UPDATE as of 12 March:
Department of Agriculture and RCIPS Clarify Actions Taken Following Seizure of Dogs on 7 March
Following allegations made on social media with respect to the above operation where three dogs were surrendered and later euthanized, the Department of Agriculture and RCIPS would like to issue the following clarification of events, and provide some insight into the policies in dealing with such matters.
On Thursday, 7 March, the DOA’s Senior Animal Welfare Officer and RCIPS Community Police Officers from West Bay attended a residence on Watercourse Road following numerous complaints about three roaming and aggressive dogs that chased passersby and cyclists, causing fear to those in the area and in one known instance, an injury to a passerby. When they arrived, officers found the dogs at the location unsecured and roaming freely.
The owner of the dogs was spoken to and it was established that he had been warned by the DOA on two previous occasions for having the same dogs unsecured at a prior address. On the second occasion, in late 2018, the dogs were impounded by the DOA, who then worked with the owner to license the dogs, and also allowed the owner to make adjustments to the property in order to be able to properly secure the dogs. The dogs were then returned to the owner.
The owner had since moved to the current location and again failed to keep the dogs secured, resulting in the concerns of other members of the community. The dogs were also missing the license identification tags that they had been provided. Based on these circumstances, the owner agreed to surrender possession of the dogs to DOA custody and signed the “Agreement for Surrendering Animals” form. It should be noted that in doing so the ownership of the dogs was transferred to the DOA. In accordance with the law, dogs surrendered to the DoA that are of prohibited breeds are euthanized by the Licensed Veterinarian. The owner was informed of this when the dogs were surrendered.
The owner later asked the DoA to hold the dogs while a home in Ontario, Canada was secured for them. The DoA informed the owner that this would be considered, however it was not department policy. After assessing the dogs, and based on their breed, behavior, previous complaints of harassing and causing injury to the public, and the fact that Ontario does not accept prohibited breeds, a decision was made to proceed with euthanizing the dogs.
“While this situation is unfortunate, and we sympathize with the feelings of the former owner, we have followed Department of Agriculture policy and the law,” said Brian Crichlow, Acting Director for the DOA. “This is why it is especially important to follow the law when it comes to securing your animals. While we do work with members of the public as much as possible to educate and provide opportunities for them to come into compliance, as we did in this case, at a certain point education must be followed by enforcement. Unfortunately, it is often the animals that end up paying the price.”
On Thursday, 7 March, community police officers in West Bay, along with staff from the Animal Welfare and Control Unit of the Department of Agriculture, conducted an operation on Watercourse Road in response to reports of members of the community being attacked by dogs in the area.
The RCIPS and DOA officers attended the location where the majority of the incidents had been reported and observed dogs at a residence that were not properly secured and were roaming freely outside the premises.
The officers made contact with the dogs’ owner, and informed him of the reports that had been made. The owner admitted that he had been warned on two previous occasions following similar reports, and confirmed that the dogs had been impounded by the DOA in late 2018 before being licensed and released into his care. However, the dogs were observed to not be wearing their license and identification tags.
The animals were seized from the owner, who relinquished custody of the dogs to the DOA.