An animal advocate says cruelty and neglect have been running rampant in Cayman for years. Taura Ebanks of Cayman Animals Watchdog said she is appreciative of two independent MLAs for their recent calls to beef up enforcement of the animals law, but said such calls are well overdue.
She says it’s time for accountability.
“We need to go to the root cause of the problem, and the root cause of the problem is, people are taking animals and abusing them,” said Ms. Ebanks, who added the only way to curb animal cruelty and neglect is to start enforcing the existing law.
“We have a very robust animal welfare law. The reality is, we only have one animal welfare officer and that’s not enough,” said Ms. Ebanks.
Short on resources and short on action, she told Cayman 27 reports of animal abuse are not being adequately investigated and says the statistics back that up.
“Over 20o-plus reports were made for animal abuse or neglect and there’s only one prosecution? This is saying something that we are not enforcing the law, and I think that if we took one or two cases and we enforced it, the awareness would come naturally,” said Ms. Ebanks.
She said slack enforcement perpetuates the problem.
“We have people taking animals, they are inflicting real abuse, true neglect, to the detriment of the animal, and it’s becoming OK. I don’t understand why we think that it’s something that we can turn a blind eye to,” she said.
Her petition to stop animal abuse in Cayman has gained momentum, crossing the 1200 signature mark and prompting MLAs Alva Suckoo and Winston Connolly to mull two separate animal-related motions. She hopes other policy makers take note.
“I’m grateful to both Al and to Winston for championing this cause, but this is something every district representative should be looking at, and not just because its nearing election time.
We reached out to the Director of Agriculture Adrian Estwick for comment. Our messages have gone unreturned thus far.
Last month, Mr. Estwick told us the numbers, showing only one prosecution resulting from more than 200 animal welfare investigations, are misleading because that figure includes a variety of types of cases.