Animal rights advocate Jowelle De Souza wants the Government to establish an animal police unit to enforce mandatory spaying and neutering of stray animals across T&T.
Speaking at a press conference held at her salon in San Fernando on Monday, De Souza said there should be stiffer penalties for those ill-treating animals. De Souza called on Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to assist in reducing T&T’s stray animal population by establishing such a unit.
“Animal welfare must be a nationwide effort and should be done in collaboration with the NGO’s throughout T&T. We call upon the respective ministers to take charge and assist us with building a new and improved country where all animals are given a right to live in dignity,” De Souza said.
She welcomed the suggestion by Rural and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein to build seven animal pounds across the country. De Souza said these pounds should be managed as animal shelters. In an interview, Hosein agreed that spaying and neutering of stray animals should be mandatory. He said once the pounds are set up an adoption drive will be established in conjunction with various NGO’s
“We are in the process of acquiring funds to begin construction of the San Fernando pound,” Hosein added.
De Souza said the State should “employ caretakers and staff to feed, clean and sanitise the shelters. There should also be an adoption programme. Pounds should not be kill institutions.”
Contacted for comment, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said it was the first time he was hearing of De Souza’s proposals.
“I would be happy to discuss with the stakeholders. In 2016, I referred some aspects of animal care to the Zoological Society of T&T for attention and the current draft Animal Health Bill includes some aspects of care for animal well-being. These proposals are welcomed as they deal with domesticated animals,” Rambharat added.