Cabinet accepts new Dangerous Dogs guidelines
Wednesday 6th June, 2012
Cabinet has reviewed and accepted the Position Paper of the Law Reform Commission on the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Speaking at the Post Cabinet Media Briefing, Attorney General, Mr. Anand Ramlogan, noted that this Position Paper is different in its policy, scope and intent. He said the Government is hoping to strike a balance between public safety and the Constitutional Right of citizens to own and keep a pet of their choice.
"It does not aim to prohibit and eliminate certain specific breeds of dogs but what it aims for is responsible management, ownership, and control of dogs. That legislation seeks to promote and ensure public safety with an accent on responsible ownership and control of dogs. We seek to categorise dogs in Class A and Class B."
The Attorney General said Class A deals with dogs that are traditionally known to display violent or aggressive behaviour, while Class B deals with other dogs that do not demonstrate such behaviour. He also stated that certain dogs will be banned from some public places such as shopping malls and parks, whether or not they are muzzled or leashed.
The Attorney General said there will be insurance coverage up to a limit of $250,000 per dog.
"That is important because when people have been attacked, the cry for justice has been one that has fallen on deaf ears in terms of compensation."
The Paper proposes a Registration and Licensing System for dogs that fall in Class A which would be valid for a two-year period.
"No such license will be issued to anyone under 18 years of age and if you own more than two dogs, the license fee will go up progressively on a tiered basis. If the dog is spayed or neutered, consideration may be given to a reduction in the licensing fee. If the Class A dog is in a public place as indicated, whether it is the beach or the road, it would have to be properly muzzled. The property will have to be fenced to meet certain stipulated requirements and specifications."
AG Ramlogan said the Paper has also rectified an area in the legislation that deals with dogs that belong to the Protective Services and private security firms.
Class A dogs will have to undergo training which the AG said is mandatory.
"So you if you want to own a dangerous dog, you must not only meet the fencing requirements, you must not only have insurance in place, but you have to get that dog trained. That will be a mandatory requirement."
The AG said there will be heavy fines and penalties for those who break the rules, repeat offenders will have the dogs taken away and there may even be a term of imprisonment to follow.
"With regard to the destruction of dogs, we will have veterinarians that are enlisted to euthanise. Where a mauling takes place or a dog attacks someone, there are provisions on how one should deal with that dog. Of course, special consideration may be given to extra compensation in the event that the victim suffers personal injuries that are so grievous that $250,000 insurance may not be adequate."
AG Ramlogan said persons who wish to own a dangerous dog will now have a legal duty to ensure that they take responsibility for having such a dog.
The revised Bill will have to be drafted first and then debated in both Houses of Parliament before it can be passed and proclaimed. The Attorney General said it will not be ready before the end of this session of Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Trinidad And Tobago Canine Advocates group welcomed the news by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan that Government will not go ahead with the Dangerous Dogs Act of 2000.
However, Vice President of the TTCA, Mr. Jean Claude Al-Jmayel, said the organisation cannot say more until they see the new proposals. He also said the group will go ahead with its education campaign.http://ctntworld.com/LocalArticles.aspx?id=42216