Illegal dogs flown to US for rehoming
Seven illegal dogs have been flown to the United States in an attempt to find them new homes.
The move is a last-ditch attempt to find an alternative to the animals, all pitbull-type dogs, being put down and came after Walton Brown, Minister of Home Affairs, contacted an American animal charity.
Mr Brown said: “All of these dogs are illegal dogs and have come into our custody over the past few months.
“They are all pitbull-type dogs and, therefore, a prohibited breed which cannot be rehomed locally.
“We will assess how this method works and go from there, but I think it would be helpful to have this avenue to export animals going forward.”
Mr Brown said: “It’s been an incredible team effort to save these dogs. The dog wardens have worked tirelessly to care for these dogs since they came into their care.
“They handled the daily care of the dogs, the vaccinations, secured the transport crates, socialised some of the dogs and prepared the dogs for transportation.”
The mercy flight came as a result of a partnership between the Ministry of Home Affairs and Angels Helping Animals, a Massachusetts-based animal rescue organisation.
Mr Brown contacted the charity several months ago because of a growing number of prohibited dogs being held by the island’s animal wardens.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry said that flying dogs off the island was expensive.
She added that Angels Helping Animals had pledged to cover the costs with the help of donations and the work of volunteers in Bermuda and the United States.
The dogs left Bermuda for Newark, New Jersey, on a cargo plane on Tuesday night and were handed over to Angels Helping Animals on arrival.
Ashley Medeiros, an adoption counsellor with the group, told The Martha’s Vineyard Times that two of the dogs would be going to relatives of their Bermudian owners.
“They’re trying to get visas to move to the US so they can get their dogs back,” Ms Medeiros said.
Some of the puppies may become available for adoption in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachuesetts.
Ms Medeiros said Bermuda had a “barbaric” way of thinking about dog breeds.
She said: “Simply because of how they look, they are an illegal breed in Bermuda.”
Breeding pit bulls has been illegal in Bermuda since 2003.
Mr Brown has signalled that Government is examining the island’s dog legislation and two public meetings on the subject were held last October.
However, the spokeswoman said no updates were available on that work.
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