Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 11th 2013 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 11, 2013
6.1000 6.2645 6.4430
5.6972 5.9970 6.3268
8.8787 9.3460 9.8507
7.6372 8.0392 8.4814
****** 0.0627 0.0665
2.1121 2.2958 2.4565
* 2.5686 ****** 3.2720
for JULY 10th 2013
Independent Senator Helen Dray-
ton stood alone against the Govern-
ment s Control of Dogs 2013 Bill in
the Senate yesterday morning.
When the vote was taken on the
legislation around 2 am, Drayton said
"No!" while another Independent
Senator, Corinne Baptiste-McKnight,
The Government secured the sup-
port of the other Independents and
The bill was presented by Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan, who said
the measure was intended to ensure
the owners of certain dangerous dogs,
including pitbulls, were more respon-
He noted that several innocent peo-
ple were mauled to death or injured
by dangerous dogs because of irre-
The legislation, which was approved
in the House of Representatives last
week, provides for jail terms and heavy
fines on owners who were guilty of
The sitting, which started on Tues-
CHARLES KONG SOO
Vice-president of Animals Alive, Jowelle
de Souza, has criticised Attorney General
Anand Ramlogan for enacting the Dangerous
Dogs Act without putting proper infrastruc-
ture in place for pitbulls and their owners.
Speaking in a telephone interview yesterday,
De Souza said by not having proper procedure
and structure in place, especially for when
the animals were abandoned, Ramlogan was
opening the door for chaos.
"In that sense he has acted very cruel and
inhumane and he has thrown a law into public
without even putting one measure into place
where these dogs can be kept, if they can be
spayed or neutered until the breed dies out,"
De Souza said.
"Ramlogan has put no insurance companies
up front, provided no location or services to
have these dogs registered, yet he has gone
full speed ahead to bring the law into act."
De Souza said their sanctuary in Oropouche
was already experiencing the negative fallout
of the bill as it was filled to capacity with over
400 dogs and workers had been bombarded
with calls on a daily basis enquiring whether
they could take in more pitbulls.
De Souza said what was also heart-rendering
was that even puppies were being thrown in
the streets and abandoned in canefields.
The shelter had to take them in and not
one government minister had come forward
to support them, De Souza added.
He said owners did not want to abandon
their cherished dogs but were fearful of pros-
ecution --- the one-year jail term, hefty $50,000
fine and $250,000 insurance premium --- pro-
posed in the bill.
Micro-chipping would not help the situ-
ation, De Souza added.
Dr Azizul Rahaman, veterinary surgeon at
the Jones Animal Clinic and Hospital in La
Seiva, Maraval, said he had also been seeing
a resurgence in the canine market for working
dogs, such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds
and other breeds, in lieu of pitbulls, since
debate on the Dangerous Dogs Act began in
Rahaman said people were moving to new
breeds and he was seeing Doberman litters
for the last few weeks and a "fair bit" of mas-
He said what constituted a dangerous dog
or pitbull conundrum was that even toy-breeds,
such as the pompek, could inflict a vicious bite.
He said also compounding the dilemma
was that most dogs in T&T were now pitbull
crosses or bandogs, where breeders crossed
large mastiff dogs with the gameness of pitbulls
to create more formidable dogs.
He added: "Cross-breeds are spreading all
over the place and if you talk to a lawyer now,
everything would slip through the cracks.
"Providing ownership, defining the breed
are problems. When you seize that dog it has
to be kept as a court exhibit. Where to keep
it, how many can you hold, these are more
legal issues than anything else."
He said many countries all over the world
had problems with implementing variations of
the Dangerous Dogs Act when changes had to
be made and it was not a simple law to pass.
Rahaman said he hoped persons would not
abandon their pitbulls but said some persons
also could not bring themselves to have their
pets euthanised. He said islandwide spaying and
neutering would also be a major undertaking.
Micro-chipping animals, he said, had its
own challenges, such as training personnel,
such as the police to read the data on the
scanners, standardisation of equipment and
establishing a central registry. Rahaman said
the problem would be the execution and
enforcement of the law.
Celeste Nottingham, a dog trainer and
breeder of Command Working Dogs Club,
Barataria, said she was all for controlling of
the dogs and especially the type of people
who owned them. However, she said Gov-
ernment was going overboard setting the rules
but not setting provisions for dog-owners to
"Telling people who love their dogs if they
can't afford a quarter million in insurance they
will have to give them up and put them to
sleep but they don't want to kill them, people
have no logical recourse," she said.
Nottingham said more breeds were being
added to the list but dogs, such as the presa
canario, dogo argentino, tosa and neapolitan
mastiff, were gentle giants
She said many dogs had been abandoned
and euthanised already with owners fearful
of the implications of the law.
Nottingham said dangerous dogs classified
as B Class dogs, such as German shepherds
and malanois, were working dogs used by
security personnel and police for drug detec-
tion, bomb detection and rehabilitation.
She said pothounds bit more people than
other breeds but they were not reported.
Framework not in place
Stakeholders on new dog bill:
day, lasted almost 15 hours.
The Parliament was prorogued at midnight last
night and a new session is scheduled for August
2. During the ceremonial opening President Anthony
Carmona is expected to deliver his maiden address
The 2013/14 national budget is expected to be
presented by Finance and the Economy Minister
Larry Howai in September.
Drayton stands alone against bill
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