112 illegal dogs registered
An amnesty on illegal dogs saw more than 100 registered, with one-third of the animals brought in on the last day.
However three illegal pit bull terrier puppies were seized and put to sleep in the week following August 31, the date on which the amnesty ended.
A Government spokeswoman said: “On August 31, the final count was 112 participants. Approximately one-third of all participants came in to register their dogs on the final day of the amnesty.
“Going forward, following the amnesty, it is important to note that owners of illegal dogs will be prosecuted and should expect to find themselves in court when caught.”
All of the animals registered during the six-week amnesty must be spayed or neutered by the end of November or owners may be prosecuted.
The amnesty was intended to help halt the breeding of illegal animals and re-educate the public on dog legislation.
“It is important for the public to remember that breeding requires a licence. The purpose of this stipulation is to regulate the breeding of dogs for several reasons.
“These reasons include animal cruelty prevention, protecting the public from dangerous breeds of dogs that are regulated and should not be reproduced or imported and ensuring the premises where dogs are bred are suitable,” the spokeswoman added.
Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Minister Walter Roban said Government was aware there were a number of unregulated dogs, but he could not give exact numbers as to how many.
“We have got to get a better handle on this situation, which is why we are having this amnesty,” he told the House of Assembly in July.
SPCA director Kim Sherlaw said yesterday: “We don’t support the banning of breeds, but we do support responsible ownership.
“I’m happy to hear so many Bermudians came forward and did the right thing so that they could keep their dogs.
“Unfortunately there was a loss of life but people do need to abide by Bermuda’s laws.”
Ms Sherlaw urged animal owners who did not take advantage of the amnesty to take their pets to the SPCA, to veterinarians or to Government.
“If you did not get them licenced, do not abandon them or harm them out of fear,” she said. “You can come forward to us, no questions asked.
“We have already seen a couple of abandoned or neglected dogs.”
Six illegal pit bulls were given to the SPCA in the last two weeks of the amnesty, she said. They have since been put up for adoption.
According to the law, dogs that are the product of illegal breeding (breeding without a licence) or dogs of an illegal breed born after July 2003 are illegal.
Restricted dog breeds include, but are not limited to, Akitas, American bulldogs, American pit bull terriers, Rottweilers and Wolf Hybrids.
lUseful websites: www.gov.bm, www.spca.bm.