Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 24th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 24, 2013
Because of a lack of space, pit
bulls handed over to the T&T Soci-
ety for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals (TTSPCA) will be
In a telephone interview on Friday,
president of the TTSPCA Sita
Kuruvilla said this option was the
She is discouraging people from
abandoning their dogs on the streets
because they would suffer from star-
vation and abuse.
According to Kuruvilla and Nalini
Dial, president of Animals are
Human Too, which focuses on stray
dogs and animal abuse, people have
taken to abandoning their dogs,
especially pit bulls, in light of the
proposed Dog Control Bill presented
by Attorney General Anand Ram-
logan in Parliament last Monday.
Kuruvilla added, however, that
people were reacting to the bill by
abandoning their dogs, but still
described this as a "normal practice"
"Since last year, when there were
reports of a Dog Control Bill, a lot
of pit bulls were brought to the shel-
ter and abandoned...We're getting a
lot of reports about abandonment
right now, and it doesn't surprise
me," she said.
She advised the public to wait,
and not react to what they have
heard, as no legislation has been
finalised as yet. She said people were
hearing about registration and insur-
ance for their dogs, and were not
interested or did not have the means
to comply with such stipulations.
Kuruvilla said: "People should
wait. If they feel like they can't wait,
bring them to the shelter...Do not
Dial said the fallout from the law
was that people would continue to
abandon their dogs at the TTSPCA
and random areas around T&T.
"As soon as the bill went to Par-
liament, owners started abandoning
their dogs, mostly pit bulls...How
will the Government deal with that?"
Dial said the proposed bill was
having a negative effect because the
abandoned dogs were adding to the
overwhelming number of stray dogs
already roaming the country. She
said her organisation received calls
from concerned people in Chaguara-
mas, Claxton Bay, Freeport and
Carlsen Field in Chaguanas.
These abandoned dogs were a
danger to society, she said, especially
pedestrians and children travelling
"These dogs are scared, running
about hungry which only makes
them more vicious and likely to
attack people," Dial said.
"They might starve to death, but
not before they reproduce. How is
Government going to deal with these
dogs out there?"
She questioned whether the Gov-
ernment planned to shoot defence-
less dogs in response to the influx
of stray dogs, bringing up the killing
of Justice Minister Christlyn Moore's
Rottweiler on April 29, when it went
into her neighbour's property.
Moore's dog was reported to be
inside her neighbour's house and
was shot three times by police. Dial
said the animal should have been
contained, not killed.
Dial said the proposed punishment
for owners was a "quick fix" and
caused responsible owners to suffer
for the carelessness of a few.
The bill proposes a fine of
$200,000 and ten years in jail for
the owner of a pit bull or any other
dangerous dog that mauls a victim
Kuruvilla said the Government
needed to make it clear that there
will be support for owners who can-
not meet the requirements set out
in the new legislation.
She said many people were calling
in, thinking that the bill had been
"Government needs to issue a
clear statement about where we are
at the moment...People do not know
the details," she said.
As debate on the Dogs Control
Bill drew to a close in the House
of Representatives last week, 12
malnourished, abandoned pit
bulls have been rescued by Ani-
The emaciated and dehydrated
animals were taken to the Animals
Alive dog sanctuary at Ralph Nar-
ine Trace, South Oropouche.
President of the group, Kathryn
Cleghorn, said since debate began,
dog owners were abandoning their
pets all over the country, as they
were afraid of hefty fines.
"Within recent times there have
been a second wave of dumping
of dangerous dogs. We have seen
pit bulls, mastiffs, Rottweilers and
other high-bred dogs being
dumped. It is heart-wrenching to
see these animals suffering,"
Some of the animals were found
wandering through abandoned
canefields along country roads.
Cleghorn pointed out that the
Dog Control Bill was doing exactly
the opposite of what Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan intend-
"This legislation that Govern-
ment is passing is meant to protect
members of the public but it is
having the opposite effect because
dog owners are now dumping their
animals and leaving them on the
street, putting the public at risk,"
She said if the bill is passed,
there must be measures in place
to mitigate against animal aban-
"They need to have an interim
measure for people who obviously
cannot afford the fines and want
to give up their dogs," she said.
"One option is for organisations
such as Animals Alive to be paid
by the Government to take in the
dogs. It should not be that we are
taking in the dogs at our own cost
because we are not the reason that
the dogs are being abandoned."
She called on the Government
to pass a comprehensive Pet Act
which would impose fines on those
who abandon their pets.
"No law should cater for the
welfare of humans alone and dis-
regard animals and that's why we
appeal for a comprehensive Pet
Act where people can be charged
for not taking proper care of their
animals," Cleghorn said.
She said fines should be
imposed on anyone who abandons
a pet. She said discussions about
the Pet Act have been raised at
political forums but suggestions
have not been accepted by the
Cleghorn said there were 350
dogs and 22 cats at the sanctuary
and it cost about $21,000 monthly
to run the facility.
"The Government does not
contribute and this facility is man-
aged using the income of the exec-
utive members of Animals Alive
and three sponsors, Andromeda
Technologies and Easy Shipping,
and Fine Choice meats who pro-
vide meats on a monthly basis,"
she said. "We need pet rice and
money to cover workers' salaries
and veterinary bills."
Anyone wanting to make con-
tributions to Animals Alive can
contact Cleghorn at 709-1151 or
Animals Alive rescues 12 pit bulls
TTSPCA appeals to owners:
Don't abandon your dogs
Katherine Cleghorn, president of Animals Alive, plays with two of the abandoned
pit bulls at the Animal's Alive sanctuary at Ralph Narine Trace, South Oropouche,
yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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