Twelve years after it was debated and passed in Parliament with a three-fifths majority, the Dangerous Dogs Act will take effect from August 1. This follows a Cabinet decision last Thursday to enforce the law by Proclamation of the President. The Act prohibits importation and breeding of three categories of dogs, the Pitbull Terrier, Fila Brasiliero and Japanese Tosa.
The Minister of Local Government will have the power to declare any other type of dog dangerous if they present a serious danger to the public. In a release yesterday, the Ministry of the Attorney General said the law was being enforced because of recent and growing attacks on citizens by pitbulls. “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 ministry stated.
Within three months of the law coming into force, owners of dangerous dogs must have them spayed or neutered by a veterinary surgeon and they must be registered with the Ministry of Local Government. Dog owners must also obtain an annual licence from their municipal corporation at a cost of $500 a dog.
In addition, they must have at least $250,000 worth of insurance for each dog. Citizens who keep or own unlicensed dangerous dogs will be liable to be fined $50,000 and one year imprisonment on summary conviction.