Call to target owners, not dogs

KINGSTON — Pamela Lawson, managing director of the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is disagreeing with calls to ban certain dog breeds.

Staff at the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say this five- year-old pit bull Milo is great with children. Like all dogs, it can become aggressive, especially if it feels its territory or master is being threatened.

The calls have come since the mauling of two-year-old Ronicka Gregory in St. Catherine by a pit bull terrier.

Some animal experts, including Dr. St Aubyn Bartlett, want registering of all dogs and legislation for specific breeds considered dangerous.

Lawson agrees Jamaica’s animal laws are antiquated and some registration is needed, like the fact that there is no legal requirement for persons to breed dogs. But she suggests a ban on specific breeds is not the answer. She said any dog can become aggressive, even shih-tzus and poodles, if they are not properly socialised.

Lawson refutes claims that dogs like pit bulls and Rottweilers are the most dangerous.

“We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of dog attack cases over the last few years and the majority of them are your good old mongrels,” she said, opining these dogs are most likely to be found in groups.

“Like wayward teens, they are going to get up to mischief,” she reasoned, assuring that the majority were not violent.

Lawson said even a house-broken, well-groomed dog can snap because something a human did triggered the reaction. To underline the point, her colleague Dr. Paul Turner pointed to the dog which mauled young Ronicka.

“This dog showed no sign of aggression when we brought him in,” he said.

“He even came up to me and licked my hand.” (Gleaner)

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