The Dangerous Dogs legislation will be revamped, taking into consideration the need for dogs as protection in the current crime climate as well as the need for the public to be protected from "bad" dogs, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has said. Ramlogan confirmed that Cabinet yesterday held discussions on revamping the legislation following the killing of security officer Denise Rackal by several pit bulls owned by a policeman at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas, on Monday. Rackal had been walking to her job site at 6 am when she was set upon by the pack of dogs which had escaped from the officer's yard.
Despite trying to defend herself, Rackal was mauled to death, with her throat and brain ripped open. Onlookers, including a policeman, claimed they could do nothing to save her. Family members of the policeman, who attempted to call off the dogs, failed to control them or get them to halt the attack on Rackal.
A lobby is now being mounted by members of the Edinburgh neighbourhood to get the officer to stop breeding pit bulls, following Rackal's killing and previous attacks by the dogs on other people. There has been an increasing number of pitbull attacks-killings and maulings-in the last year all over T&T. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday expressed horror at Rackal's death.
Yesterday, Ramlogan said he was putting together a team to review the Dangerous Dogs Act in consultation with animal rights and women's rights groups as well as other stakeholders. He agreed there must be input from other sectors of the public including victims and/or their relatives. Ramlogan said the former Dangerous Dogs Act was considered too onerous and would have led to a decrease in the number of people keeping such dogs. "My aim is to strike the right balance for people to keep such pets and also in the context of the current crime situation and to ensure the situation is proportionate with the need for public safety and for people to be able to walk the streets free from fear," Ramlogan said.
Ramlogan said he had received information from a womens' rights group on the issue. He noted: "Many single women and career women keep dogs for security purposes." Ramlogan said the legislation should be ready by the end of the current Parliament session (in June) or early in the next session after August.