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Legislation coming to control dangerous dogs

Legislation coming to  control dangerous dogs

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Just over a year after Althea Cato of Cane End was mauled by her employer’s dogs, the Ministry of Agriculture, in conjunction with the office of the Attorney General, has completed the fine tuning of a piece of legislation to address the issues of dangerous dogs and stray dogs in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

This was disclosed by Reuben Robertson, Chief Agricultural Officer, at a press conference held at the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday afternoon.

Robertson said the parties involved are hoping that by October the legislation should get the approval of Cabinet, so that before the end of the year it can be used to address the problems.

Forty six-year-old Cato was viciously killed by her employer’s dogs on Friday, June 6th, 2008. While the circumstances surrounding the attack are being investigated, her death prompted questions about legislation to address the matter of dangerous dogs.

Robertson disclosed that the new law addresses the issues of registration and management of dogs. Management includes the use of leashes, the actual handling, feeding and other things associated with the care of dogs.

The Chief Agricultural Officer explained that the law also caters for the establishment of a pound where dogs which are not identified will be captured and owners will have to pay a fine to get them back if they want to. The new legislation will also outline how the dogs will be disposed of from the pound, as well as how the pound will be managed, whether by government or by private sector.

“There are a number of areas which are covered in the piece of legislation and it also gives a comprehensive description of what is a dangerous dog and how a dangerous dog will be treated,” said Robertson.

Meanwhile, Robertson noted that there has been a rapid increase in stray dog attacks on small ruminants in recent times.

“Just last week a farmer reported in Orange Hill that overnight 15 heads of his sheep were slaughtered by dogs. You could imagine a farmer having 32 heads of sheep, having attended to his animals, and returning next morning to see more than half or just about half of the flock on the ground dead as a result of stray dogs,” said Robertson.

At the press conference, Robertson also used the opportunity to address the issue of vandalism of government’s property.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture, in an effort to provide better quality service to farmers in the areas of vegetable seedling production, food tree crop production, and banana tissue culture production has expended a significant amount of monies to upgrade the propagation stations at Wallilabou, New Grounds, Dumbarton, Rivulet and Perseverance, Georgetown.

The Chief Agricultural Officer disclosed that sera-netting used to cover the buildings, valued at over $30,000, has been cut off by vandals.

“We have lost in excess of EC$14,000 in value of the netting that was placed on these houses and as such the quality of the plants and the efficiency of production is very much reduced because of these incidents,” said Robertson.

“We are asking persons in the communities around these propagation stations and even persons who ply their route around these propagation stations to desist from this practice since taking away the sera-netting only provides for self gratification and serves the purposes of individual needs, whereas the propagation stations are there to solve and meet the needs of the entire farming community.

“We are calling on such perpetrators to stop acting so selfish and to be responsible citizens. Support the cause of development by desisting from these practices,” said Robertson. (HN)

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