The authorities are being hauled over the coals for failing to implement updated dog control regulations.
Two days after five pit bulls attacked and killed 74-year-old Verona Gibson near her Monroe Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael home, Veterinary Inspector at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Wayne Norville said better must be done to protect Barbadians from attacks by vicious dogs.
An upset Norville said in very much the same way there were stringent laws protecting turtles, it was time for Government to introduce much tighter legislation to control dogs.
“You have a $50,000 fine on any person that is caught with a marine turtle, the turtle shell or the eggs . . . . What are the chances of the average Bajan coming in contact with a marine turtle? Most people come in contact with dogs regularly . . . surely a lot more than a marine turtle,” the RSPCA inspector said, admitting that marine turtle regulations were part of international law.
He said a number of recommendations aimed at strengthening the dog control laws were presented to Government 12 years ago, which continued to sit “on somebody’s desk or in somebody’s file” while the owners of dangerous dogs were allowed to go about their business with few checks and balances.
“They probably might take them out now, dust it off because someone has been killed and they probably might come and give some hot air about it and it gine end right back there . . . cause they ain’t doing anything about it,” the animal control advocate said.
“We have a number of people who import dogs in Barbados but . . . nothing is sent to the animal control centre, so either myself or the centre don’t know until something happens.”
The RSPCA spokesman drew attention to existing laws which require all dogs that are at least six months old to be licensed and for dog owners to keep their animals on their premises and enclosed so they do not pose a danger to the public.
Norville told Barbados TODAY he had no first-hand knowledge of the fatal attack on the elderly woman.
However, he surmised the animals that killed the senior citizen were not socialized.
“When your dog accidentally escapes your premises, he or she is going to a completely different world, because it only knows your premises. Anything or anyone could become a threat to that dog. What the dog perceives as a human being is who he knows or what it is accustomed seeing. So all of these are things that could trigger a dog.
“My whole assumption of what happened on Saturday,” he went on, “[is that] the gentleman had an Akita cross dog bitch who was in season. Once she goes out and attract other female dogs around her, including the ones from her immediate yard . . . some of them know her already. And once she attracts male . . . what is going to happen is anything that the female dog attacks or barks at becomes a whole threat to the pack of dogs.”
During Saturday’s deadly attack 30-year-old neighbour Damien McCollin, who had gone to the woman’s aid was also attacked by the dogs and was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for is injuries.
Efforts to reach Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite for comment proved futile.