Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele has denied reports circulating in the country that he has handed back to a number of dog owners in some of the well-to-do areas of the island their animals that were seized by the Ministry of Health under the Dangerous Dog Act.
The minister made the denials as he expressed reservations about some aspects of the Dangerous Dog Act.
Speaking at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister Steele told reporters that he took a decision to remove some of the Pitbull dogs from the Vector Control Department of Ministry of Health at Queen’s Park to a more humane environment.
The Ministry of Environment had impounded several Pitbull dogs after a series of recent attacks on persons including Government Senator, Peter David.
The Pitbull has been deemed as a dangerous dog according to the Dangerous Dog Act of 2002.
According to Minister Steele, he visited the area and being a dog owner himself, felt that the place was not ideal to house the dogs.
Saying that he is not a fan of the Dangerous Dog Act, the senior government minister indicated that after consulting with some of the dog owners, he teamed up with the Grenada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) to have the dogs housed with them on Lowther’s Lane.
“No dogs have been given back to owners yet. What I did do is when I inspected the location where the Ministry was keeping the dogs, as a dog owner myself I was not comfortable with keeping the dogs there.
“So we made arrangements with specific owners for them to have their dogs kept at the GSPCA in a more humane surrounding until a determination is made by the Ministry i.e. by myself in consultation with the Attorney General and Environment and the Police as to release or not.
“As a dog owner myself, I believe that the dogs should have been kept in a more humane surroundings, so we allowed those arrangements to be made.
Stressing that he was against the law, Minister Steele said he is working with a number of stakeholders to have a more acceptable way of handling situations like these with those impounded dangerous dogs.
“We are working with the GSPCA and Veterinary Clinic and the police to find a more acceptable way forward; finding the balance between the fact that we have to enforce where there are dogs that are creating a menace to society and jeopardising our population and then we also have to recognise that there are individuals who have dogs as pets and should be allowed to keep those dogs as pets”, he said.
“So it is (important) to find that balance but in the interim there have been certain dogs that have been identified to be extremely dangerous and was dealt with accordingly and then I believe that there are other dogs that based on temperament and so could be deemed not to be so and they be dealt with accordingly also,” he added.