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Illegal dogs find new home

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Seized and exported: Nala, left, and Kinja have found a new home overseas (Photograph supplied)

A pair of illegal pitbull-type dogs seized in Bermuda have found a new home in the United States.

While the exportation is being celebrated by Punish the Deed not the Breed Bermuda, the animal advocacy group is renewing its call for a dog amnesty.

“Kinja and Nala were both seized and exported before the New Year,” a spokeswoman told The Royal Gazette .

“The attachment between an owner and pet is a strong and loving bond and we were overjoyed that the girls were offered the opportunity to export — essentially the opportunity to life.”

Both dogs were taken in by an animal advocate, who “fell in love with the two girls” and provides the group with regular updates. But the spokeswoman added that seeing an owner surrender their “best friend for no just cause or incident is an extremely distressing experience”.

“It is avoidable and should not be permitted in a moral society such as in Bermuda.”

Punish the Deed has been petitioning the Bermuda Government since 2014 to class pitbull terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers as restricted rather than prohibited.

According to the spokeswoman, the group, which has helped re-home three illegal pitbull-type dogs overseas, is now focusing on the “need for amnesty” because exportation is “not a long-term solution”.

“We are able to assist with export through various advocate networks but it is not always possible to re-home Bermuda’s exiled breeds. Also, it is unfair to expect an already overwhelmed network to scramble and find emergency placements for Bermuda’s seized breeds.”

The spokeswoman said an amnesty would allow owners to license and be held accountable for their pets, while ending the “staggering rate of seizures”.

It would also be a move “towards promoting a fair and sensible dog policy for all breeds and all owners in our community”, she added. The group put forward legislation amendments, breed recommendations and suggested licensing restrictions, as well as training restrictions for any large dog breed.

“Our recommendations are in line with the level of training and experience needed to responsibly own and control large breeds,” she said.

The spokeswoman added that the group welcomed the announcement by the Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment in January that good-natured pitbulls could be dropped from the prohibited list as a step in the right direction.

A spokesman for the ministry told this newspaper at the time: “The canine advisory committee submitted their recommendations, which proposed ways in which pitbulls of appropriate temperament can be removed from the prohibited breed list, if they meet temperament criteria and the owners can demonstrate ability to cater to the dogs’ care and security needs.

“The ministry is working on how this recommendation can be piloted, as it has implications on resources and legislation.”

New home: five-year-old Nala was seized on December 16 last year and later taken in by an animal advocate (Photograph supplied)
Chance to live: Kinja (Photograph supplied)