Dog lovers protest law
Published on Thursday, July 3, 2008
An organisation of local dog lovers is hoping get a five-year-old law taken off the books.
The group, ‘People Against Breed Specific Legislation in the Cayman Islands’ (PABSLCI), are protesting the Animals Law (2003 Revision) which prohibits people from importing 15 different breeds of dog into the Cayman Islands.
Among the banned breeds are rottweilers, pit bull terriers, American bulldogs, and the Chinese shar-pei.
What’s more, any of those species which were on the Islands prior to the law being enacted must be spayed or neutered, and micro-chipped, as well as registered with the Department of Agriculture - in addition to having the normal rabies shots required of all dogs.
In an effort to get the law reversed, PABSLCI has launched an online petition. Thus far, some 475 people have put their names to the Internet appeal.
Signing the PABSLCI petition, Cathrine (sic) Welds wrote, “The way a dog behaves depends on how the owner trains them and treats them. If you abuse or train your dog to be aggressive then so shall they be. If they are trained to be friendly and obedient then so shall they be.”
Marcus Stafford suggested, “Deal with dogs and owners on a case-by-case basis and not as a generalization across breeds.”
Troy Brady wrote, “Raising a dog has similarities to raising a child, both can be raised and trained to be upstanding members of society, or be raised/trained/allowed to be
undesirables or violent.
Lifelong dog lover and long-time Cayman resident Willy V Giger told the Cayman Net News that the list of species prohibited by the law “looks very arbitrary to me. I think it has something simply due to the size of the dog. Some people are intimidated by a large dog, for no real reason.
“For example, they have listed the mastiff, when in fact this is quite a gentle animal. Also, they include the Chinese shar-pei, which also a very calm quiet dog.”
Mr Giger himself used to own a mastiff, a 165-pounder named Brutus he considered “gentle”, but the dog died. He would like to get another one, but the Animals Law makes it impossible.
Carolyn Parker, President of the Cayman Islands Humane Society, said: “The law is the law and we must abide by it. And while I do understand that people can be emotional when it comes to their pets, it’s a fact that some dogs have been specifically bred for specific reasons.”
She added: “For example, greyhounds have been bred for speed, terriers to catch rats, and German shepherds have been bred to be guard dogs, to be faithful and protective of their owners, and their territories. It’s just genetics and I don’t think you can easily change a dog’s natural behaviour.”
Mrs Parker said that the Humane Society strongly supports the policy of dogs - of all species - being spayed or neutered, as “there are simply too many dogs on the island and when people don’t look after them properly, or don’t know how, this is when there are problems.”
Bless the Bullys