Dog owners can be fined up to three million dollars – The debate on the amendments to the 1877 Dogs Act could not have been timelier for some attorneys following the harrowing incident involving the child in St. Ann. 

Of importance is the issue of dog ownership. Anyone who lives at a premise where a dog is kept and managed will be presumed to be the owner and if the dog is placed under a person’s care and custody at the time of an attack, that person is also treated as the owner.

If someone feeds a stray dog in a public place, they will not be liable for anything done by that dog.  But if you take home and control the stray dog, the person has acquired the status of owner.

There are those who argue that the act has too many teeth but according to the Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, the law acts as a deterrent. Owners can be fined up to 3 million dollars.  

The new amendments to the 1877 Dogs (liability for injuries) Act provide criminal liability in addition to the civil remedy whenever a dog attack takes place.  Previously there were no criminal charges only an avenue to sue the dog owners. Now the owner can be prosecuted once a dog physically attacks a person that results in injury or fear of being bitten. The owner can be fined up to three million dollars

Of importance is the issue of ownership.  What about attacks that take place and no-one knows who the dog owner is?

Managing director of the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Pamela Lawson says her organization provides support to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) whenever incidents like these occur.

Now the dogs are expected to stay here until further notice. There are some grey areas as it relates to what happens during the process of the new legislation and JSPCA is fearing that there will be an increase in dog attack reports which may cause overcrowding.

Now the house is scheduled to close the debate on the amendments to the Dogs Act on Tuesday following several arguments put

According to Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck during a recent debate about the act in parliament, this bill is not intended to frighten dog owners but to ensure that greater care of responsibility is placed on the actions of the animals

Forward by Members of Parliament on October 27, and with the recent attack on the child in Alexandria, St. Ann, over the weekend, it is anticipated to be weighty. It will then go to the senate for future deliberations.