‘Horrible’ incidents with dogs have skyrocketed since pit bull breeding rules were relaxed – The Royal Gazette

A pitbull-like dog: ‘Horrible’ cases of animal cruelty, abandonment and injury have risen since the government eased restrictions on the breeding of illegal pitbull dogs (file photo)

‘Horrible’ cases of animal cruelty, abandonment and injury have risen since the government eased restrictions on the breeding of illegal pit bull dogs, a government minister admitted yesterday.

Walter Roban, the Home Secretary, said the abuse and “arming” of animals had “come out of the shadows”.

He also revealed that four incidents related to pit bulls could lead to prosecution.

Mr. Roban said The Royal Gazette“What I am finalizing now is greater power for our dog guards to act more decisively.”

He said the move would be in place “very quickly to provide more support for our goalkeepers”.

“These are regulations that will be adopted by negative resolution. When completed in the right way, they will be released and later go to the House at the appropriate time, which is the way to get them up and running quickly.

Mr Roban specifically ruled out reimposing tough restrictions that were lifted by Parliament in 2018, when the euthanasia of banned breeds drew widespread public condemnation.

“We have moved away from euthanasia as a policy,” he said. The Royal Gazette.

But in a statement today, Mr Roban called on those who have fought restrictions on the breed to stand up to ensure the welfare of dogs, following attacks and neglect.

He said: “When the government suspended the legal breeding of pit bull dogs, there was a public outcry calling for the rules to be relaxed.

“Since the rules were relaxed, incidents of animal cruelty, abandonment and injury have increased, and those loud voices have gone silent.

“I now call on the voices who have advocated for legislative change to support the safe and responsible care of all animals.”

Dog advocates: Main issue is breeding for profit

Punish the Deed not the Breed, advocates for pit bulls and other restricted dogs, said the group “has always stood for responsible ownership”.

A statement released last night said the group had spoken out on sites such as Pet Connection’s Facebook page and were not “silent”.

The group said some of its dog law proposals had been dropped by lawmakers, including a call to ban outdoor tethered dogs.

“Members of our group have helped many puppies and older dogs to be legalized where we can and we provide owner education where we see the need,” the statement read.

“Just because we don’t make headlines doesn’t mean we don’t continue to do all we can, often out of our own pockets. We are a very small group of volunteers who have been fortunate enough to obtain sponsors on a case-by-case basis in certain emergency situations.

The group said the island needs “adequate responses from custodians when illegal litters are reported”.

“We have people contacting us for help because they have reported abuse and litters to guards only to be told they are afraid to enter homes or are too busy to answer calls . We do our best to work with the guards.

“The number one problem as we see it is farming for profit.

“Profits must be taken from illegal litters and breeders must be held accountable in court, paying large enough fines to spay and neuter puppies that have been seized.

“Seizing puppies and adopting them is something we have always advocated for.”

The group said the costs of neutering and neutering were “prohibitive,” noting that the SPCA recently launched a grant program.

“To say that only pitbull-type dogs are involved in attacks is disingenuous.

“We have heard first hand of attacks from dogs of multiple breeds. However, the only ones making it to the media seem to be those who look like pit bulls.

Mr Roban said a high-profile incident on Front Street on July 27, which resulted in the death of a pit bull and the injury to a police officer, was just one of many troubling issues surrounding the race in the past two weeks.

“On July 21, animal sitters recovered a stray black and white pit bull in Pembroke,” he said. “The dog had numerous large raw skin lesions along the back, from the head to the middle of the abdomen.

The injuries looked like “second degree burns”, leaving the dog in so much pain that the head vet chose to put him down.

Without identification on the dog, the owner could not be found.

Mr Roban said it was not clear if the animal’s injuries were intentional, but he had been in pain for “several days”.

“On July 20, animal sitters and police attended the bloody scene at a residence in Warwick, where two stray pit bull dogs entered a house and attacked the resident dog.

“In his defense and that of his dog, the owner allegedly stabbed one of the attacking dogs. The stabbed dog died of his injuries and the investigation is still ongoing.

Mr Roban said the photographs of the incidents were “too gruesome for public consumption”.

He said they highlighted the increasing occurrences of illegal dogs, abused animals, unsocialized dogs and irresponsible owners who had neighbors “living in fear”.

“This has resulted in at least four active cases related to pit bulls which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will present to the Department of Public Prosecutions for review.”

He added that dog sitters continue to collect unclaimed, often euthanized animals, including 15 since May.

OBA reaction

Shadow Legal and Home Affairs Minister Scott Pearman said:

The recent increase in incidents involving pit bull terriers is of concern to our community.

For an animal to have to be put down after apparent mistreatment by humans is appalling.

The Minister is right to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility in the care and treatment of animals. He has broad opposition support in this regard.

The change in the rules regarding dangerous dogs needs to be reconsidered to ensure that the right balance is maintained.

Bermuda SPCA executive director Kate Terceira said that while the charity “agreed that the community should all take care of their animals, including pit bulls, the SPCA does not have the power to enforce the dog law.

Ms Terceira urged enforcement with ‘not just removal of the dog without a license, but banning, fines or harsher penalties for those who break the law’.

She said rules on breeds deemed dangerous, pit bulls in particular, appeared to be “major contributors” to illegal breeding, non-compliance with licensing rules and abuse – mainly due to the non-application.

“The SPCA adheres to restricted breed requirements when repatriating dogs, but the requirements aren’t always enforced in the community otherwise,” she said.

“The SPCA strongly believes that no dog that has been removed should be returned unneutered, as this simply allows the cycle to continue.

“Our community is currently inundated with illegally and irresponsibly bred, restricted and unrestricted dogs. We have reached a crisis point.

Ms Terceira called it ‘imperative’ that the charity be given a seat at ‘a roundtable with the agencies involved and the Minister to discuss the changes that need to be made to the current Dog Law and Pet Laws. care and protection”.