(Trinidad Express) Those sections of the Dog Control Act which carry serious penalties and restrictions designed to protect and safeguard innocent members of the public have been proclaimed, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan stressed on Monday.
Among the sections proclaimed is one which allows persons to take civil action against the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog for any death, injury or damage caused by that dog.
The owner is liable to a fine of $200,000 and ten years’ imprisonment if the dog kills someone.
The Attorney General said he wanted to clarify certain misconceptions regarding the partial proclamation of the Dog Control Act. He reiterated that it was Government’s intention to proclaim those sections of the Dog Control Act which did not require regulations to be in place before it comes into force.
“Cabinet’s decision of March 26, 2014, that those sections which do not require regulations will be brought into operation followed the fatal maulings of Lillian Bunsee, 82, and Sylvia Roberts, 84, who were both victims of vicious and merciless attacks by pitbulls,” the Attorney General said.
President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona has, in accordance with this Cabinet decision, proclaimed specified sections of the Dog Control Act which came into effect on Monday, June 2, 2014.
Ramlogan said these sections of the act which have been proclaimed provide that:
a) No dog be allowed to enter a public space where a notice is displayed prohibiting entry to dogs unless the dog is an assistance dog, the dog is being used to secure the location or the dog is being used by a person in the service of the State;
b) Every person who owns or keeps a dog shall provide it with adequate and appropriate care, food, water, shelter, exercise, attention and veterinary care;
c) The owner or keeper of a Class A dog who is unable to fulfil the requirements of the act may inform the Ministry of Local Government of such and the Ministry of Local Government will take possession of the dog;
d) Class A dogs must be kept in the enclosed premises of its owner or keeper and cannot be kept in premises, either indoors or outdoors, that accommodate more than one household;
e) Any owner or keeper of a Class A dog who abandons their dog is liable to a fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for two years;
f) The owner or keeper of a Class A dog can be found liable in civil proceedings for any death, injury or damage caused by that dog;
g) A person who owns a Class A dog must display a notice in a prominent place on his property warning of a dangerous dog;
h) The owner or keeper of a Class A dog is liable to a fine of $100,000 and to five years’ imprisonment if their dog unreasonably injures someone and to a fine of $200,000 and to ten years’ imprisonment if their dog unreasonably kills someone;
i) It shall be a criminal offence for a person to incite their dog to cause grievous bodily harm or death to another person;
j) A police constable or officer of the local authority is empowered to seize and impound a Class A dog which is in a public place in breach of Section 5 or is on any premises without the consent of the owner or occupier of those premises;
k) Empowers a magistrate to issue a warrant to enter and search premises under certain circumstances concerning the act;
l) Empowers the minister to declare any other type of dog to be subject to the same restrictions as a Class A dog.
The act specifies as dangerous (or Class A) six breeds—the American Pitbull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Bully, the Dogo Argentino, the Japanese Tosa and the Fila Brasileiro.
The Ministry of the Attorney General said it wanted to make it clear all these provisions were currently in force.
Those sections of the act which provide for the registration of Class A dogs and the licensing of Class A dogs are still to be proclaimed.
Also not yet proclaimed are the provisions which create an offence for a person to keep an unlicensed Class A dog and which create an obligation on the owner or keeper of a Class A dog to obtain a policy of insurance of not less than $250,000.