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Parliament Endorses Stringent Animal Bill

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Contact: Primus Hutchinson

Thursday, July 10, 2003 - Animal owners will soon have to adopt a more professional approach to animal rearing. That’s according to the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, who is also the Parliamentary Representative for Anse La Raye/ Canaries, Honourable Cyprian Lansiquot. Mr. Lansiquot tabled the Animal Act 2003 at this week’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

In tabling the Animal Act, Mr. Lansiquot stated that the government needs to put measures in place to ensure that animals on the island are well protected. He made reference to the danger that stray animals pose to motorists on the highways - a situation that must be addressed promptly. The Act makes provision for the protection of animals from cruelty and also details regulations to properly control them.

The parliamentary secretary says, the bill places heavy emphasis on potentially dangerous dogs. According to Mr. Lansiquot, “the bill seeks to address this in a very serious manner, whereby owners of these animals will have to adhere to very stringent legislation.”

Mr. Lansiquot made specific reference to Pit Bulls, Alsatians and Rottweilers, which he said are among those dogs considered to be potentially dangerous. “Under this part of the bill, persons are prohibited from importing into St. Lucia, potentially dangerous dogs and there are requirements for such animals to be registered and licensed,” Mr. Lansiquot said.

The bill also makes provision for the owner of potentially dangerous dogs to hold an insurance policy.

In addition, the bill states that the owner of a potentially dangerous dog must display in a prominent place on his or her property, a notice indicating that such an animal exists on the premises.

The bill also states that the owner of a potentially dangerous dog is liable for injury or death caused by that animal. The owner is also liable for injury when he or she incites the animal to attack.

Moreover, the bill makes provision to impose penalties on owners whose animals pose a threat to persons and public property. The bill went through all its readings in Parliament and is currently awaiting endorsement by the Senate.

The Ministry of Community Development and Local Government, has been mandated to oversee the smooth operation of this new piece of legislation, when it comes into effect.

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