Warning if cruising the Caribbean with pets

Published 8 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Dear Noonsite,

Your website has been a great help to us in planning and executing our Caribbean cruising.

We were hoping that you might be able to add a word of warning to those cruising with dogs about the poison that is left out, apparently to protect sheep and goats from wild dogs and opossums, from St. Vincent all through to Grenada.

We arrived on Carriacou on July 10th.

Nine days and five days of suffering later, our beloved dog, Jack, died from eating poison.  If we had known this bit of information, he would undoubtedly still be alive.

Grenada -cruising dog Jack who died from poisoning in Grenada
Cruising dog Jack who died from poisoning in Grenada

Jack’s Story

We were walking in a rural area when Jack started salivating and stumbling.  I went to the only house around and the owner, Kevin, came right away.  He knew that Jack had gotten into poison.  Apparently, it is commonly used here to kill opossums and iguanas and keep dogs away from sheep and goats.

He immediately started pouring a strong sugar water solution into his mouth as a treatment that he has known to work.  By the time his wife, Susanne, came with the pickup truck to take us into town, Jack was having full blown seizures.

As soon as we arrived at the Carriacou Animal Hospital in Hillsborough, Jack was given atropine, a partial antidote to the most commonly used poison, and the seizures stopped.  His temperature was through the roof and he was totally spent from the prolonged seizures.  He was admitted and put on an IV.

Four more days of IVs and constant care followed.

We took Jack to a small apartment near the harbour, which the Grenadan veterinary nurse arranged for us.  Jim and I cared for him constantly, keeping his IV going and keeping him as cool as possible.  The veterinarian did house calls to check on him and deliver more medications.  Everyone at this tiny non-profit hospital, run by Shurlene, the nurse, and Kathy, an expat from Indiana, was so very compassionate and competent.  After a brief 12 hours of apparent improvement, Jack became weak and painful.  Early on the fifth morning, we arranged to take him to the hospital and he died in the car.

Fitzroy, the dog-loving owner of the apartment we rented, offered for us to bury Jack in his yard under the oleanders, which we did this morning.  There are already several other graves there.  A testament to how many island dogs have suffered the same fate.

A widespread problem

We have talked to several locals about this since.  They believe that the sugar water solution neutralises the poison.  There is another kind of poison that animals only have to sniff at deeply and it will kill them much faster.  We were told of another cruising couple who had their dog on a short leash and he sniffed this poison and died quickly.  He is in Fitzroy’s garden, too.  Kathy from the Carriacou Animal Hospital told us that just before we arrived, about 5 dogs ate poison right on the beach in Tyrell Bay.

We were on Union Island for a morning since and saw a big sign on the fledgeling animal shelter there about how it is illegal to poison dogs, probably a reference to the law in the petition.  I asked them how widespread this problem is, and they said there is poison all through the Grenadines from St. Vincent to Grenada, anywhere where there are roaming sheep and goats.

We heard a warning on the Cruisers’ Net this morning about poison on Hog Island near Grenada.

We don’t want to discourage people from coming to Carriacou or the Grenadines with their pets.  It is a beautiful island with a lot to offer: great anchorages, good services, friendly people and low crime.  We are so grateful to all those who selflessly came to our aid.  We just want cruisers to be aware of the potential for poison and take appropriate care with their dogs.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Thank you for helping us to spread the word.

Corinna and Jim Barry

SV Ixion

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  1. January 26, 2024 at 6:18 PM
    Jolly Roger says:

    This problem has only gotten worse over the years since this report. At least these guys are trying to do something about it by giving the problem more publicity:

  2. May 23, 2022 at 1:37 AM
    lydiatan says:

    I’m completely heartbroken reading your report. My sincerest condolences to you and your family.

    Dana, I agree with you that Caribbean people has a lack of respect for animals and dogs in particular. I’m in Martinique and I’ve had people thrown sand at my dog and just today a guy thew a huge rock at my dog. I’m lucky it didn’t hit her and she has an amazing recall. I’ve been given all the look of disgust when walking my dog on the leash! It saddens me how these beautiful countries are destroyed by people who just litters beer bottles everywhere.

  3. June 6, 2019 at 11:47 AM
    danacook05 says:

    This is absolutely heart breaking to hear. I am so saddened for you going through this traumatic experience and for your loss of Jack. Also heartbroken for us as I have been so looking forward to getting to Grenada and hoping for some great land time with our dogs. I guess it will be six more months of swimming off the boat for them and no beach time. What I don’t understand is why poison the beaches? Are they targeting visiting pets? Why poison at all? Doesn’t the poison pose a risk for the goats and sheep they are tying to “save” from the dogs and iguanas? I’m so over the mindset the Caribbean people have in regards to animals and their lack of respect for them.