Thu | Nov 26, 2020

‘Lock up everybody’ - No sympathy for owners of dogs which attack, injure people

Published:Sunday | November 22, 2020 | 8:02 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Ricardo Jones, a resident of Mexico in Arnett Gardens, St Andrew, shows scars from a dog attack which left him injured some time last year.
Pedal cyclist Desmond Roberts and his dog are the centre of attention for these two dogs as the travel along Benbow Street in Jones Town, St Andrew, on Thursday. He said his dog helps him to fight off strays daily as he traverses the community.

Declaring that her son has been living in misery since he was attacked by a dog last year, Theresa Mitchell-Jones, a resident of Mexico in Arnett Gardens, St Andrew, celebrated news of the passing of the Dogs (Liability for Injuries by) Act in the Lower House on Tuesday to punish owners and tenants of premises where dogs live if the animals attack neighbours or passers-by.

Mitchell-Jones said she had no sympathy for people who had no control over their dogs or fail to secure them to prevent attacks.

The new law could see owners of dogs that attack and injure persons fined from $500,000 up to $3 million or face imprisonment for periods ranging from six months to 15 years.

“Lock up everybody,” she told The Gleaner. “Dog bite up my son and from the dog bite mi son, di man (owner) start carry feelings.

“Weh day my son get gunshot and a run from the person with the gun. The man also shoot the dog owner and him tell police seh a my son shoot him. My son get shot inna him leg and him belly. A urine bag him affi a walk wid,” she continued.

“This happen all because of the dog bite. The mongrel dem fi get rid of. All stray dog fi get rid of,” she added, saying that a friend had also died from wounds sustained in a dog attack.

Walking with an obvious limp, her son, Ricardo Jones, came to join the conversation.

“In a last year, di dog grab me from back way two times. Anybody weh pass, him run out,” he said, adding that the dog died mysteriously two weeks later.

Owners’ responsibility

In the Admiral Town section of Kingston, Mark Jennings said that tenants should not be held liable for dog attacks unless they were responsible for the dog going out of the yard.

“Di people dem nuh really tek care a dem dog. Di dog dem lef fi hunt fi dem own food. Di owners are not in the culture to provide fi dem dog. Too much responsibility, so dem jus [leave] the dog [to roam],” he said.

“The onus can’t fall pon me. If it is due to my negligence why the dog come out and attack somebody, then I will take partial responsibility. As it relates to just the general fact seh di dog come from inna di yard, mi cya see how dat a go fall pon my shoulder. Di owner has to take responsibility. You need to secure your dog,” Jennings said.

Shortly after, The Gleaner witnessed pedal cyclist Desmond Roberts manoeuvring through a pack of dogs as one of his dogs looked on.

He agreed that dog owners should be responsible for the actions of the animals and not tenants, pointing out that those very dogs rush at him daily.

“Nuff dog ‘bout di place. When me a ride mi bicycle, dem just under mi tail, suh mi nuh bother trouble dem. You have some next man weh will mash out dem head wid a stone, though,” Roberts said.

Afraid of the implications of the new law, one woman said she was contemplating giving up her dog.