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Senators approve new dog legislation

Off the list: Legislation to take pitbulls off the list of prohibited breeds has won the approval of the Senate (Illustration by Google Images)

Legislation to take pitbulls off the list of prohibited breeds has won the approval of the Senate.

The Dogs Amendment Act 2018 received support from both parties and independent senators in the Upper House.

Crystal Caesar, Progressive Labour Party senator, said the Bill will move several dog breeds from the “prohibited” to the “restricted” categories.

Ms Caesar said the Bill will also bring the Dogs Act 2008 into effect, which creates civil penalties related to dog ownership so offences can be dealt with faster and without the use of the courts.

The legislation also introduces new animal welfare regulations.

James Jardine, independent senator, said the legislation was a good step forward, but added: “I think the Government needs to go further.”

Mr Jardine said many of the fees included in the Bill were too low. He told the Senate evidence suggests poor treatment of dogs is often the root cause of aggressive behaviour.

Mr Jardine also raised concerns about enforcement, given that there are only four animal wardens.

He said: “I’m not sure if four people are enough to make sure the amendment and the 2008 Act are enforced.”

Mr Jardine also asked if the rules to not allow owners to crop their dogs ears or dock their tails would prevent the importation of dogs that had been cropped or docked.

Ms Caesar later answered the legislation only prevented cropping and docking in Bermuda, and that docked animals could still be brought to Bermuda.

Nandi Outerbridge, One Bermuda Alliance senator, said the community must play their part to prevent animal abuse.

She said: “If you see something, say something. Many times I have called the dog wardens to say a property has a dog being mistreated.”