Trinidad - It was announced this week by the government of Trinidad and Tobago that the Dangerous Dogs Act will be proclaimed on August 1, 2012. The Act originally passed in June 2000, but was never proclaimed.1 The Dangerous Dogs Act requires owners of dangerous dogs to be at least 18 years old, carry $250,000 of insurance, adhere to special containment requirements, sterilization and registration, and to apply for and obtain a $500 annual license per dog.
"I am happy to see the VICTIMS being finally considered as no one stands up for them." - Comment sent to DogsBite.org from Trinidad and Tobago activist Teseek.
The Act prima facially declares three fighting breeds as dangerous, including: pit bull terriers, fila brasileiros and Japanese tosas (similar to the United Kingdom Dangerous Dogs Act). Any dogs bred from these breeds are also deemed dangerous. The purpose of the Act is to prohibit the importation and breeding of dangerous dogs and to regulate the manner in which these dogs are maintained by their owner to ensure the safety of Trinidad and Tobago citizens.
"Today, the Government has noted with great concern the recent and growing attacks on law-abiding citizens by pitbulls," the Ministry said in a faxed media release. "The facts show that often these dangerous dogs are not properly trained or secured. In recent times, dangerous dogs have been allowed to escape onto the road and attack persons, causing severe injuries and, in some cases, death."
"The Government is of the view that the proclamation of the Act is critical because of the great harm and injury being caused daily to law-abiding citizens when these dogs are not properly secured and controlled." (Ministry of the Attorney General, Trinidad and Tobago, April 17, 2012)
DogsBite.org began following fatal pit bull maulings in Trinidad last May after 46-year old Denise Rackal was mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls belonging to Chaguanas police officer Daryl La Pierre. According to neighbors, the same dogs killed 15 dogs in the year prior to the death of Rackal and attacked two other people. Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova also provided feedback in the wake of Rackal's death to help explain several misleading responses to it.
Trinidad activist Teseek is worried that animal advocacy groups will interfere with the recent proclamation -- already delayed 12-years, resulting in new victims permanently disfigured and, in some cases, killed by violent pit bulls. The Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TTSPCA) is "concerned" that the Act could lead to many pit bulls being abandoned due to irresponsible pit bull owners being unable to comply with the proclamation.
It is a catch-22 position for the TTSPCA isn't it? To demand "responsible ownership" and then to claim that penalizing irresponsible owners leads to inhumane results?
Today's pit bull "mess" in the United States and across the world is directly due to animal groups like the TTSPCA whose solution to the pit bull problem is to 1.) "Educate" irresponsible owners, most of whom do not want to be educated, without laws that strongly penalize these owners for failure to comply and to 2.) "Equalize" the breed-specific pit bull problem across all dog breeds even though no other dog breeds are commiting a similar number of maulings and deaths.2
Partial List of Deaths by Pit Bulls
2011: Jesse Dillion Boise, 9-years old, killed by his brother's pit bull (Trinidad); 2011: Denise Rackal, 46-years old, killed by pack of pit bulls (Trinidad); 2004: Chandrawattie Beera, 77-years old, killed by two pit bulls (Trinidad); 1999: Norris Young, 72-years old, killed by a pit bull (Trinidad); 1998: Kimmoi Wong Won, 71-years old, killed by her son’s four pit bulls (Trinidad); 1998: Christopher Charles, adult, killed by political financier Steve Furgeson’s pit bulls (Trinidad).
2When and if other dog breeds, particularly of the fighting class, do start committing maulings and deaths in Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry can expand the number of dog breeds included in the Act.
06/01/11: Animal Behaviorist Responds to Statements Following Trinidad Fatal Pit Bull Attack
05/11/11: Family of Mauling Death Victim Awaits Apology from Dogs' Owner
02/06/10: Ecuador Joins International Trend: Bans Pit Bulls and Rottweilers as Pets