Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 17th 2014 Contents A26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, October 17, 2014
Probably the most common method of
securing a home and yard in the
Caribbean is for the home owner to
get a dog. Many people love small dogs
especially Pekinese, Pomeranian and terrier
breeds, ascribing to them a high degree of
alertness---plus they like the cuddly look
and feel of these dogs. Certainly the alert-
ness of these breeds is real and they can
be fearless in defending their home.
However, the majority of Caribbean
individuals want large-breed dogs. Their
logic is that the mere size of these dogs
and the deepness of their bark are suffi-
cient to deter any potential intruder.
For many years in the 1970s and 1980s,
the preferred breeds were German Shep-
herd, Doberman Pinscher, and to a lesser
extent, the Labrador. In the 1990s, the
Rottweiler breed became popular. Begin-
ning around 2000, the pit bull became a
Its reputation for fierceness made it
popular, as well as the stories of this
breed being used in dog fights and the
belief that when it bites it does not let go.
It became so popular that breeding was
prolific, causing the price of puppies to
fall. In addition, many cross bred pit bulls
began to be available. With the lower
prices, there was a further spread of the
pit bull breed and many lower-income
people acquired them.
That reputation for fierceness and sto-
ries of unprovoked attacks on both people
and other dogs caused many Caribbean
governments to outlaw the breed and, in
T&T, to impose restrictions.
With the outlawing of pit bulls, the
popularity of Rottweiler and German
Shepherds has risen again and accordingly
There are, however, many people who,
when offered the opportunity to acquire a
pure-bred dog at a low price, do not
question where the dog or puppy came
from and why the price is low. As a
result, the theft of pure-bred puppies is a
In Europe and North America, dogs
often live within the home or apartment
with the owners and are taken for walks
in the evenings and to the park on week-
ends. Indeed, some apartment complexes
advertise themselves as pet-friendly to
encourage dog owners to rent there.
In the Caribbean, however, the prevailing
attitude is that the dog is for outside and
the furthest that it can reach to the inside
of the home is the porch. As a result,
many individuals, upon acquiring a puppy,
immediately place it outside. They may
bring it inside for a short period for the
children to play with but predominantly
the puppy is expected to be outside in the
This attitude is definitely not good for
some breeds of puppies especially Rot-
tweilers, who are susceptible to the Parvo
virus that kills up to 80 per cent of
infected puppies, with the symptoms
including lethargy, severe diarrhoea, fever,
vomiting, loss of appetite and dehydration.
Apart from the health issue however,
leaving young puppies in the yard makes
it very easy for them to be stolen.
A puppy should be kept in an enclosed
space which is cleaned and disinfected
daily, and preferably twice per day. That
enclosed space should be locked to pre-
vent the puppy from wandering out, but,
more importantly, to prevent someone
from easily accessing the puppy.
Some individuals think that simply hav-
ing a kennel and placing a cheap lock
from the hardware is sufficient. That may
be adequate to prevent the opportunistic
thief who is simply walking by and spots
the puppy in the kennel.
Puppies are lovable especially because
they want to be played with and handled.
As a result, when placed in a kennel most
puppies cry and howl because they do not
want to be left alone. Some puppies cry
for a very short period and then cease,
while others howl for an extended period.
That howling is often heard for a far dis-
tance and indicates to everyone that there
is a puppy in the neighbourhood.
Unfortunately, that howling also alerts
the more serious thief to the existence of
a puppy in the area. For a serious thief, a
cheap hardware padlock is not even a
If someone invests in a pure-bred puppy
with the expectation that it will grow into
a large dog that will protect the home and
family, then in the puppy stage of its life
it should be kept in an area within the
home. This area should be barred off to
prevent the puppy from wandering into
other areas of the home and chewing on
More importantly, the puppy should be
left in this area when the family is not at
home so it is not accessible to any thief
during the day or night.
Of course, when the family is at home
the puppy can be let out to run and play
and so strengthen its limbs, but even dur-
ing this time the puppy should be under
supervision to ensure that no one grabs it
and runs away.
An additional protective measure is to
have the puppy permanently identified by
microchip or tattoo and if both are used,
that is even better.
The purchase of a pure-bred puppy can
cost a significant sum but as that puppy
matures it will usually display the traits
that the particular breed is known for.
When it is fully grown it will protect
home and family.
To safeguard that investment, however,
requires taking steps to protect it in the
puppy stage. It may be more work for the
owner initially, but the payoff comes in
the later years when the owner has a for-
midable guard dog.
The Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety provides training and
development to organisations and indi-
viduals in many facets of security, law
enforcement and public safety. Contact
223-6999 or info@caribbeansecurityinsti-
- Who will compensate if
lives are lost to Ebola?
Can money appease or compensate for
loss of a loved one? How much money
will the average Trini value their loved one
at? Will this country retain its attractive-
ness as a carnival destination if come post-
Carnival 2015 thousands of locals and
foreign tourists become infected with the
deadly Ebola virus while in this country?
Will fete promoters and bandleaders or
the Government or the business chambers
of commerce compensate potential Ebola
cases? That is, if people become stricken
with the disease during the 2015 Carnival
Pot calling kettle corrupt?
Maxie Cuffie, in his last PNM missive,
describes the current administration
as the most corrupt and incompetent in
the country's history. Well, after approxi-
mately 40 years of PNM corruption and
nepotism I wonder where he has been ex-
cept that he was always under the PNM
umbrella and saw the nepotism of Patrick
Manning as "normal" when his wife was
appointed minister of education.
I wonder what the country would say if
Kamla made her husband Minister of Plan-
The PNM from Williams onward has
been corrupt; they have a PhD in corruption
and this country and this whole society
have learned from them---a situation that I
doubt can be reversed. As a matter of fact
it will only continue and become more so-
Gordon Dalla Costa
PROTECT YOUR PUPPY FROM THEFT
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