Government Senator, Kerensia Morrison is urging the Government to move swiftly to amend the 1877 Dogs (Liability For Injuries by) Act, to hold dog owners accountable for the actions of their animals.
In a motion tabled in the Senate on Friday (November 8), Senator Morrison said the provisions under the Act have proven insufficient to encourage vigilance and discourage neglect.
“Be it resolved that the Government moves with urgency to amend the legislation to reflect more effective penalties including criminal prosecution for negligence on the part of dog owners,” she stated.
“And be it further resolved that consideration be given by the Government for legislation to be enacted for the regulation of dog ownership such as the registration and grading of dogs in particular with respect for known aggressive breeds,” she added.
Senator Morrison’s remarks comes against the background of recent dog attacks on several Jamaicans, who have been left with serious wounds.
She pointed out that the traumatic attacks on the public by dogs persist, despite years of public outcry, noting that such attacks sometimes result in serious injury.
She further argued that the cost to recover damages may prove prohibitive for some victims, noting that greater vigilance by those with responsibility for dogs might reduce the incidents of such attacks.
The 1877 Dogs (Liability For Injuries By) Act states that the “owner of every dog shall be liable in damages for injury done to any person, or any cattle or sheep by his dogs ….”
The law also states that such damages shall be recoverable in court of competent jurisdiction by the persons injured, or by the owner of such cattle or sheep killed or injured.