Amendments to dog law should not affect citizens adversely

(File Photo) Hon. Dr.Timothy Harris

ZIZ News…Nov 10, 2011 – The 2007 Dogs Bill amended on September 30, 2011 should not negatively affect ordinary citizens of the Federation. Dr Harris expressed concern that the 2011 Amendments excited public apprehension regarding fees and micro-chipping.

“The provisions in the 2011 Bill lowers the majority of fees outlined in the 2007 Dog Bill. The 2011 Amendments are not yet enforced. There has been a 50% reduction”. Yesterday I contacted the Inland Revenue and was advised that the licensing fee is $2.50 per annum per dog.

The new legislation has mandated a new fee structure for dogs ranging from $15 to $150 per year.

If a person cannot pay $15-$150 for a special breed of dog designated as dangerous, we must wonder aloud whether that person should have such a dog. Would they afford to insure such a dog as is required in several jurisdictions?

Dr Harris said our Dangerous Dogs Act is similar to those passed in Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbuda and has some provisions akin to those found in the UK Dangerous Dogs Act. The motive is to offer a modicum of protection to the public who may suffer harm from attacks by these dogs.

With respect to the requirement for micro-chipping, Dr Harris says “our Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Tracey Challenger-Clarke, has advised that micro-chipping is the best approach for the permanent identification of dangerous dogs as it can only be removed surgically. Ownership is easier to trace”. Again we have drawn on best examples of legislation in Antigua, and the Cayman Islands which have provisions for mandatory micro-chipping.

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