Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 2, 2014
Dog Control Act kicks in but...
The law governing ownership of
dangerous dogs comes into effect
today but several issues, including
insurance coverage for people who do
not own homes, the type of microchip
to be used and the process to retrieve
a dog, once given up, remain unclear
Because of this uncertainty, the T&T
Veterinary Association (TTVA) is urging
Government to postpone the Dog Con-
trol Act 2014 until such issues have
been properly resolved.
President-elect of the association,
Dr Karla Georges, said the body had
already met with the local government
ministry and recommendations had
been put forward, but these were yet
to be implemented.
"So far the local government minister
has met with the vet association and
with the T&T Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty against Animals (TTSPCA)
and other interest groups, but at this
point there are several issues which
have not really been clarified," Georges
told the T&T Guardian.
"One of the most important issues
is the microchiping of the dogs. Up to
now we do not know exactly who is
doing it and whether there has been
any decision on the particular type of
microchip to be used." Georges said.
Others matters which need to be ven-
tilated are the registration and training
of the dogs.
"We do not know who will be doing
the registration, where it will be done
or who will be collecting the monies
for registration. Nobody seems to know
what is going on," she said.
"Are the corporations equipped to
handle the influx of dogs? If an owner
relinquishes a dog and wants to get it
back what is the process? Do they have
to fill out a form and if so to whom?
Nobody even knows what the form is
going to look like. These issues have
not been addressed.
"I believe the act should be been
postponed until all these administrative
issues have been properly clarified."
With attacks against the public
increasing in recent years, sparking huge
debate about laws each time, Govern-
ment felt it had to move on the act.
The legislation separates dogs into
two classes---A and B. Class A is con-
sidered as the more dangerous types
of dogs---the Pitbull Terrier, Fila
Brasileiro and the Japanese Tosa and
any dog which is bred from any of these
Class B dogs are all other types of
Senior executive member of the
association Dr Marc Driscoll, who
echoed Georges statements, said anoth-
er major issue was that of insurance.
He said it was still not decided which
companies would be handling the poli-
cies and what were the details of such
"At a recent meeting it was proposed
that this be done on a homeowner s
insurance. But what about those who
do not own their own property and are
renting for example, they will not be
able to get insurance.
"After that particular meeting we
have heard nothing since then...they
have absolutely nothing in place,"
He recommended that the entire act
be repealed and instead the Dogs Act
of 1918 be revised.
"Everything is already there in that
act. What we need to do is to have it
revised to reflect the current sit-
uation in terms of microchiping
and increasing fines," Driscoll said.
Insurance companies do not
have separate policies to cover
Class A breeds, says Baliram Sawh,
vice president-general of the Asso-
ciation of T&T Insurance Com-
He said this insurance could be
covered under their a homeowner s
policy, but it was still undecided
which companies would be pro-
viding this. The only way you could
get this type of coverage is via
home ownership or if you re a
business owner, he added.
"There is no cover for dog own-
ership as a stand alone and as it
is none of our members offer this,"
The bill requires owners or keep-
ers of Class A Dogs to acquire a
policy of not less than $250,000
for each dog owned or kept by the
The new law also places strin-
gent controls on how such dogs
are to be kept, in terms of the con-
finement of the dogs for the pro-
tection of the public. But Shaw
said it was still uncertain how the
act would be policed in terms of
ensuring properties were fenced
according to the specific height
According to the bill, a policy
of insurance shall be a policy
a) Is issued by a person who is
an insurer; and
b) Insures the owner and any
authorised keeper specified in the
policy against any liability which
may be incurred by him in respect
of the death of or injury to a person
caused by a dog in relation to
which the policy of insurance
under this section is in force.
The South Breeders Association
has also expressed concern about
the act, saying any dog could be
deemed dangerous. It added that
certain dogs were extensively beat-
en and in some cases given steroids
to become more aggressive.
Association president Antonio
Bonaparte said he was not against
dog legislation but said it should
be done across the board.
"We want responsible dog own-
ership by everyone no matter the
dog," Bonaparte said.
Saying T&T has a growing and
vibrant dog industry, Bonaparte
said within recent times there have
been some serious dog attacks. But
the blame should not on the dogs,
he said. • Continues on Page A7
The Act was passed in the Senate in
March this year by 15 votes for, 8
against and five abstentions. All 15
Government senators voted in favour of
the measure, while all six PNM
senators, along with two
Independents---Senators Elton Prescott
and Ian Roach---voted against and five
Ramkhelawan, Helen Drayton, Rolph
Balgobin, Dhanayshar Mahabir and
David Small --- abstained.
From the bill
• If a Class A dog escapes, its owner
is liable for any death, injury or damage
• If the dog injures someone, its
owner or keeper is liable to a fine of
$100,000 and five years in prison.
• If the dog kills someone or causes
their death, the owner or keeper is liable
to a $200,000 fine and imprisonment
for ten years.
• If the dog kills someone who was
not provoking it or committing an
offence, the court can order that the
dog is seized and destroyed.
• Owners who abandon them are
liable to a fine of $50,000 and
imprisonment for a year.
• Must be trained by a certified
trainer, or the owner is liable to a
$50,000 fine and a year in prison.
• The owner must display signs to
identify places where a Class A dog is
kept, or face a fine of $10,000.
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