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#388084 - 09/18/10 05:03 PM Dogs and the law
Marty Offline
Dear Editor,

I’ve written this letter in hopes that you may print it. I do realize it’s a little “into the laws”, but I wrote it that way with the purpose of educating the public, who may not have the time to look up these laws themselves.

If I, a layperson, can look up and read these laws anyone can, so please consider this a letter to be of an educational sort, versus being one of complaint, which may or may not come later. And as a layperson I’m sure there are a few things I missed or left out, but it’s a start.

My letter concerns dogs, their owners and the law. It’s mainly dogs being allowed to run free, in packs, and in general, cause mischief (death, in some cases), which is what dogs do when left to their own devices.

It’s also about the owners that allow such behaviors to happen, or even to go further and blame someone else for their dogs’ behavior.

Anyone who’s heard or read the news over the last few months or even further back in time know that this is a problem of serious concern, and it is a problem countrywide.

Now I’m sure dog owners guilty of letting their dogs roam free will take offence at my letter and complain that I have too many cats, or the lady down the road has a rooster that crows too early in the morning etc.

But neither cats nor chickens gang up nor will they chase bicycles/vehicles down the road, or rush out at you threatening to bite as you walk down the road or beach.

Dogs, Chapter 153 – Laws of Beliz Edition 2000 17.

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no owner of a dog shall permit that dog to be at large in any street or place of public resort in any town and any person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence and is, on summary conviction, liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars.

Summary Jurisdiction Chapter 98– Laws of Belize Edition 2000 Petty Offences - 4. – (1) - A person who permits any unmuzzled ferocious dog to be at large or sets on or urges any dog or other animal to attack, worry or put in fear any person or beast; or Criminal Code Chapter 101 Edition 2003- Title VIII Criminal Harm to the Person: Negligence by persons in charge of dangerous things; 95. Every person who – being solely or partly in charge of any steam-engine, ship, boat, horse, or beast, or other dangerous thing or matter of any kind; or (b)……, (c)………negligently causes harm to any person, or negligently endangers the life of any person, shall be liable to imprisonment for two years Village Councils Chapter 88 Edition 2000 - Part IV – Powers and Duties of Village Councils 23. (L) for the regulation of the keeping of dogs and other animals, Public Health Chapter 40 Edition 2000 - I’ll admit that I did not find anything in this Act that specifically states “Dogs”, but we all know that they deal with the dog issues and I’ll refer back to the Dog Act, section 18 – (1) (f) - Subject to this section, the licensing authority of any city or town may place poison in any street or place of public resort in such a city or town for the purpose of poisoning any dog which is at large therein; a public health inspector and a police officer shall accompany each team of a licensing authority which is engaged on a poisoning operation. The public health inspector shall ensure that…

Now no one wants to have dogs poisoned; that the last thing anyone should want to happen, but it is up to the owners of such said dogs to prevent that from happening.

Also I should think if I re-read my copy of the Belize Constitution, I might find something to relate under the “Protection of MY Fundamental Rights and Freedoms,” for example my rights to walk down a public road without fear………in general terms, etc.

Sincerely,
Deborah Coston writing to Amandala

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#388101 - 09/18/10 05:26 PM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
What a great letter.

We experience unruly dog behaviour here on the Caye too. In some areas you simply can't walk past places on the beach for fear of being rushed and attacked. I had a problem in my area for a while but thankfully the neighbours were quick to make changes when they were alerted to the bad behaviour of their animals.

I fear that a child will be mauled by some of the packs of dogs we have running around. I suspect that unrestrained pet dogs that run out and attack folks going to and from school and work on their bikes was the reason behind a terrible rash of pet poisonings that occurred earlier this year on the island.

A little more responsible dog ownership would be greatly received.

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#388108 - 09/18/10 06:49 PM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: Marty]
samray Offline
I have lived in San Pedro for over 3 years and have only seen one "owned" beach dog that was potentially vicious. The majority of owned and unowned dogs are very social and enjoy each others company. My best days ever on this island are watching the dogs play and run and jump around in the ocean. I have watched visitors adopt them while they are here, giving them food and affection. I have seen kids hit dogs with their hands or with sticks, for no apparent reason. My dog comes with me everywhere, not only because he is family, but to also protect me from some vicious humans. Sit on the beach, watch 10 bicycles go by and notice which one gets barked at......its never a tourist. Dogs by far, are smarter than most people. They do not generally attack unless provoked or are protecting their owner/property. More people should watch the Dog Whisperer and learn how to approach dogs or what to do in case of a potential attack.

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#388117 - 09/18/10 09:42 PM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
I agree that the majority of the dogs here are sociable and love to play and love people. I also agree that there are many responsible pet owners that wander the island with their dogs and the animals are well behaved.

I have seen many more potentially vicious dogs than you have. And I have seen the dog bites to both full time residents and tourists that were attacked while they were riding bikes up and down the beach.

Indeed many kids (and their grown-ups) are cruel to animals here - it is one of the few behaviors that I find terribly upsetting.

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#388118 - 09/18/10 09:44 PM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
Colette Kase's Be Kind Belize is a great course that is introducing children to animals. She explains to them that animals have feelings, emotions and feel pain. It will take a few generations for this information to become widely acceptable, but I have seen the kids become more compassionate after an afternoon in Colette's classroom.

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#388120 - 09/18/10 10:57 PM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: Amanda Syme]
SnoopysMom Offline
I have observed dogs "caretaking" small children (way too small to be by themselves!) playing in the ocean on more than one occasion. Better parents than their parents.... Totally taken for granted. Kinda heart breaking.

Like Amanda, I have seen a handful of dogs that are too aggressive / vicious to be allowed to roam around freely and chase golf carts and bikes. Some of them pit bull mixes. It is just remarkable that more children have not been hurt. I always carry rocks in my golf cart / empty beer bottles just in case.... and had to use them yesterday in fact.

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#388121 - 09/19/10 12:16 AM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: SnoopysMom]
Ernie B Offline
SnoopysMom, be dang certain dem beer bottles are empty.
_________________________
Gun Control is Hitting Your Target.

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#388124 - 09/19/10 04:54 AM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: samray]
hair2do Offline
You made some really good points,I love the part where you write see who the dog barks at.thanks

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#388165 - 09/20/10 04:21 AM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: Marty]
HUMANE SOCIETY Offline
Its easy to read the laws and ask why? Why the laws are not enforced? Why the dog owners dont care for their dogs? We are in a current struggle on this issue. First its a Cultural thing, when puppies grow up they are often given to the streets. We have had some luck getting the locals to make reports to the police about attacking and abused animals but until of late the Police will not take reports as they should. we are working on that. We cant do anything without official reports made. Unless you are in the middle of the crisis you just cant read the laws and think things should be different. Education is the key and its slow..baby steps at best.

http://www.cayecaulkerhumanesociety.com/

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#388195 - 09/20/10 11:35 PM Re: Dogs and the law [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
Before I moved to San Pedro I was terrified of dogs. The dogs here have taught me so much. Much like the folks who have lived here for a long time, the dogs all get along. They have their rituals and heirarchy and territories and an understanding of these.
Having adopted a couple of pot-lickers I started watching the Dog Whisper and have learned how to be the alpha dog. Even the "pack" at the bridge no longer scare me. I do not run from them; I stop - look then in the eye and say "sisst." Shocking that it actually stops them.

AND - no - I do not need reminded that two of my dogs are among the free that so many people don't like.

How often do you remind people to not come here and try to change the people already here? I feel the same way about dogs. With the proliferation of petty crime dogs are our best safeguard.
_________________________
Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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