It is absolutely scandalous that successive governments, institutions and people of this country have allowed dogs, aided and abetted by their owners, to kill and seriously injure people while all that is done is that many people get on the radio and television talk shows and bark their disapproval. Equally appalling is the fact that the Dangerous Dogs Bill was passed by the Parliament in 2000 to force restrictions on dogs and their owners and 11 years later the legislation has not been assented to. And it is noted here this is not the fault of His Excellency the President, who is required to sign off on all legislation, but because of narrow political quibbling. The population needs to make it clear to politicians of their responsibility, and this has nothing to do with which party the individual decides to stain his/her finger for on election day. But then again perhaps these are the kinds of very functional needs that citizens should take into consideration when deciding which political party is deserving of their vote.
Here are a few unthinking, uncaring people and their savage uncontrolled dogs placing everyone who has to walk the streets under siege and the authorities do nothing.
Against the background of the most recent vicious attacks, from the Prime Minister down and certainly representatives of the people on both sides of the political divide are under the most severe requirement to do something immediately about the threat posed to human life by dangerous dogs. Surely the pattern can't go on of everyone being agitated for the proverbial nine days in the face of a couple episodes of dogs killing and maiming people, including defenceless children, and then-after a couple of weeks of screaming and shouting and owners of the vicious dogs saying "sorry"-we go back to sleep and await the next outburst. As Parliament sits today, as the Cabinet met yesterday, legislators and administrators must show they care enough to do a number of things-and immediately-to have the legislation become law. But most of all, the day after the passage of the bill, the Government must have in place the mechanisms required to operationalise the law. It cannot be that we allow dog owners and their trainers to be barking at the rest of the society in contempt as they walk their animals out in public without the slightest concern for the safety of others.
The requirements of the law such as a muzzle, a strong leash and an equally able and responsible individual holding and guiding the animal must be observed. So too must dog owners have their premises very well barricaded to prevent their animals from getting loose and attacking individuals going about their lawful business. It is however recognised that in the world of today, people on their premises must be entitled to have protection for themselves and their property by having guard dogs, but they must do so in a responsible manner. Those who would invade the premises of others with no good intention would certainly have to face the consequences of their actions. But for citizens in the normal course of their lives in public spaces, they have every right to expect to do so without having to worry about the next attack dog. The authorities also need to do something about the importation and breeding of these dangerous animals. And if the 2000 legislation is not strong enough, then implement the Act and make the required amendments. But beyond the law, dog owners should take it upon themselves, in the face of the recent deadly assaults on people, to become responsible owners. No law should be needed for an individual to decide that he/she cannot put the life and limb of others at risk through their careless attitudes.