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Owner of pitbulls can be charged—AG
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says the owner of the three pitbulls which mauled Sylvia Roberts, 84, to death yesterday can be charged in her death, although President Anthony Carmona has not yet given word to make the Dogs Control Bill law. The dogs belong to Roberts’ 43-year-old son, who lives at her Tunapuna home. In an interview at his Cabildo Chambers office, Port-of-Spain, shortly after the incident yesterday, Ramlogan said it would still be possible to lay charges once Carmona made it law.
“When it becomes law that will be a possibility,” Ramlogan told the T&T Guardian. He recalled saying in last week’s Senate debate on the Dogs Control Bill that if another grandmother was killed by a pitbull, her blood would be on the hands of the Opposition. The Opposition and some Independent senators voted against the legislation, which was later passed. The AG claimed, however, the Opposition attempted to delay passage of the legislation.
Ramlogan said yesterday’s incident had vindicated the Government in its position on dangerous dogs and called on dog lovers and animal activists to speak out now. “You never hear from them when these things happen,” Ramlogan said. He dismissed the claim by some that pitbulls only attacked people because of neglect or bad treatment. Ramlogan said the latest incident should put that false notion to rest.
“Pitbulls are unpredictable and have a demonstrated propensity for violent attacks and that is why the legislation is breed-specific,” he said. The AG said he could not accept calls from the Opposition to table legislation to treat other dogs, including pompeks and “pothounds”, on par with pitbulls. “There is no empirical evidence to justify such a policy decision and the Government is very firm in its stance that breed-specific legislation targeting pitbulls is very necessary,” Ramlogan said.
The minister said citizens were being advised against allowing a dangerous animal to be a threat to their lives. “We cannot allow the tail to wag the dog in this matter,” he insisted. In response to fears that owners would abandon their dogs due to the law, Ramlogan said dog pounds had the capacity to handle the intake of the animals.