In Cayman, abuse of animals is a crime and serious penalties apply if prosecuted. The Government employs Animal Welfare Officers who will investigate animal cruelty, apprehend an individual and prosecute if necessary.
What qualifies as animal abuse?
The Animal Law (2015 Revision) Section 70(1) states that a person who intentionally makes an animal unnecessarily suffer, works an unfit animal, administers poison to an animal, operates on an animal without due care and humanity or tethers, confines an animal as to cause unnecessary suffering or abandons an animal, commits an offense of animal cruelty and is liable for prosecution.
Examples of animal cruelty include:
- Physical abuse – tight collars causing neck wounds, open wounds or signs of wounds not being treated, extreme thinness, discharge from nose or eyes, patchy or matted coat, owner hitting or otherwise physically abusing animal (dragging animal on leash)
- Environmental abuse – inadequate food, water or shelter, exposure to extreme heat, locked in a hot car, kept in area with faeces or garbage or other potentially harmful objects, kept in confined area where they are unable to stand, turn around or make normal movements (i.e. horses in small spaces)
- Animal abandonment – intentionally and recklessly leaving an animal at a location without providing minimum care
- Malicious poisoning – poisoning or exposing the animal to a toxic environment
- Organised cruelty – dogfighting, cockfighting and other forms of organised animal cruelty
- Other types – Ritual abuse (animals mutilated/sacrificed for religious purposes), bestiality or sexual abuse of an animal
What to do if you suspect animal abuse?
Assess if the abuse can be stopped immediately and whether you can safely intervene.
If you are able to get photographs or videos do so as this will be useful evidence.
If you are aware that animal abuse has occurred, report it to the Department of Agriculture (DOA) (Tel: (345) 947 3090) immediately.
If you wish to remain anonymous, call the Humane Society (Tel: (345) 949 1461) who will then report the abuse to the Department of Agriculture. The Humane Society will then follow up to ascertain the outcome of the investigation.