Front Page
June 13, 2008
Domestic worker mauled by employer’s dogs

by Viclene Matthews 13.JUNE.08

Tragedy struck in the Marriaqua valley last Friday, June 6, when Althea Cato was allegedly attacked by four of her employer’s dogs, resulting in her death.{{more}}

Cato, a domestic worker, was found dead by another employee on the compound of her employer, Rupert Minors, of Cane End. Reports suggest that she was savagely mauled by the four animals.

The mother of three had been working with the Minors for close to 15 years. Her grief-stricken daughter Susan Cato told SEARCHLIGHT that on Fridays her mother would go to the Minors’ home to wash and sometimes clean.

On the fateful morning, Althea left home at about 6:30 a.m. to accompany her youngest child Maxine to catch a bus for school, before she journeyed to work.

Susan, an employee at CLICO, said that she received the tragic news while at work. She said that before she left for work, she heard a rumour that a dog ‘bite up a man’, and found it to be rather sad.

The distressed young woman said that while at work “I just had a bad gut feeling little before my sister’s Principal called”. But before the Principal could reach Susan’s office to relate the sad news, a cousin called and confirmed what she had suspected.

“No, don’t tell me, don’t tell me,” she cried as her cousin recounted the incident. Susan said she visited the morgue, and when she saw the bites on her mother’s mauled body, she could not begin to imagine what she went through. Susan lamented that her mother’s face was “eat up… like one of she eye damage, one hand like it come off, she neck, so much a bite and blood. The hair off she head come off, yo seeing the white,” she continued.

Althea’s youngest daughter, Maxine Cato, a fourth form student at the Bishop’s College, would miss her mother’s presence the most, because they had an extremely close relationship. Maxine could hardly utter a sound or hold back the constant flow of tears down her cheeks. “Mummy, Mummy,” Maxine cried.

Evelyn Cato, mother of the deceased, told Searchlight that when she got the news of the death of her only daughter, she placed her hand on her Bible and asked God to “keep and strengthen me”. She said that she is a ‘pressure patient’ and wants to take it calmly.

Susan told Searchlight that it’s unfortunate her mother became a victim of a “tragic and gruesome death”, but she is now trying to be strong for herself, and most importantly for her younger sister Maxine.

According to the Police Public Relations Department, Althea Cato is the only person on record to have died from a dog attack in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

At press time, three of the dogs were being housed at a private kennel. Searchlight understands that the fourth dog was put down on Monday night after it escaped police custody while being transported to the kennel.

Rupert Minors, owner of the property on which the incident allegedly occurred, is out of state, and his son Jason declined our invitation to comment on the manner.

Over the course of two days, Searchlight made numerous calls to the police and other authorities trying to ascertain what will be the fate of the dogs. The only person willing to comment was Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Inspector Ballantyne, who told Searchlight that “the authorities” and the vets will be the ones to decide what will happen to the animals.