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Pack of dogs mauls 5-yr-old boy in Jamaica

November 18th, 2020 | Tags:
The pack of dogs which on Sunday, November 15, 2020, mauled a five-year-old boy in St Ann, Jamaica, leaving him hospitalised in serious condition, is set to be euthanised. Photo: Jamaica Observer
JAMAICA OBSERVER

JUSTICE Minister Delroy Chuck last evening announced that the pack of dogs which on Sunday mauled a five-year-old St Ann boy, leaving him hospitalised in serious condition, is set to be euthanised.

He was responding to a suggestion made on social media platform Twitter that the dogs that viciously attacked Mickele Allen are to be “rounded up and euthanised” as the young boy prepares for plastic surgery.

Mickele was reportedly attacked while on his way to a shop in St D'Acre near Alexandria in the parish.

“It is my understanding that the [Jamaica Constabulary Force] and the JSPCA (Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) representatives have already started the process,” Chuck said in response to the suggestion.

The disclosure came hours before the Lower House passed the Dogs (Liability for Attacks) Bill, which provides for criminal and civil liability for an owner of a dog that attacks, injures, and/or causes the death of a person.

Seventeen amendments were made to the Bill, even as Chuck emphasised that the legislation, once passed by the Senate, is to serve as a deterrent and is not intended to create a criminal record for dog owners.

The passage of the Bill was last month delayed after concerns were raised by some members of the House of Representatives about criminal liabilities issues.

Opposition Member of Parliament Mark Golding had cautioned that, while the legislation is necessary, care should be taken to strike the right balance.

He said this was necessary to ensure that there were no “undue or heavy liabilities on dog owners”.

Golding took issue with the definition of the word attack in the Bill, which meant that a dog could 'rush' an individual without causing injury and the owner could be fined or imprisoned.

He said the definition had taken the matter “too far”.

Equally, Member of Parliament for St Andrew South Eastern Julian Robinson pointed out that dogs could likely be provoked into an attack.

“I understand the need for the legislation, but aspects of it are definitely an overreach,” said Robinson.

The minister, at that time, withdrew several amendments he had brought to the House, noting that the points raised by the members could contribute to making the legislation “more balanced and meaningful”.

Yesterday, the Bill was amended to replace, among other things, the definition of attack to mean “circumstance which results in injury”.

Injury was also redefined to mean “death, disease, or any impairment of an individual's physical or mental condition” and “injury to any animal”.

Chuck reiterated, at the same time, that dog owners have a responsibility to ensure that their animals do not pose a danger to members of the public.

The penalties for people found in breach include incarceration for up to 15 years for death caused by a dog attack, and fines of up to $5 million for injuries.

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