The Honourable Faris Al-Rawi
Ministry of the Attorney General & Legal Affairs
AGLA Tower, Level 21, Government Campus Plaza
Port of Spain
cc. Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land & Fisheries
Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Rural Development & Local Government
The Honourable Stuart Young, Minister of National Security
Councillor Symon de Nobriga, Chairman, Diego Martin Regional Corporation
Councillor Keeda James, Diego Martin Regional Corporation
Dear Attorney General:
I write as a citizen and member of the Diamond Vale community in search of answers and solutions to the national concern for the care and protection of animals.
My specific matter pertains to two stray dogs which breached my neighbour’s property to attack and kill one of my cats on the morning of 10 May 2020. In the midst of my grief at losing a member of my family, I have made all the relevant reports and complaints to the police, the community street captains, the TTSPCA and the Diego Martin Regional Corporation for immediate assistance to contain or remove the animals, and/or to charge the owner of the animals, as required by the Dog Control Act and Summary Offenses Act.
While I intend to pursue my matter to its conclusion, I am equally concerned about the larger issue that the mechanisms, systems and resources that compel local authorities to act on reports of cruelty or other mistreatment of animals are woefully inadequate, and in the case of Dog Control Units at each Corporation, non-existent. This is what I hope to change.
I have since written to and met with the Councillor Keeda James and Chairman Symon de Nobriga in an attempt to trigger a wider response. My communication was respectfully handled and I await their promised actions to upscale my report to the West End Police Station through the Municipal Police. It is imperative that the police are held accountable for their non-enforcement of the laws regarding straying and/or out of control animals. Otherwise, what’s the point of enhanced legislation? The local government officials also promised to examine how the Corporation can best allocate its resources to provide much needed dog-catching services to its burgesses.
Following up on those actions and discussions and in furtherance of my search for justice and in light of the woeful response to my report at West End, I started an online petition on 22 May to garner support for the matter to be addressed by the Municipal Police attached to the DMRC. The list of supporters (723 to date) and their comments are enclosed (for the Attorney General).
The ordeal and frustrations I have endured since 10 May have compounded my resolve to prompt action on a national level. I will now address the specific gaps that exist, as well as the possible solutions.
The gaps that exist in the national framework for animal welfare must be filled urgently. Legislation is useless without enforcement, regulation and prevention services. Those elected and appointed to positions of authority to manage animal welfare issues must be held accountable to do so. I trust that I will receive confirmation of receipt of this correspondence and updates on any discussions held thereon.