Wrong Approach to Pit Bull Confiscations

by Donella Hosten

The approach by the Government and the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to confiscating Pit Bulls and other dogs deemed to be dangerous has been placed under scrutiny by a number of concerned citizens.

Dr Kenrith Carter, a local veterinarian and dog owner, in an exclusive interview with NOW Grenada, expressed his disappointment with the situation. He acknowledges that although the law is the law, there are some requirements put in place in order for owners to get a license which are not feasible.

Carter is also an International Dog Show Judge specialising in Bull breeds i.e. the Pit Bull. He considers himself a Pit Bull enthusiast and is in the process of writing a book on the breed.

In speaking about the Dangerous Dogs Act which has been in place since 2002, but its enforcement only occurred late last year, Dr Carter said the decision to euthanize the dogs is, in fact, a drastic one, and he is of the firm belief that “sterilisation is a better way for the long term.” This, he said, “is a better approach to pacify the situation.”

The law was adopted from Breed-Specific Legislation (BLS) in Trinidad and the US, therefore some aspects do not pertain to Grenada. However, according to Carter, no proper analysis was done.

Although the RGPF is acting in accordance to the law, it is almost impossible to meet all the requirements, especially the $250,000 insurance, which is not currently offered by any insurance company on the island. This is one of the main requirements.

Even though Carter is an activist for the Pit Bull and Pit Bull type dogs, he said if an individual dog commits an act then he believes the full force of the law should be placed on the owner.

“The stigma by the mainstream media is that a Pit Bull is a vicious dog with a red nose” but he is calling on dog owners and enthusiasts to promote a positive public image of the breed. Carter stated that Pit Bulls are known to be great “nanny dogs and military dogs,” and were not bred to have human aggression.

“As a veterinarian, the numbers actually stack up against the Pit Bull,” he said, referring to Pit Bull attacks on humans. He reiterated that every Pit Bull or Pit Bull type dog is not a dangerous dog.

Chairman of the opposition party National Democratic Congress (NDC), Vincent Roberts also spent some time addressing the matter at hand. According to Roberts, the NDC is mindful of the safety and security of the Grenadian people, however, “the way the dangerous dogs are being handled shows what we call a knee-jerk reaction by the Government.”

Roberts clearly noted that public sensitization and consultations should have been done from the time the legislation was passed in 2002. He also stressed on the importance of dog owners keeping their dogs in check, as they must be mindful that they carry much responsibility. If owners know their dogs have the potential to be ferocious, the dog must be properly secured and housed and treated “in a humane way,” because dogs too, have rights.

Officer in Charge of the Community Relations Department (CRD) ASP Sylvan Mc Intyre, said the RGPF is working within the law. “The law gives us permission as well to seize those dogs, and give the owners an opportunity to have the relevant license [and] provisions in place.” Failure to comply result in the dogs being euthanized.

Mc Intyre said the Dangerous Dogs Act in Grenada refers primarily to the Pit Bull, and although they understand the public’s outcry, “that’s what the ;aw says.” He went on to state that the RGPF is not responsible for the housing and safekeeping of the confiscated dogs. This is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health.

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