The Department of Agriculture & Fisheries has partnered with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) to form a special task force to clamp down on stray animals in the territory.
Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Theodore James indicated that this was as a result of increasing complaints by members of the public on the issue.
As such, he is urging animal owners — particularly those who own dogs — to have them leashed and kept on private properties.
“I have seen dogs attack joggers. I have seen dogs attack women and children. I have seen damage to vehicles as a result of goats climbing and jumping on the hood and roof, vehicle collision involving cattle and sheep and massive property damage to water pipes and gardens by cattle,” James said in a media release.
He continued: “We have partnered with the RVIPF to ensure the law is enforced and owners are held accountable for the actions of their animals.”
James further said the issue poses major threats to the community and has, therefore, become a major priority for his department.
“Our children walk to school and attend after-school programmes. Many persons walk to church, jog in the morning and at night. We have family activities on the beach. We should not have to fear being mauled by dogs or livestock when walking on the public road. If we love our pets and livestock, let us adhere to the law,” James argued.
Do not feed them
In the meantime, residents are being urged to report any sighting of stray animals and refrain from feeding them.
“Should damage caused by stray animals occur, please document and inform the department by telephone 284-468-6123. All unwanted pets can be surrendered to the BVI Humane Society,” the aforementioned media release further said.
Owners are also being reminded that it is illegal to have dogs on the beach outside the hours of 6 am to 8 am and 5 pm to 7 pm. Dog owners should keep dogs on a leash at all times when outside of their premises. According to the Dogs (Prevention of Injury to Persons, Livestock and Poultry) Act, 2001, failure to abide by this law will result in a fine not to exceed $250.
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