Harsher penalties coming for owners of dogs that attack people

Minister with oversight for Information Karl Samuda (left) in discussion with Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange (centre); and Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, during a post-Cabinet press briefing, at Jamaica House on Wednesday, January 15. (Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson, JIS)

The Government is taking steps to craft legislation to impose harsher sanctions for the owners of dogs that attack, injure and or cause the death of a person.

This follows Cabinet’s approval for a proposed reform to the Dogs (Liability of Injuries By) Act, by repealing and replacing it with a new law that will provide for criminal and civil liability for an owner of a dog that attacks, injures and or causes the death of a person.

Making the announcement at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Minister with oversight for Education, Youth and Information, Karl Samuda, explained that approval was granted for drafting instructions to be given to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.

The legislative changes come in the wake of recent dog attacks on several Jamaicans.

In September last year, pit bulls attacked a teacher, leaving her with serious wounds, which caused her to be hospitalised for a prolonged period.

“I’m sure she is going to bear the effects of that attack for the rest of her life. She is being attended to as we speak, because it will require a lot of work beyond the particular hospital treatment that she has received,” the minister said.