Man seen in video beating dog gets $5000 bail after charged with animal cruelty

A snippet from one of the videos in which the man was seen beating a dog with a piece of wood

The man seen in viral videos on social media beating a dog was charged for the offence of animal cruelty contrary to Section 176 (1) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Twenty-two-year-old Johnathan Layne, who was arrested last Saturday by the Police at his West Ruimveldt, Georgetown home, was given $5000 bail after entering a not-guilty plea.

Layne’s case has been postponed until March 15.

According to that section of the Act, a person guilty of an offence of cruelty shall be liable to a fine of not less than $7,500 nor more than $15,000 and to imprisonment for six months.

With the assistance of the Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA), Police were able to track down Layne after the tough-to-watch videos first surfaced on Facebook, prompting several people to reach out to the Police and animal welfare organisations.

In one of two short videos which were shared dozens of times on the app, a man, believed to be Layne, was seen beating a dog with a piece of wood. In the other video, the person was seen punching the animal, which was hanging by the neck from a rope, in the face.

The man was also seen speaking to the animal.

The incident of animal cruelty also caught the attention of the Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar who also reposted the two videos on his Facebook page with the caption: “This incident of animal cruelty was sent to me by a heartbroken citizen…the Police acted and the abuser was caught and arrested. The dog was rescued.”

The dog was examined by a vet and is in the care of GSPCA’s shelter. Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Tails of Hope – Animal Rescue has extended gratitude to the GSPCA for its relentless efforts in animal welfare in Guyana. It also thanked the Minister for assisting in the apprehension of the alleged mastermind behind the act of animal cruelty.

In November 2021, a Lancaster Village, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD) man was fined $20,000 by a Magistrate after he pleaded guilty to killing a cat. Raymond Waldron called “Tongue Man” admitted that in November 2021, at Lancaster Village, he unlawfully and maliciously killed the animal.

He was arrested after animal rights activist, Syeada Manbodh of the GSPCA went to the Mahaica Police Station and reported that Waldron had killed the animal. While at the station, she provided the Police with a photograph of a cat hanging on a metal gate.  As such, Police ranks went to Walrond’s home and arrested him.

“I chop the cat cause he kill nuff ah me chicken, me didn’t intend to kill it,” Waldron had told the Police under caution.  In the end, Magistrate Fabayo Azore sentenced him to pay a fine of $20,000 or in default serve two weeks’ imprisonment for the crime.

A letter penned by animal rescue volunteer, Anurama Ramgobin which was published in Sunday’s edition of Guyana Times has called on Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn to commence training Police ranks to deal with reports of animal cruelty and abuse.

“Oftentimes we witness some of the vilest acts of cruelty meted out to animals, both companion and food animals, without any repercussions from the responsible authorities.”

According to the letter writer, when reports of animal cruelty are made to the Police, they are “either not taken seriously or not taken at all”. In light of this, Ramgobin related that he is inclined to believe that some Police officers are not au fait with the Animal Welfare Act, while others are oblivious to its existence. Ample research, Ramgobin noted, backs up the findings that there is a direct link between acts of cruelty to animals and violence towards humans; this includes domestic violence, abuse of the elderly, and other violent behaviours.

He expressed that animal cruelty must be taken seriously under the law.

“No form of abuse should be tolerated. Help us to help the voiceless,” pleaded Ramgobin.