Pit Bulls and other killer dogs should be banned

Dear Editor,

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend. They say that man should be kind to all dumb animals including dogs.

They say that a story of a dog biting a man except it is his own dog is not newsworthy but a story of a man biting a dog is most likely to attract the attention of all and sundry.
They also say that ‘every dog is entitled to its first bite free’. This is a very controversial legal maxim, which was rejected by Chief Justice Georges in the case of Sims v. Mc Kinney. But even if every dog is indeed entitled to its first bite free, can a dog be entitled to its first kill?

While we ponder the answer and await the conclusion of the case in the ‘Ogle Killer Dogs’ mauling incident, I cannot avoid concluding that a worrying trend with dogs at the centre seems to be developing in our humble Republic.

As a matter of fact a sudden interest in these ferocious animals began some 12-15 years ago with people of all walks of life acquiring them at great expense. These dogs are not only costly to acquire, but costly to maintain as well.
I know of people who appear to be more concerned and emotional about the health and well being of their killer dogs than they are for themselves and members of their families. So concerned and emotional are some people about these animals that they would even kill for them.

Below I give a synopsis of some of the notable incidents involving dogs during the past year.

On May 2, it was alleged that one man shot and killed another because the latter cursed his dog. Later in the same month, two young men were in dispute over the theft of a dog (pit bull), one shot the other in the buttocks. On October 1, two pit bulls attacked and mauled an early morning jogger. Earlier this year a woman was alleged to have allowed vicious dogs within her care and control to attack children and members of the animal protection society. On April 9, the owner of a pit bull was mauled when he attempted to rescue one of his visitors from the jaws of the animal. And finally, on April 16, killer dogs fatally mauled a security guard. My question is, what next?
Killer dogs have been at the centre of controversy for as long as the early 1980s in the Dingo and the baby case – an Australian wild dog which allegedly killed a baby – but crimes associated with dogs have taken on a new dimension in Guyana.

These dogs seem to have become more of a menace than a man’s best friend and are a cause for concern as was revealed in the recent “What the people say about pit bulls in Guyana” survey.

In my opinion these dogs should not only be restricted through adequate security measures including muzzling, they should be banned. No matter how restricted the security arrangements are, we should always be guided by Murphy’s Law which says “if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong”. I think that is precisely what occurred at Ogle on April 16 and unless serious corrective action is taken at the national level, other dogs will surely enjoy their first kill.

Yours faithfully,
Francis Carryl

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