(CMR) The alarm has been raised that all K-9 dogs are in danger of being severely neglected by their current handlers. K-9 Baron died after being left in a cage for the day without food and water as the department head Sgt. Keron Davis was off island.
He left Tim McLaughlin in charge of watching the dogs. He was seen alive early in the morning and when they checked on him in the late evening, he was dead. McLaughlin is a new recruit with about 3 months of experience with the unit and was put in charge of the dogs at Central Police Station.
The kennels have an inside and outside section so that when it's being cleaned, they go to the exterior section. Sources shared the cleaners were afraid of the dogs and he put them on the outside and then went about his day and did not come back to check on them until late in the evening.
Sgt. Keron Davis is the instructor in charge of K-9 unit department and is in charge of training and certification of the officers.
CMR has discovered that the head of the K-9 expressed wanting to put down a 5-year-old dog because he is uncomfortable with him. The dog died on Saturday, July 9, likely from heat exhaustion.
The dog's death was not announced by the RCIPS but instead was only disclosed after CNS inquired about the incident. They now confirm that the matter had been referred to the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare and Control Unit, which is overseeing the investigation.
No one has been placed on leave while the investigation is ongoing.
In most jurisdictions, K-9 dogs have the same rank as field officers and earn the same recognition, including a hero's burial. It does not appear that the RCIPS has any of those standard operational components in place.
The loss of K-9 dog Baron is being felt around the Cayman community after it was revealed Tuesday that the dog died last month. Reports are that the Belgian shepherd's handler placed him in an exterior cage without food or water.
This incident has highlighted what some are saying is an ongoing issue of negligence of the police canine dogs and inadequate training for the handlers. CMR understands that three senior handlers were removed from the unit in February, leaving officers with less field experience.
The remaining dogs are said to be exhibiting serious signs of stress, including jitters.
Many angry persons took to both social media and contacted CMR about what they say is the ongoing negligence of the dogs in the unit. There are now only 3 remaining dogs, with one slated for retirement later this year. The remaining K-9 dogs are around 4-5 years old, with two of those being general purpose dogs that assist in the field.
Baron's former handler, Maggie Baldino took to social media to express her shock at hearing the distressing news.
The three remaining dogs are Shadow (7), Athena (4) and Inca (4). The dogs are brought in from the UK and are believed to costs upwards of $100,000 inclusive of 6-7 months of specialty tactical training. According to the police website, the K-9 Unit falls under Specialist Operations, which is headed up by Superintendent Brad Ebanks.