An animal-rights activist and rescuer is threatening to take the San Fernando City Corporation to court over the capture of a stray dog, named Ginger, by the corporation’s canine control unit, and its eventual euthanisation by a veterinarian.
A pre-action protocol letter was sent on Thursday by attorneys for Kavita Basdeo – the rescuer, and Teeluckdharry Boodram, the owner of Glen’s Alignment Services – where Ginger and another dog, Mary, were allowed to stay.
Attorneys Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul, Jason Jones, Amy Rajkumar and Vidal Pooran are representing the two, who have given instructions to file a negligence claim against the corporation over Ginger’s death.
Pooran, who wrote the letter, said the two dogs were allowed to stay on Glen’s premises around August 2022.
On August 11, the corporation’s canine unit captured Ginger at a drug store next to Glen’s on Naparima Mayaro Road. An attempt to catch Mary was unsuccessful.
Half an hour later, Basdeo and Boodram tried to locate Ginger. On Lady Hailes Avenue, they saw the canine unit’s vehicle and were told the drug mart called the pound, and the dogs were picked up and taken to King’s Wharf since they do not “put down healthy-looking dogs like that.”
The two continued their search for Ginger but were unsuccessful. They eventually returned to the canine control unit to find out exactly where the dog was released.
They were directed to the WASA compound near the wharf. They went there but could not find the dog.
Later that day, they confirmed the corporation had taken Ginger to a veterinarian to be euthanised.
Pooran said since Ginger’s death, Basdeo has faced “overwhelming emotional and/or psychiatric difficulty,” and has had to take time from work while being prescribed medication used to treat depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Two requests for information on the policy used by the unit to capture stray dogs were sought and were eventually told, in September and December 2022, that a complaint was received about two stray dogs but no investigation was done in relation to Ginger or any dog caught on August 11.
They were also told just 90 minutes after being caught, Ginger was taken to a veterinary clinic for euthanisation.
Pooran quoted the provisions of section 6 of the Dogs Act, and the corporation’s statutory duty as it relates to the capture of stray animals.
The corporation was accused of failing to detain Ginger at a place of detention for five days before euthanisation; failing to keep a proper register; failing to take measures to determine if the animal was sick, maimed or posed a threat to public safety, refusing to protect Ginger’s welfare; and failing to local Ginger’s owner before destroying the dog.
“As a result of the proposed defendant’s brazen negligence, the proposed claimants have suffered and continue to suffer psychiatric injury and/or emotional loss and/or deprivation of the therapeutic and/or emotional support and enjoyment of Ginger and/or inconvenience.”
The legal letter also said the corporation was aware or ought to be aware that animals, including pets, from time to time may escape their abode and owed the public a duty f care to ensure when an animal strays from its owner’s property, the animal is not “maliciously and/or arbitrarily or otherwise killed and/or harmed at the hands of the proposed defendant unless reasonably justified.”
The corporation was given until February 10 to engage in discussions with the two to amicably resolve the issue without it having to reach the courts.
Ginger’s plight evoked strong condemnation from animal lovers at the time and a Facebook page was set up in the dog’s memory. The page, Ginger Deserves Justice, continues to be used as a platform for stray animals and rescuers.