The New Animal Protection And Control Act

New regulations, fines in Animal Control Bill
By BRENT DEAN ~ Guardian Senior Reporter ~
The proposed Animal Protection and Control Bill mandates the insertion of identification microchips in dogs sold by breeders, a new board to oversee animal control matters and a series of fines for practices such as having dogs without identification collars in public places.
Agriculture Minister Larry Cartwright presented the bill for first reading to the House of Assembly last week. The bill is intended to modernize animal control regulations in the country.
The animal protection and control board would serve as the body empowered to regulate animal control issues. On the islands outside of New Providence, an authority would be established under local government, called the competent authority, to oversee animal control matters.
The animal protection and control board will serve as the competent authority in New Providence. The minister responsible for animal control matters would appoint animal control wardens to carry out the provisions of the proposed law.
The 12-member board would include two veterinarians, a member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, a member from the Humane Society, along with other defined appointees.
The bill mandates annual dog licensing — a practice included in current legislation.
Some of the penalties in the bill include: a $250 fine for having an unlicensed dog, a $50 fine for having a dog without an identification collar in public, a $250 fine for allowing an animal to roam at large, a $50 fine for having an unleashed dog in public, a $500 fine for having an out-of-control dog in a public place and a $100 fine for failure to microchip a dog as prescribed in the bill.
The bill also proposes regulations on animals perceived as dangerous. Under the bill authorities are empowered to make orders that dangerous animals are, for example, spayed or neutered; microchiped for identification; kept in approved enclosures; and muzzled in public.
It would also be mandated that owners pick of the feces of dogs when they defecate in public places. Constant barking or howling, disturbing members of the community, would be considered an offense under the bill.
Penalties are also set out for dogfighting and other forms of animal fighting. Those found guilty would be subject to a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $20,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010