Jamaica News: Government Senator, Kerensia Morrison, is appealing for dog owners to be more responsible in securing their animals and ensure that they do not pose a danger to the public.
“They must not be a risk to people, who are going about their regular business; people who are not trespassing, people who are just living their lives. Many Jamaicans can recount incidents of being chased and bitten by dogs” she said in the Senate on Friday (Sept. 27).
“Nobody should be attacked because the owner did not remember to repair the gate or check to see if there is some hole in the fence,” she added.
The Government Senator’s remarks came against the background of the horrific pit bull attack on a teacher recently, leaving her with serious wounds, which caused her to be hospitalised for a prolonged period.
“We shudder in trying to imagine the harrowing and nightmarish ordeal that this teacher suffered. We wish her a speedy recovery both physically and emotionally. We thank God for sparing her and hope that the psychological scars will be minimal,” Senator Morrison said.
She told the Senators that “out of this unfortunate attack must come a raft of decisions on how we treat with these issues.”
Lamenting that the attack was not the first on citizens by ferocious dogs, Senator Morrison said the frequency of such incidents demand the immediate attention of legislators, as the law, in its present form, does not hold dog owners criminally liable.
Senator Morrison said she is pleased that the Ministry of Justice has indicated that tougher legislation will be introduced to effectively deal with fines and penalties related to such attacks.
“Sometimes sorry just isn’t enough when you have lost livestock, when you have been badly injured, when there is loss of life. This is something that should have happened a long time ago,” she said.
For her part, Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Donna Scott Mottley, agreed that strong action needs to be taken to address dog attacks, suggesting that monetary fines should be increased.
“The fact is that pit bulls are banned from entering our island and how they come here is because there is a vast illegal trade.
“But if they are here and they are banned, the authorities must do something when they discover their presence,” she said.
Source: JIS News