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Dangerous dogs only one part of problem

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Animals Alive believes that the Dangerous Dogs Act is skewed and by being breed specific will lead to the needless demise of three breeds of dogs. It completely ignores the overwhelming need to improve the welfare of dogs and improve owner responsibility on the whole in this country. Dangerous dogs are only one part of the problem. Why didn’t the Office of the Attorney General listen when stakeholders spoke out at public consultations? Now we have to protest that the law be amended before being proclaimed and still wait ( I hope not in vain) for another act that deals with responsible dog ownership? What intelligent people wanted was a dog act that comprehensively dealt with the role and responsibility of dog ownership that would benefit dogs, owners and the innocent public. We want penalties to be imposed on ignorant, irresponsible and incompetent own- ers. 
The dog act would contain clauses that deal with dangerous dogs, cruelty to dogs, neglect, procreation limitations to reduce over-populations and unwanted litters, and the general humane treatment of dogs. The Summary Offences Act of the 1950s is so outdated that it is almost defunct and dogs have little or no protection from dangerous owners. As far as this act is concerned, we agree with the licence and the registration and even the insurance (will be unaffordable for some) but not the mandatory spaying with the intention of eradicating the breeds. We do not agree with having the minister deem breeds as dangerous. That is arbitrary and ridiculous.
More over, dogs should be identified as dangerous by their traits, not breed. As a civil society we should craft laws that protect humans and dogs. Is identifying a breed easier than measuring traits? It is a fact that there are dangerous pot hounds, Rottweilers etc. Remember the so-called devil dog of Point Fortin (who really was no devil). If such dogs attack humans, their owners have no fines to pay or jail terms to face? Come now, Mr AG, this was a poor effort. We are evolving and you need to think more about drafting laws that are relevant to a civil society and not just produce what amounts to a knee-jerk reactions.
Kathryn Cleghorn
Animals Alive


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