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Animals Alive lobbies Govt to protect strays
As the furore continues over the destruction of hundreds of baby turtles and hatchlings at Grande Riviere, the group Animals Alive has sent a proposal to the People’s Partnership Government about the protection of a similar number of stray dogs and cats. The proposal was sent to the Minister of Land Resources and Housing, Dr Roodal Moonilal in an e-mail yesterday. It was first submitted to Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma.
However, Animals Alive has complained that nothing was being done to stop the wanton abandonment of animals, including dangerous pit bulls. Most of the pit bulls were let loose after Attorney General Anand Ramlogan announced that owners of three categories of dogs would face the brunt of the law if they did not abide by the Dangerous Dogs Act, which is currently under review.
Vice-president of Animals Alive, Jowelle De Souza, said the group was now hopeful that Moonilal would take their proposal to Cabinet. The proposal suggests that Government use its public relations machinery to generate awareness about the issue as well as pass laws to ensure that pet owners spay, neuter and care for their pets.
The group also wants Government to donate land for another sanctuary in Central Trinidad. De Souza said many dogs are dumped there, so it was important to have another facility there. The proposal also requests that Government partner with Animals Alive to use dogs for rehabilitation purposes.
“All we want is public awareness about training and handling dogs. It is common knowledge that animals are used across the world to reform prisoners,” she said. Animals Alive runs a sanctuary at Ralph Narine Trace, South Oropouche but it is filled to capacity with over 400 dogs. De Souza said over 230 dogs were dumped within recent times. She said group members spend about $35,000 a month looking after the dogs. Four workers are employed and each is paid between $3,000 and $4,000 a month.
“We spend money out of our own pockets to care for the animals, and it is disheartening that so much people are continuing to abandon their dogs,” De Souza said. She also said that since Bechtel International left T&T, no corporate sponsors have come on board to help reduce the stray dog population. Moonilal has given a commitment to review the group’s proposal, saying controlling the stray animal population was an important issue.
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