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DOA tactics under fire in tackling GT stray dog problem

The Department of Agriculture said on Friday (18 January) that its options are limited when it comes to keeping stray animals at bay.

It comes as they try to capture a pack of dogs that has been plaguing communities along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

Residents told Cayman 27 the Department’s response thus far was “woefully inadequate” to deal with the problem, given the very real threat to both people and pets.

On Thursday (17 January) night, one dog was caught by the traps set. But it has done little to reassure residents who have been set upon by the animals and those who have lost pets to them.

The DOA  said the options available to deal with stray animals are set by the provisions of the Animals Law.

Sections 47, 49 and 57 allow for a police officer, member of the public or landowner to seize a stray dog.

The public must report the stray to police within a 24-hour period.

In this case, people are frightened to approach the stray dogs, given the threatening behaviour they have been exhibiting. So this option has been discarded.

The DOA has one further course of action, set out in section 70 (8), which allows an authorised person to use poison to destroy an animal in the interest of “public health, public safety or agriculture” or “to preserve other domestic or wild animals”.

This section has been invoked in Little Cayman – according to the Department – to control feral cats threatening endangered native species.

Two animal charities then mounted legal action against the DOA. The case remains an active matter before the court, thus ruling it out as an option in these circumstances, according to the Department.

They were unable to give a precise answer as to how many traps have been laid, calling the situation “fluid” and “prone to change at short notice”.

However, they say they will provide an update following reports coordinated by the Animal Welfare and Control Officers.

Affected residents are urged to attend a meeting on Tuesday (22 January) at the Arts and Recreation Centre at CIS.

About the author

Caroline James

Caroline James

Caroline joined Cayman 27 in September 2018 after seven years working for Sky News in London, both as a Producer on the World News programme and, latterly, as News Editor on the Foreign Desk, where she led coverage on the ground of stories as diverse as the 2016 US Election, corruption allegations surrounding FIFA and The Oscars. Before this, she worked as a Producer for Associated Press Television News (APTN) for two years, based in their London headquarters. Caroline graduated with a BA Hons degree in Arabic, French and German from Durham University, before gaining an MA in Television Journalism with distinction at City University, London. When not hunting down stories in Cayman, she can be found playing tennis, practicing Bikram yoga or enjoying a beer on Seven Mile Beach. You can reach Caroline at carolinejames@hurleysmedia.ky or 326-2243.

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