Barbados warns dog owners after woman mauled to death

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 3, CMC – The Barbados government says it is committed to the enforcement of legislation related to the ownership and care of dogs after an elderly woman was mauled to death last weekend by a pack of dogs.
“It may be necessary at this time to review this legislation to determine if it requires amendment,” Health Minister John Boyce, who also expressed condolences to the family of Verona Gibson, who died last Saturday after being attacked by the dogs while walking in her neighbourhood.
Boyce said that while he was aware that pitbulls was one of four banned under the Dangerous Dog Act in the United Kingdom, discussions here were preliminary as the government reviewed the legislation with a view to any amendments.
Animal Control Officer (Acting), Peter Belgrave, of the Animal Control Unit explained that three of the breeds banned under the UK’s Dangerous Dog Act – the Fila Brasiliero, the Dogo Argentino and the Japanese Tosa – were bred for fighting while the history of the pit bull showed that it was bred for baiting bulls.
He said that pit bulls had different temperaments and all of them were not aggressive, adding that some of them were used as service dogs.
Boyce said that dog ownership was a serious responsibility and he urged the public to make sure that their animals were licensed with the Animal Control Centre.
“If you have a dog that is not licensed, I urge you to get it registered as soon as possible. In addition, your dog should be secured on your premises at all times…and while in a public place, a dog must be wearing a collar with the tag attached and must be held on a lead.”
The penalty for failure to register a dog is BDS$250 (One Barbados dollar =US$0.50 cents), but owners can also be fined BDS$100 for failure to attach the tag to the dog, or imprisonment for a period of one month or both. A dog licence is valid for 12 months.

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