JAMAICA-Government hints at banning some breeds of dogs

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The Jamaica government has hinted at the possibility of banning some breeds of dogs here amid reports that they have been involved in fatal attacks on human beings in recent weeks.

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, said that the Andrew Holness government was inclined to implement the ban in a bid to protect citizens from the vicious animals.

“Before we are forced to do that, what I want to suggest is, instead of having the government taking drastic action like banning certain types of dogs in this country, I am now warning everybody, go and protect your dogs, and protect our community and protect our children,” Shaw said.

Shaw comments followed the latest incident in which 66-year-old Whittington Cole, was killed last month as he walked in his Hampton Green community in St Catherine, a parish in the south east of Jamaica.

He was reportedly mauled by four dogs.

“What I want to suggest is, instead of having the government take drastic action, like banning certain types of dogs in this country, I serve warning to everybody: go and protect your dogs and protect our community and protect our children and our citizens.

“The man that was killed by dogs last month was an elderly man… This can’t be allowed to continue, it is unacceptable,” Shaw told reporters.

Shaw said he was also concerned that the dogs were also attacking children and made reference to a .newspaper report of many children being injured.

““I saw a story where doctors are complaining that many children are severely injured by dogs and some of them have to go through extensive plastic surgery and all that sort of thing, not to speak of the danger of loss of life. I think in these circumstances, especially with some of these more aggressive animals like pit bulls, prevention is better than cure.

“So I want to start by saying all owners of dogs, whether pit bulls or Rottweilers or any other types of dogs please, for God’s sake, take responsibility for your animals.

“Because if those animals are loose and are aggressive and little children, five-year-old, six-year-old 10-year-old children are out there and dogs attack them there is no help for these kids. It is dangerous and it is irresponsible for any dog owners to allow these dangerous dogs to be loose,” said Shaw.

Shaw said that his ministry would be working closely with the Ministry of Local Government on the issue, adding “in fact, there is a review that is taking place of the law to strengthen it”.

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