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DoA on Dog Poisonings

Pet owners can take steps to keep their animals safe, by keeping them on a leash when outside and not letting them roam.

—DoA Animal Welfare Officer Margaret Baldino

The Department of Agriculture (DoA) has become aware of a number of recent, apparent poisonings of dogs in the South Sound area. The Department takes such reports very seriously and any such deliberate act of animal cruelty is an offense under the Animals Law (2003 revision).

"The public can be assured that the DoA's Animal Welfare Officer is working closely with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to vigorously investigate this situation," Mr. Adrian Estwick, Director of the Department of Agriculture stated, "and if any evidence of deliberate cruelty is discovered, the DoA will seek to prosecute."

To date the causal agent has not been confirmed in any of the cases.

"Pet owners can take steps to keep their animals safe, by keeping them on a leash when outside and not letting them roam," DoA Animal Welfare Officer Margaret 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."

"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," Mr. Estwick stated. "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 and the Ministry are 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 a goal of the Ministry and the DoA.