UPDATED: Control your dogs or we will, Shaw tells owners - Government prepared to ban dangerous animals
Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw said if it comes to that, the Government is prepared to ban certain types of dogs from entering the country in order to protect Jamaicans from being attacked and killed by these 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 told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday.
"If those animals are loose and they are aggressive, and little children - five-year-old, six-year-old, 10-year-old children - my little girl is nine years old - are out there and the dogs attack them, there is no help for these children," said Shaw. "It is dangerous and irresponsible for any dog owner to allow these dangerous dogs to be loose and not protect the community."
Last month, 66-year-old Whittington Cole of Hampton Green in Spanish Town, St Catherine, was walking in his community when he was viciously attacked and killed by a pack of dogs.
"These circumstances, especially with some of these more aggressive animals like pit bulls, should not be happening. Prevention is better than cure, so I want to start by saying to all owners of dogs, whether they are pit bulls, Rottweilers or any other type of dogs, please, for God's sake, take responsibility for your animal," Shaw said.
According to the minister, the present law as it relates to the keeping of animals falls within the portfolio responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development. He says he plans to work closely with that ministry to address the problem.
"The minister (Desmond McKenzie) and I will be working closely on it. In fact, there is a review that is to take place of the law to strengthen it, and we need to do that," said Shaw.
*NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Cole was attacked last week in Spanish Town. He was actually attacked last month.