Animal activist: Establish unit to deal with strays

An­i­mal rights ad­vo­cate Jow­elle De Souza wants the Gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish an an­i­mal po­lice unit to en­force manda­to­ry spay­ing and neu­ter­ing of stray an­i­mals across T&T.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence held at her sa­lon in San Fer­nan­do on Mon­day, De Souza said there should be stiffer penal­ties for those ill-treat­ing an­i­mals.

De Souza called on Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith to as­sist in re­duc­ing T&T’s stray an­i­mal pop­u­la­tion by es­tab­lish­ing such a unit.

“An­i­mal wel­fare must be a na­tion­wide ef­fort and should be done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the NGO’s through­out T&T.

We call up­on the re­spec­tive min­is­ters to take charge and as­sist us with build­ing a new and im­proved coun­try where all an­i­mals are giv­en a right to live in dig­ni­ty,” De Souza said.

She wel­comed the sug­ges­tion by Rur­al and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Kaz­im Ho­sein to build sev­en an­i­mal pounds across the coun­try.

De Souza said these pounds should be man­aged as an­i­mal shel­ters. In an in­ter­view, Ho­sein agreed that spay­ing and neu­ter­ing of stray an­i­mals should be manda­to­ry. He said once the pounds are set up an adop­tion dri­ve will be es­tab­lished in con­junc­tion with var­i­ous NGO’s

“We are in the process of ac­quir­ing funds to be­gin con­struc­tion of the San Fer­nan­do pound,” Ho­sein added.

De Souza said the State should “em­ploy care­tak­ers and staff to feed, clean and sani­tise the shel­ters. There should al­so be an adop­tion pro­gramme.

Pounds should not be kill in­sti­tu­tions.”

Con­tact­ed for com­ment, Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Clarence Ramb­harat said it was the first time he was hear­ing of De Souza’s pro­pos­als.

“I would be hap­py to dis­cuss with the stake­hold­ers. In 2016, I re­ferred some as­pects of an­i­mal care to the Zo­o­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of T&T for at­ten­tion and the cur­rent draft An­i­mal Health Bill in­cludes some as­pects of care for an­i­mal well-be­ing.

These pro­pos­als are wel­comed as they deal with do­mes­ti­cat­ed an­i­mals,” Ramb­harat added.

Reporter: Radhica De Silva