Anonymous Crusade to Stop Dog Poisoning in Carriacou

In the south Caribbean is the tiny island of Carriacou which is part of Grenada.

The population of a few thousand are very friendly and Carriacou's Paradise Beach has recently been voted the best beach in the Caribbean for 2024 by USA Today.

So what is not to love about living here?

Beneath the surface of this tropical idyll is a secret the authorities are keen to keep hidden, fearing it will damage tourism and commerce.

Carriacou literally means ‘island of reefs’ but each year, hundreds of pet and feral dogs are deliberately poisoned, leading some people to rename the island: ‘island of grief’.

This dreadful practise causes such angst that responsible owners no longer feel they can exercise their pets. Potential visitors who find out, stay away denying the island valuable income from leisure and commerce. And those who have seen their beloved pet die terribly are so traumatised they cannot imagine owning an animal again.

So let us examine what is going on.

The island has almost no crime and yet the poisoning of dogs is illegal in Grenadian law with stiff penalties.

But where people mostly know one another, the police never take action. Cases brought with forensic evidence are literally laughed at by the constabulary.

Almost everyone is related, so the police could be convicting a relative — but this is not the root of the problem. How can the law be enforced when the police are suspected of often being the perpetrators?

This explains how ahead of important events the numbers of 'pesky' dogs are conveniently ‘reduced.’ And most islanders know exactly who gets recruited to do the poisoning.

Why is such barbarism tolerated?

Any small population requires tolerance for family and society cohesion.

Family cohesion means not rocking the boat within your family while society cohesion would be disrupted by reporting someone because family feuds would easily happen.

But why poison dogs

Yes there are a few feral dogs but these skinny creatures are mostly as laid back as the humans they live among and they are rarely a nuisance. They are more likely to get run over sleeping in the road than bite anyone.

Justification for poisoning assumes that when hungry these dogs will kill a goat or sheep.
But little evidence exists for this and the reality is rather different.

Some islanders keep large dogs for status which are kept tied up all day and let out to roam at night. It has been noticed these aggressive dogs often take animals …and then the placid feral dogs get the blame.

Adding to the problem, farmers hardly ever keep their herds properly fenced as they should by law but let them wander freely in public spaces.

Action to get farmers to contain their animals is not enforced, so they continue to let livestock roam.

It was thought humanely reducing feral dog numbers by spaying and neutering would be a remedy but this needs manpower plus feral dogs are not generally the problem.

Many ask why should livestock be allowed to wander freely in public but dogs are somehow a problem? The same people conclude if livestock were contained then the problem would be solved by tackling any problem dogs within the grazing fields.

The poison

Bait laced with a toxic insecticide called Lannate is laid and kills anything that eats, licks or sniffs it.

Lannate is so toxic that it is banned or controlled in the EU, UK and China. But such controls on Carriacou where life is carefree are considered unworkable.

Dogs are easy to target and suffer indescribably as once the poison is ingested almost nothing can be done to save them.

You can see many horrific videos on the Facebook page of Carriacou Animal Hospital trying to save poisoned dogs — search for #poison.

Stupidly, the poison is never marked to alert responsible pet owners and is often placed in public areas where children play with conspicuous disregard for human safety.

Plus local seabirds and reptiles equally fall victim.

But the flawed and pointless practice rarely kills any problem dog and instead wreaks havoc among responsible owners exercising their pets.

How bad is the problem?

Exact figures on poisoned dogs are not kept because nobody wants to draw attention to it. However, by talking to the vets and checking social media a good estimate is between 250 and 500 poisoned dogs per year.

The cost is borne in human, commercial, financial and repetitional terms.

Human cost

Given the number of poisonings, with it being laid in public places, it is very likely a child will have been accidentally poisoned. But locals would not know the symptoms of a poisoning. Hence the seizures and fitting they might see can be dismissed as epilepsy.

Unlike a dog, a child would rarely ingest sufficient poison to kill them but they can easily get enough poison on their hands by disposing of poisoned bait to cause them serious harm. But any accidental child poisoning would be covered up because the perpetrators act like a mafia.

Financial cost

Treating poisoned animals uses up massive amounts of scarce and valuable veterinary supplies at the animal hospital.

Just $5 of Lannate can kill 10 dogs but each poisoned animal can consume $500 worth of drugs being treated.

Commercial cost

Carriacou has a buoyant marine trade with lots of safe anchorage. But many 'yachties' who also keep dogs sensibly choose to moor or haul-out elsewhere. Carriacou's 'secret' spreads easily in this close-knit yachting community.

Reputation cost/damage

This Tripadvisor post was made several years ago illustrating the concern.

If you'd rather see cocktails and sunsets than canine corpses you would obviously visit elsewhere.

What is the motivation for such barbarism?

Trying to understand the motivation for poisoning dogs is very difficult.

Yes the farmers think they are protecting their herds or flocks but the scale of this problem — an occasional killed baby animal or some worried livestock — is totally disproportionate to the scale of their perceived solution which is indiscriminate and illegal poisoning.

But farmers need to take more responsibility for protecting their livestock by keeping them penned. Their animals often cause damage to property or crops whilst roaming free and present a road traffic hazard.

You might imagine it being a brutal clash of enlightened culture versus medieval thinking or stemming from historic prejudices.

But these are mere excuses for something that mostly looks purely sadistic. It’s seems obvious there is a small group who just hate dogs and are determined to continue killing them.

And yet very many local people and children love their dogs and these numbers are increasing as are those who want to see something done.

Failure has led to an escalation

Failure by the police and political leaders to address the problem has allowed poisoning to become endemic and it has now even become weaponised.

Weaponised in that poisoning someone's dog (or having it poisoned ) can be done as a cowardly punishment against the person or against their dog.

Proof lies in many stories where poisoned bait has been thrown over a fence into the property of a person singled out for punishment. Given the likelihood of retribution it is easy to how this behaviour escalates?

Has anything ever been done?

Over many years various things have been tried to draw attention to the problem or bring about action. All efforts have come to nothing.

In 2015 this petition:

gained over twelve hundred signatures — a significant number compared to the island’s population. But the petition made no difference at all.

Every local knows someone who has had a dog killed. But they shrug and say: “But what can be done?” showing it’s become a way of life.


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Behold then: Irates of the Caribbean

We are a small group of concerned and irate islanders who have taken it upon ourselves to do something forming this action group.

Our action is risky so the group have to remain secret because drawing attention runs the risk of retribution.

What is planned?

If you are reading this you can be part of the solution. The more awareness we can generate, the more pressure it will put on authorities to take action especially if tourism and the islands’ reputation are adversely affected.

What can you do?

There are five different ways you can personally make a difference shown on our help page.

Help Us

Hope for the future

There is hope because the poisoners are getting old and dying out though maybe not nearly quickly enough.

With this issue being raised in classroom debates, the upcoming generation are better educated and are fostering a very different more positive attitude towards dogs.


Anyone considering visiting Carriacou with their pet should stay away until the authorities have sorted out this dreadful problem.