St Ann cop issues warning to dog ownersThursday, July 15, 2021
BY AKERA DAVIS
RUNAWAY BAY, St Ann — Rattled by yet another dog attack in St Ann, the third in less than a month, a senior cop in the parish is appealing to dog owners to be more responsible.
“I don't know if St Ann has more vicious dogs than any other parish; but we may have to do something to advise owners of animals to be more careful as it relates to caring for these animals and to ensure that the public is protected,” said commanding officer for the St Ann Police Division, Superintendent Dwight Powell.
The most recent attack involves a 25-year-old security guard of Old Road in Runaway Bay, who was left nursing wounds after dogs attacked him last Wednesday.
The Jamaica Observer sources have reported that Mario Tracey was walking by a neighbour's gate when three dogs escaped from the premises and attacked him. He sustained major injuries to his left wrist and left leg, with less severe injuries all over his body. Tracey was taken to the St Ann's Bay Hospital where he was treated and released.
The Runaway Bay police are investigating to determine what, if any, actions will be taken against the owner of the dogs.
Others who have been viciously attacked by dogs in the parish in recent times include a 15-month-old girl from Brown's Town and 61-year-old Bavette Watson-Balfour from Ocho Rios. Those attacks took place on June 22 and 12, respectively. One of the most widely known cases was the attack on five-year-old Mickele Allen from St D'Acre in the parish who was mauled by dogs last November.
Once it is established that they are negligent, dog owners can be charged with a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to $500,000 or up to six months' imprisonment under the Dogs (Liability for Attacks) Act, 2020.
“I continue to admonish the owners of these animals to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of the public. Owners of the animals are advised that there is an amendment criminalising the act,” said Powell.
Under the Dogs (Liability for Attacks) Act, 2020, “The owner of every dog shall be liable in damages for injury done to any person, or any cattle or sheep by his dogs, and it shall not be necessary for the party seeking such damages to show a previous mischievous propensity in such dog, or the owner's knowledge of such previous propensity, or that the injury was attributable to neglect on the part of such owner.
“Such damages shall be recoverable in any court of competent jurisdiction by the person injured, or by the owner of such cattle or sheep killed or injured.”
The Act further states that, “The occupier of any house or premises where any dog was kept, or permitted to live or remain at the time of such injury shall be deemed to be the owner of such dog, and shall be liable as such, unless the said occupier can prove that he was not the owner of such dog at the time the injury complained of was committed, and that such dog was kept or permitted to live or remain in the said house or premises without his sanction or knowledge”.
Persons found guilty can be fined up to $1 million and could be sentenced to up to 15 years.
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