(JAMAICA GLEANER) — A government senator has used the recent vicious pit bull attack on a primary school teacher to nudge her colleagues on both sides of the political divide to come up with measures to address the issue of dog ownership.
The St Richards Primary School teacher was reportedly mauled for hours by four pit bulls near her home in Coopers Hill, St Andrew, on Thursday, September 19.
Three of the four dogs have since been euthanised.
Kerensia Morrison last Friday lamented that existing laws do not allow for criminal action against the owners of dogs involved in such incidents, before suggesting that it was time for lawmakers to act.
“The frequency of such attacks demands our immediate attention. Out of this unfortunate attack must come a raft of decisions on how we treat with this issue,” the first-time lawmaker said in the Senate.
“Nobody should be attacked because the owner did not remember to repair the gate or check to see if there is some hole in the fence,” she said.
Morrison got support from Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Donna Scott Motley, who insisted that it cannot be “business as usual after we forget about this incident”.
“What frustrates me is that it is only when we have an event like this that the entire society becomes galvanised about the outcome and then it abates,” said Scott Motley.
“The fact is that pit bulls are banned from entering our island and how they come here is that there is a vast illegal trade, but if they are here and banned, the authorities must do something about them when they discover their presence.”
Morrison described the attack on the sixth-grade teacher as “harrowing and nightmarish”.
She did not offer any proposals on how to address the issue of dog attacks, but pointed to suggestions in the public domain, which include a requirement for citizens to obtain a licence to own “vicious” dogs such as pit bulls; specifications for the height of the fence around the home of dog owners, or whether owners should be allowed to walk these dogs in a public space.
According to persons close to the teacher’s family, she was visited in hospital by the owner of the pit bulls and is recovering after surgery.