Minister Walter Roban Concern Over the Growing Number of Pitbull-Related Incidents

The public would recall the incident last week, Wednesday, July 27, on Front Street, Hamilton, involving the Bermuda Police Service that resulted in the death of a pitbull dog.

I can confirm that Officers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also attended the scene that afternoon.

While this outcome was unfortunate, it is essential to point out that this incident is the latest in a series of matters involving pitbulls over the last two weeks.

On July 21, Animal Wardens collected a stray black and white pitbull in Pembroke. The dog displayed many large, raw skin lesions along its back, from its head to mid-abdomen. The lesions resembled second-degree burns marks, and the dog was in so much pain that the Chief Veterinary Officer elected to euthanatise the animal. Unfortunately, because the dog had no means of identification, the owner could not be identified or contacted. It remains unclear whether the lesions were the result of intentional abuse, accidental burn, or scalding, but it is clear that this animal suffered from those wounds and was in pain for several days.

On July 20, Animal Wardens and Police attended the bloody scene of a Warwick residence, where two straying pitbull dogs gained entry into a home and attacked the resident dog. In defence of himself and his dog, the homeowner reportedly stabbed one of the attacking dogs. The stabbed dog died from injuries, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Photos of these incidents are too gruesome for public consumption.

These matters highlight the increasing occurrences of illegal dogs, abused animals, unsocialized dogs and irresponsible ownership. Irresponsible keeping has led to attacks on people, animals and neighbours living in fear. It has resulted in at least four active pitbull-related matters that DENR will present to the DPP for consideration.

The Department has taken a tough stance against owners who commit violations of the Dogs Act 2008 or the Care and Protection of Animals Act 1975. Additionally, Dog Wardens continue to collect animals that go unclaimed and end up euthanatized; there have been 15 cases since May 1.

When the Government suspended the legal breeding of pitbull dogs, there was a public outcry calling for the relaxation of rules. Since the rules were relaxed, incidents of animal cruelty, abandonment and injuries have risen, and those loud voices have fallen silent. I now call upon those voices that advocated for legislative change to support the safe and responsible keeping of all animals.

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