Video: Dog Ban Petition Handed To Government

December 16, 2013

On Friday [Dec 13] two petitions with thousands of signatures were presented to former Minister of Environment & Planning Sylvan Richards, asking the Government to look at the present laws pertaining to banned breeds of dogs.

The situation was spotlighted recently due to the case of “Hershey“, a pitbull puppy who was put down following a campaign to save his life, with an online petition reaching over 2000 signatures.

Hershey had not attacked anyone or done anything wrong, but came to attention after being stolen and recovered by officials. The Government said as he was “an illegal dog” he could not be returned.

Ms Gina Davis said she hopes other pet owners don’t have to suffer the same fate, and said while she recognises everyone has a job to do and that there are laws, changes could be made going forward.

Gina Davis Presents Dog Ban Petition Bermuda, December 13 2013-1

Mr Richards, who no longer holds the portfolio following last week’s Cabinet shuffle, came out to greet Ms Davis on behalf of the new Minister of Environment & Health Trevor Moniz.

Mr Richards said that for the last seven months he was working with a Canine Advisory Committee who were looking at the island’s dog policy, and set to recommend any needed changes. Mr Richards said he has brought Minister Moniz up to speed on the topic, and has encouraged him to continue the work.

Mr Richards said as the Minister he had to enforce the law, and noted that a close family member of his had a pitbull puppy put down as he “enforced the law without fear or favour.”

He said he wanted to make sure the policy going forward is the right policy, and encouraged the group to stay in contact with Minister Moniz.

“I don’t take pleasure in putting down anyone’s dog,” said Mr Richards. “My biggest fear, as the Minister, was that I would get a call one morning that a pitbull or another dog on the banned list, or even the restricted list, had attacked, maimed or killed a child. That’s a call that I never wanted to take.”

Mr Richards said he knew he would “take heat” for enforcing the policy, but said he would much rather “take that heat than heat from a family who have lost a child because a dog had killed their child.”

“I didn’t make the law,” said Mr Richards. “I inherited it. I am going to continue to talk to the Minister, and I would like for your group to stay mobilized, stay active, until we can come up with a policy that works for everybody.”

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  1. You know this might not be politically correct but I just got to say it and take the flack for it later, I wish they would put a ban on some of these two legged dogs who are a menace to society.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Care to elaborate?

      • Black Soil says:

        Don’t let the door hit you on the way out Duane.

        • Black Soil says:

          Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. So let’s license persons to use guns responsibly. It’s the OWNER of a weapon, and not the weapon. Am I mis-understood?

    • Rabbit balls says:

      I’m with Duane for once, it’s a dog for goodness sake, you people want to get your priorities straight. Lets sort the people out first.a

  2. The stats show it all says:

    Whilst I am sad to hear of the death of an animal the responsibility for this must lie with it’s owners. You cannot use ignorance about the law as an excuse. These dogs are on a banned list for a reason, not just “because.” Whilst all dogs are capable of inflicting harm, these breeds in particular WILL inflict fatal and lifelong injuries IF they do attack. That’s not to mean that they will attack, and I’m sure that many are lovely family pets, but unfortunately if they do attack then the consequences are devasting.

    Just last week:

    Fatal dog stats from the US in 2013…notice a pattern?:

    • soldier says:

      @the stats show it all; this is not america we are not part of america so stop using americans and their stats as an example look at our size difference in size and population so what if the breed “has the ability” to inflict lethal injuries so can any Labrador, German Shepard,any retriever, we even have dogs that are considered legal because of fully grown size i.e fox &wolf terriers and also yorkies which are far more likely to bite or attack than a pit its just because of the size they cant inflict as much damage.; and also @shag have you ever seen or expirenced a pissed off poodle i bet you wont be singing the same story

      • Mile High Club says:

        @Soldier – A 5 year old has a chance against a pissed off poodle. They tend to growl, bite to show they are serious and move on. Pits and other similar breeds have the tendency to lock jaws and shake violently TO THE DEATH!
        Big difference. Can you not learn to love another dog breed???? Or are you the type of individual that must have it their way!

        • LOL (original TM*) says:

          “A 5 year old has a chance against a pissed off poodle”

          Not true Standard Poodles are originally hunters and are big enough to inflict a great deal of damage to a 5 year old. I know my family used to breed them and you can make them just a vicious as any “dangerous” breed.

          LOL Its the owners 8 out of 10 times any dog that is properly socialized will have less of a tendency to be vicious unless it is provoked key word Provoked into attacking.

          • Gun Shot says:

            @LOL, I think you are missing the point that @Mile High was making. I believe he drew reference to poodles because an earlier post mention that breed.

        • biggadon says:

          just so you know no breed of dog can actually lock jaws.

          P.S. German Sherpards by far has the strongest bite.

      • Suzie Quattro says:

        A pissed off poodle can give you a nasty ankle bite.

        A pissed off pit bull will kill you.

      • The stats show it all says:

        @soldier – Do you think the dogs know which country they live in? And as I said, every dog does have the ability to inflict injury, but not every dog does so with the same force and persitancy. It is like comparing a road accident with a small car and a HGV….both are capable of having an accident, but all else being the same, someone hit by the HGV is likely to be worse off.

  3. Sandgrownan says:

    To be honest, it’s well known which dogs were restricted or banned. Why have one in the first place?

  4. Shag says:

    A return to the days where anybody could own a pit bull would be a step backwards. Sorry but nobody will convince me that we need to go back there. I’m sure there will be numerous replies about ‘it’s the owner not the dog’, and stories about loving pit bulls that can be faithful family dogs…still doesn’t mean we should lift the ban on those dogs. Get a poodle.

  5. swing voter says:

    look, the breed has been banned for historically documented aggressive and unpredictable behavior. as a victim of a pit bull attack, I find myself crossing the street to give wide birth to these dogs….on one occasion I quickly left a public park when I realized an owner did not have his dog on a leash. These owners may be well intentioned, but at the end of the day, this breed does what it wants, when it wants, regardless of the owners instructions.

    • responsible pet owner says:

      Ok yes the breed has powerful tools like many other large breeds so make laws that only allow responsible people to own such breeds. Give the law some balls to discourage bad ownership. Use the island size to an advantage to regulate breeding and ownership of dogs. There are rules to help irresponsible teenagers to ride control and own motor vehicles. Make laws to help people have the freedom to own and control their beloved pets. Our island home is not very dog friendly at all i would love to see that change.

      • Bermyman says:

        Do you have any concept of the infrastructure it would take to monitor dog owners in order to deem whether they are responsible or not? The sheer man power and administration. The government are currently looking to cut costs, so there is no logical way they are able to just willy nilly set up an organisation to monitor all ‘licensed’ pit bull owners.

        It is a lot more complicated than a little piece of paper with 2000 signatures on it.

        • responsible pet owner says:

          (to Bermyman) I understand it takes work, most things do. God forbid I expect our government to work for the people and make smart decisions. I was just saying that there are better ways to handle things. We are small country. Lets use it to our benefit. As for cost, let the dogs owners cover the cost. Everything in life has a price(Especially on this little rock I call home). I don’t expect something for nothing. Just open your minds, eyes, ears and hearts.

  6. soldier says:

    and lol now im just saying here you all wont have to worry about ya children gettin attacked by pit bulls if u payed some damn attention to what your children are doing come on be foreal how often do you see people walking pits mid day hardly ever because of the insecure bermudains and me personally if i have a pit bull in my yard and some one enters and they get bit O’well then you shouldnt be trespassing on private property. i said that because those who do know people with pits that might attack how often u see that dog act up when the owner is around…. think people think but i would really like to know that nobody has mentioned when was the last reported attack… or has all ths just come up because some @$$ wanted a dog and stole one from a family who trusted the government to inform the police im sure if they knew it would get put down by calling the police they would have looked for it them selves

    • Mile High Club says:

      And will you agree to be held responsible for the 5 year defenseless child that gets torn apart or killed because your pit bull escaped from your yard and attacked them?

  7. Seriously! says:

    I and many other people in Bermuda dont want a poodle, we want pit bulls that is our breed of choice and we should by all accounts be able to have the breed of dog that we choose as long as they are not running amock or hurting innocent children or other animals! No one should be dictated to as to what they can and cannot have in a so called “free” society. As long as our dogs are neutered, licensed and housed correctly not causing grief to the public we should be allowed to have any breed we like. It is a violation of our rights to dictate what breed of animal we are able to own FACT!

    • Suzie Quattro says:

      Any drug dealer thug is allowed any dog they want. How else are they going to protect their stash?

    • Sandgrownan says:

      The law exists to protect everyone. Owning a dog, driving a car, as examples, are not “rights”, they are privileges.
      And the law, acting for society at large, absolutely has the right to dictate to you which dogs you can and cannot have. Pitbulls are considered dangerous.

      You just have to deal with it. Just be thankful, i’d ban all dogs if i had my way.

    • Shag says:

      @seriously.. Well move to some place that allows you to own whatever dog you want. It’s a sad day when you live somewhere that has laws and rules….pfffttt.

    • Mile High Club says:

      Well sorry Seriously! This is Bermuda – NOT Burger King – You can’t always have it YOUR WAY! Get over it!

    • Bermyman says:

      OK, I want to own several guns and have a pit bull. I want to be able to speed my car around, park where I want and drink drive.

      Do you understand why we are not able to do these things? because they endanger other people, that is why the laws exist. A dangerous animal is no exception. They are a potential threat to humans and a well documented one.

  8. swing voter says:

    alla ya’ll want these dogs? Fine, I won’t visit your property, but I will want the right to sue yur azzes when I get attacked in any public place you and your innocent breed find yourselves.

  9. CRAZY RIDER says:

    ban pitbulls but are happy to protect the CHILD MOLESTERS so they can rape over and over and over —-where has the common sense gone

  10. Truth is killin' me... says:

    People that own pitbulls have inferiority complexes. Their dogs cover for their inferiority/low self esteem lack thereof. Stew on that!

  11. Speckled Hind says:

    Can we spare a thought please for the unfortunate folks who have no idea at all that dogs need to be licenced in Bermuda? These people innocently get a dog from someone, not realizing that the person needs to be a a registered breeder, then they take the dog home and it becomes part of the family – all while being completely unaware that it is illegal and that dogs need to be licenced in Bermuda.

    Its not their fault – they just didn’t know these things – I mean did you know? next thing you know they’ll be saying that cars need liecncing too.

    • OMG says:

      Pleaseeeeee this issue has been discussed and documented over many many years – everyone knows that dogs have to be licensed. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse but I do ageee that the people who bred the dog should be the one’s to be brought to Court and fined.

      • Speckled Hind says:

        So sorry I didn’t use the sarcasm key on my computer. After all, the most ridiculous part of thsi story is that the family supposedly did not know that dogs (and dog) needed to be licenced. Yeah right!!

  12. sage says:

    What would you say if ,God forbid, a child was bitten by a rottwieler, akita, staffordshire terrier, mastiff, malinois, doberman,sheppard or ridgeback? These breeds are potentially dangerous and some were removed from the banned list despite being specifically bred and trained to attack humans, pit bulls were bred to fight dogs, and aggression towards humans bred out because you wouldn’t be able to handle a dog before, during and after a fight. When the feds raided Michael Vick some people were surprised to see the “killer pit bulls wagging their tails and then be lifted up and carried like babies by animal control. Teaching youngsters how to read signs of aggression and react in the correct manner could help prevent incidents with any breed.

    • WOW says:

      @Sage thank you! As a matter of fact, pit bulls were bred as working dogs when they were first brought to the USA from Europe and are classified as Nanny Dogs in many states, unfortunately they were also bred to fight. Also, German Sheppard owners in the USA are not allowed to get home owners insurance as they are considered dangerous breeds.

  13. Suzie Quattro says:

    Maybe having a biiiig dog compensates for something…

  14. Al says:

    As someone who has been bitten twice by dangerous breeds that belonged to very respectable and living owners I am glad they are illegal these days and hope the government will make the penalties harsher for breeders.

    Ignorance is no excuse.

  15. not surprised says:

    If this breed is banned, which we know it is. Then why are the people breeding them not serving jail time? Innocent puppies are being killed for doing nothing but beaing born. The people illegally breeding then get away with it all. Once again the criminal has more rights then the victim. Petition to change the laws and punishment. Once criminals start being treated like criminals and paying for their crimes, then we may start seeing a change.

  16. Ernest Hemingway says:

    Here is a summary report:

    And here are the statistics this report it based on:

    Pits and Rottweilers have no place on an island this small.
    I support the ban.

  17. Rockfish#1and#2 says:

    Surely you must be aware of cases where pit bulls have bitten and severely mauled their owners, and even their children.

    They are dangerous and notoriously unpredictable.

  18. Questioning says:

    Whatever happened to holding the Owner’s responsible for their dogs? I for one, love pit bulls, have owned them, and never had a problem.

    I would also be more that willing to pay an increased license fee, or carry a specific type of liability insurance is necessary in order to own another one.

    Stand up and take responsibility…if you want one of these “dangerous” breeds, what if any steps are you willing to take to own one?

    • Ernest Hemingway says:

      That’s a wonderful way of looking at it, the problem is that in order to prove that a dog owner is irresponsible someone has to get maimed or killed. It’s not a gamble we should be making with our children.

      I support the ban.

  19. Speckled Hind says:

    I am interested in owning a mountain lion and am very responsible. I could get one that’s already fully trained and everything. They are very calm animals really. You don’t hear about too many attacks do you? So perhaps they could add ‘and also mountain lions’ when they legalize those pit bulls.

  20. CommonSensenBda says:

    Seems everyone seems to feel that participatory democracy means that “I don’t like that law….I will ignore it and all I have to do is present a “petition” signed by others that feel the same way, so I no longer have to obey that frickin’ law!”

  21. Soldier 1 says:

    There is no such thing as a dangerous or volatile breed. Dogs are like children, they do what they are taught/allowed to do or what they observe people or other animals doing. This so called restricted list needs to be reviewed by not some pash board of directors or tree huggers who have never had any animal experience. By animal experience I mean a person who has been a breeder, trainer,or veteran owner. The pitbull breed was bred to be a human protector. Hence the reason this breed was most used by criminal entities and the most devilized by the upper class communities, in turn highly publicised as a vicious and untrustworthy animal. All pittbulls who have turned on their owners have done so because of the owner mistreating the dog, or the breeds final show of dominance. This show of dominance is a result of the owners inability to recognize what is known as “alarm signals”(normally noticed between 6 and 14 months of age or upon receiving a new owner)and not asserting their dominance over the animal. With its natural dominant mental an physical stature it is easy to channel their determination to overcome and loyalty to their master into fierce aggression.NOT ALL BREEDS ARE FOR EVERYONE. It takes a certain person to own what are known as “alpha breeds”. I have worked with domestic and exotic animals my whole life, An from my experience and from the experience of many others in my field its never the animal its always the owner…..ALL ANIMALS ARE CREATURES OF HABIT.

    • The stats show it all says:

      You say they are bred as “protectors”….and how exactly do they protect their owners?! Yes, by attacking others.

      And how exactly would a child or toddler know how to recognise the “alarm signals”?

      I am sure, as someone who is experienced with animals, that you also know that many of these dangerous breeds have their tails removed, which actually eliminates one of the “alarm signals” that a dog can show…

  22. German Sheperd says:

    Marc wants pit bulls running all over Bermuda.

  23. Smh says:

    The day you are conceived the Lord knows how & when your going to die so no matter how you die it is already Phrophecy!!!

  24. Wonder says:

    Elle The Pit Bull Named 2013 Hero Dog By American Humane Association (PHOTOS)
    Posted: 10/08/2013 2:57 pm EDT

    FOLLOW: 2013 Hero Dog, 2013 Hero Dog Awards, American Humane Association, Elle The Pit Bull Hero Dog, Hero Dog Awards, Hero Dogs, Pit Bull Hero Dog, Pit Bull Hero Dog 2013, Good News
    We’ve already told you that Breed Specific Legislation doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Here’s another pit bull who is proving legislators wrong yet again.

    On Saturday, the American Humane Association named 5-year-old pit bull Elle its 2013 American Hero Dog.

    Elle earned the award for her work as a therapy dog in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., where she helps children learn dog safety and helps people overcome their fear of dogs. She participates in a therapy dog reading program called “Tail Wagging Tales” which was started by her owner, Leah Brewer.

    “The point of the award show is to celebrate these dogs who really work and perform service to humans,” Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, told

    The AHA is also hoping that Elle’s win will help curb misconceptions about pit bulls.

    “The dog community is trying to grapple with issues around what to do with breeds that have some bad reputations,“ Ganzert told TODAY. “This is a fantastic awakening to see a pit bull win.”

    At Saturday’s award ceremony in Los Angeles, Elle was given star treatment after more than 1 million public votes and a panel of animal activists and celebrity judges named her the winner. She even got to meet Betty White, according to her Facebook page.

    • walls says:

      The fatal attack on a 6-year-old Union City boy by a pit bull mix this week is a textbook example for much of what both sides claim in the ever-heated discussion.

      On Monday, Nephi Selu was playing with his family’s 2-year-old, un-neutered male dog in the backyard of his Union City home – and apparently trying to climb onto the dog’s back – when suddenly the animal fatally bit him on the top of the head, police said.

      The dog, named Kava, had shown no previous signs of aggression but was euthanized Tuesday “after the family surrendered legal ownership,” said Union City police Cmdr. Ben Horner. The case appears to be a “tragic accident,” he said.

      The boy had a mild form of autism and lived at the home with his mother, grandparents, aunt Iona Keanaaina and her husband, Keala Keanaaina, and the couple’s seven children. Keala Keanaaina is a former UC Berkeley football player who works as a San Mateo police officer.

      After hearing the commotion from the attack, Keala Keanaaina “removed the dog from the child without an incident,” said attorney Michael Rains, whose law firm represents many Bay Area police agencies. “The dog let loose of the child right away, didn’t bark, didn’t growl, wasn’t aggressive at all.” According to Iona Keanaaina, Kava was kept in the backyard and wasn’t allowed inside the house. The dog was “good with kids, very obedient,” she told reporters. “We never had any problems with him at all.”

      The Santa Clara County medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to officially determine the cause of Nephi’s death.

      Expert not surprised

      Benjamin Hart, professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and an animal behaviorist, said he wasn’t surprised by Iona Keanaaina’s assessment of Kava.

      “It’s quite common for a pit bull to show no signs of aggression,” Hart said Wednesday. “People will call it a nice dog, a sweet dog, even the neighbors – and then all of a sudden something triggers the dog, and it attacks a human in a characteristic way of biting and hanging on until a lot of damage is done.”

      Hart said pit bulls are responsible for about 60 percent of dog attack fatalities each year, which is “way out of proportion” compared with other breeds. Pit bulls make up less than 5 percent of the American dog population.

  25. Wonder says:

    If you don’t know, do what I did…read…research….learn….for the most part, what you hear are myths, fear-mongering and prejudice. A dog is, after all a dog. Anyone who loves animals, it makes no difference what breed, you wasn’t to protect them all. Because, if Bermuda was a country large enough to have lions running wild in jungles where they belong because they are technically not domesticated, and we had laws allowing people to just go and hunt and kill them, that law will need to be changed also. An unjust lW is an unjust law. Btw, who sees dogs running around nowadays. Most people who own pits, have them fenced in. And maybe that is all people want….some regulation, not the wholesale murder of innocent pups, and the cowardly unrealistic fear, that some child will get eaten. I’m not denying that it is impossible. Anything is possible, but unlikely. In Bermuda, there are more pitbulls then all other breeds of dogs combined. Not to mention, any mutt whose identity they cannot call specifically, they call it a pit bull. So, just mix up any dog, and if they can’t tell, it is called a pit. Even if it had no American Pit or the original English Stafford, which by the way, is allowed on the restricted list.

    Check the link below…learn a bit more about the personality of the pit.

    • The stats show it all says:

      Actually they called an unidentifiable dog a “mixed breed.” Those called “pit” are pit.

      • Wonder says:

        In Bermuda, try to register an unidentifiable dog. They label it a pit bull. In fact, in Bermuda, if the dog is mixed and they cannot tell you what it is…it is called a pitbull. That is a fact. If there is no “bloodline” they can trace or they can’t tell what type of dog it is, it is a pit bull.
        There are, very few, true pits in Bermuda. When you consider that a pit is a mix of a terrier and a bully breed. What is in Bermuda are a lot of dogs that are mixed, and have so much other stuff no one can call them anything else, but a pitbull.

  26. Cranberry says:

    When will Bermudian understand that they can’t have what they want just cos they want it.

    The Govt is here for all of us, not just those few who want a dangerous dog.

    Petitions are good for letting the Govt know a group’s feelings on a matter they do not change or make laws.

    Bermuda has an elected government not a committee of Representatives. ..

  27. dats da truth says:

    Opinions are like … everyone has one