably ignore the Law (requiring a license) every time and just continue to 'Bleach' her dogs to death every time they shit on her carpet !. 

    Would anything be done???? No.

  8. Knot S Smart says:

    We are lucky to have so many people that care about animals…

    I mean – in some countries they eat cats, and dogs and iguanas…

    Maybe we could send…

    I cant believe I typed that… I cant  even believed I allowed that thought to enter my mind…

    Back to the topic – we are lucky to have so many people that care about animals – and I agree that pet owners should be held responsible for their pets…

  9. Not joking says:

    Points taken; however, I have no regard for the chickens. They're noisy day and night, excrete everywhere, eat your blossoms, and think they own the place. If any of the six organizations you mentioned addresses this annoying chicken epidemic, I will fund them monthly, like how a church is funded with tithes. Until then, I'll remain aloof.. because they and the green iguanas are the only over-population menances I've observed. How often do you see dog roadkill? Now how about chicken and iguana roadkill? You see my point? There has to be a better way.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have no problem if someone decides to spay or neuter their dog. However, what I can't tolerate is someone that thinks that they have the right to make that decision for me or that I should be punished financially for not doing what they want everyone else to do.

    I have never been responsible for any unwanted puppies and my dogs are well trained and socialized. They get proper medical care and are valuable members of my family.

    Please do not try to punish everyone for the things that are done by a small segment of the community.

    • Money where your mouth is says:

      Get a business license for breeding and continue you responsible ownership and breeding of dogs.  There was a day when nothing was regulated, those days are gone, welcome to the future

      • Anonymous says:

        If you want a license you can get one for yourself. Nobody is stopping you.

        Welcome to reality!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I've got an idea. Charge import duty of $10,000 on every cat and dog brought into the island. That would discourage the stupid pedigree snobbishness we see all round us, reduce the number of animals overall and oblige those who want a pet to go to the Humane Soc for it. That in turn would sort the real dog-lovers from the poseurs and as a side effect would reduce the number of fighting dogs brought here.

    • Money where your mouth is says:

      That is the stupidest thing I have read in a long time! You are incouraging inbreeding… We need to kill the ignorance of the banned breeds, allow responsible appropriate ownership, and deny neglectful owners from having pets, period !

    • Castor says:

      How do you know there are fighting dogs brought to the island? If you know that as a fact you have a responsibility to report that to the authorities. Maybe you have been drinking magic mushroom juice with your cool aide.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should I be forced to adopt a dog from Humane Society if I want a dog, just because there are so many owners who let their dogs stray and breed with whatever dog is around? Why can't Government get control over all those stray dogs and punish the people who neglect their animals instead of trying to punish the ones who want to be and are responsible dog owners by forcing them to adopt from the Humane Society?

      We should have dog catchers driving up and down every single day and pick up dogs that walk around free, whether they have a collar on or not. But no, here we must call the animal control unit to set up traps in our yard. I live in an area where there are vacant lots all around me and I see pack of dogs every night, but the control unit can't set up traps on those vacant lots because the land doesn't belong to me. That is just stupidness we are dealing with here.

    • Anonymous says:

      The stupid part is your asking to make people pay even more for the basic human rights and silently promising that there will be accountability where there is none and never has been.  In this country there are as many laws as anywhere else.  Here they are not enforced unless they are forced to do so.  Better to ask for a law that makes it a crime not to enforce a law.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good article. Puppies especially the little handbag ones and pit bulls are BIG money making businesses here. They are being imported to sell and bred to sell. A stop should be put to importing dogs to the island for sale as long as we have dogs needing homes.

    These dogs are selling for between $1500 and $2000, and its a disgrace.

    On a different note, sadly, we recently had to put our long time friend to sleep and are about ready to have another dog in our home. Where do we go to CARE to meet their dogs they have looking homes. Thanks


  13. Anonymous says:

    Tara, bwell put, however the laws of the Cayman Islands already make it an offence to breed animals for profit (or carry on any Trade or Business) without a license.

    It is also a separate offence to breed Pit Bulls (for example) and yet the breeders openly advertise.

    No legislation is required. We just have to enforce the laws we have, and have had, for decades.


    • Anonymous says:

      See the re-occurring problem? Enforce existing laws……wow that's a novel idea, unlikely here in the Wild West……

      • Anonymous says:

        They didn't call us the Lawless Caymanas for nuttin'. Time to send in the West Indian Regiment again. Our own authorities seem as corrupt and incompetent as those they are supposed to be controlling.

  14. Cc says:

    Some places eat dogs and cats. They call is beef. We eat cows and pigs. We call it beef… Just making a suggestion 🙂

  15. Anonymous says:

    What needs to be addressed the third world attitude of many locals to animal welfare.

  16. Head Master says:

    It is the people who need mandatory neutering/spaying!!