OBA’s Fahy On Pitbull Rules & Regulations

May 25, 2012

Pitbulls should remain on the banned list until Government gets serious about making the current laws and regulations effective, Opposition Senator Michael Fahy said.

Senator Fahy said once measures have been put in place, the OBA believe pit bulls could be moved from the banned list to a “Restricted List”, which imposes conditions which must be met by the owner of a pit bull.

Environment Minister Marc Bean recently told ZBM that he is considering a change to the policy which bans pitbulls.

Senator Fahy said, “Recent calls for pit bulls to be taken off the banned breed list, or to be left on it, may well have been made in error. The fact is the pit bull situation is actually two problems intertwined.

“The first problem is that the present population of pit bulls is not being properly controlled, and the second is that we lack a suitable platform for well-managed pit bull ownership in the future.

“The One Bermuda Alliance agrees that pit bulls, despite their strength, their aggression and sometimes their unpredictability, can be managed by responsible owners in such a way that they pose little or no threat to the general public.

“We have consulted with many people in the community, including local vets and several animal welfare experts. We’ve  looked also at how other jurisdictions handle the problem.

“We have concluded that the breed should remain on the banned list until Government gets serious about making the current laws and regulations effective. If the law had been enforced strictly, for example, there would be no pit bulls in Bermuda under the age of eight years. But there are more pit bulls than ever now.

“Illegal breeding of pit bulls has to be stopped. There is only a small gene pool of these animals in Bermuda, and inbreeding, which is rampant, contributes to the aggression and unpredictability of the local breed population.

“The dog licensing system in the Ministry of the Environment seems to be ineffective. There is a huge number of unlicensed dogs on the system (and no doubt not on the system), and the animal wardens seem to have been unable to bring their owners to book.

“Dogs that attack other animals, or humans, must be dealt with properly. It is our understanding, for example, that one off-duty warden has been attacked on two separate occasions by the same dog. The dog remains free however and, in the circumstances, is a serious danger to the public.

“We believe that the Dogs Act should be re-examined, and amended so as to provide magistrates, for example, with a range of severe penalty options for owners who fail to take proper care of their dogs, in addition to ordering that a dog should be put down.

“Owners of dogs that attack other animals or humans must be prosecuted, and they must understand that careless handling of their dogs can result in serious penalties, perhaps including being sent to prison.

“Once these things measures have been put in place and Government has demonstrated its ability to move forward with them, we believe pit bulls could be moved from the banned list to a “Restricted List”, which imposes conditions which must be met by the owner of a pit bull.

“These conditions should include:

  • Having a completely fenced-in or walled-in yard in which the dog is kept, and from which it cannot escape.
  • The owner must not leave the dog tied up. It must have proper socialization and human interaction. This breed of dog should not be used to guard, for example, boat yards or warehouses because of the absence, in that role, of any meaningful socialization.
  • The dog must be neutered or spayed by the age of six months.
  • The owner must agree to inspections by animal welfare officers.

“There is a saying that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad owner. That is more than a grain of truth in that, and dog owners must in the future be made to realize that they are liable for creating the conditions in which a dog is allowed to become aggressive, and liable for the damage the dog may cause,” concluded Senator Fahy.

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Comments (53)

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  1. hmm says:

    Is this really how Fahy spent Bermuda Day!? Writing a statement on pit bulls?

    • Mr Cranky says:

      Fahy addressed it because Bean made a statement earlier this week about how he wants to remove regulations about Pit Bulls. Bean is the govt minister who thinks this is an important issue right now. Fahy is saying it isn’t an important issue right now. So if you’re irrititated by Fahy spending time on it you must be really p.o.’d at Bean.

      • LMAWTFO says:

        Sounds like Fahy is playing follow the leader. Just because Bean addresses something doesn’t mean Fahy should follow him and address the same subject, You make Fahy sound like a real puppet.

        • Mr Cranky says:

          So you’re ok with Bean who thinks of all things to spend time on, the big issue is making life easier for pitbull owners. And if Fahy expresses an opinion about it he’s a “puppet”. I see.


        • Tolerate says:

          While agreeing with most on this topic about what and why Senator Fahy has approached this at all, I strongly disagree with the why.
          Yes at this time ALL politicians are speaking on topics that they feel will win them brownie points (which is why this topic was even bought up by the Government), it however is the job of the opposition to challenge Government on decisions, or future decisions that are being made. Minister Bean started this by publicly stating he is considering changes to the current laws. All Senator Fahy has done was pass on comments countering this decision. Simple.
          Have we become a society that sees any challenge to Government as being a waste of time? Do we ourselves not make comments at work or at our friend’s homes on the same Government decisions? The difference is we are not in a position to publicly state this, other than in blogs. Senator Fahy however is, and has.
          Government Ministers direct opposites (Shadow Ministers) are duty bound to comment against (and hopefully for) any decisions or comments made. This is our checks and balances and the job of the opposition who have a duty to represent both sides of the general public’s opinions.
          Be it for or against Government Ministers views.

          • Tolerate says:

            In saying this, maybe the public is getting irate by what they feel is the constant comments by Senator Fahy? Who is the Shadow Minister for Environment (if there be one)? Probably was better for that person to make the statement addressing Ministers Beans comments.

            • Bernews says:

              Sorry, we should have mentioned it in the article, Senator Fahy is the Shadow Minister for Environment, Planning & Housing…

              • Tolerate says:

                Thank-you Bernews, you have made my point.

  2. UNDECIDED says:

    Freak the dogs for now, how is the OBA going to deal with the crime on this Island. You always have something to say on the smaller issues, but when it comes to the big ones you hide in your house! Come on Fahy you can come better then this if you really want me to trust this new UBP group.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Well, if you sterilise the owners of Pit Bulls, you’d probably contribute to a reduction in crime.

      • Funny says:

        That is a very judgmental comment. You sound really stupid! There are is a vast verity of people living in Bermuda that have pitbulls. They are great family dogs and there are alot of people that know that. It’s not just the “criminals” that have these dogs, there are people with families that have young children, like me, and other animals like cats and birds that have these dogs. If the dog is trained correctly and looked after these dogs would not be an issue. IT IS NOT THE DOG IT IS THE OWNER!!

  3. andre says:

    They should have never been banned. It is not the dog it is the owner.

    • Family Man says:

      That’s why we should all be able to buy guns too. Guns don’t kill people; people do.

      (sarcasm – in case it wasn’t obvious)

  4. OBA voter I think!!! says:

    How about all the men that have been shoot and more to come. How the HELL ARE YOU GOING TO PROTECT US. I didn’t see you comment when that man got shot the other day, I assume his life is less then the dog on the street. Stick too the real problems dumb nuts. Mr. Michael Dunkley could you school this fool I’m ready to vote for you but Fahy is one of the weak leaks in the OBA.

    • hmm says:

      Here here!

      • Sean says:

        The OBA did release a statement on the shooting. Jeff Baron made a statement last week.

    • Mr Cranky says:

      Try addressing your anger at the person responsible for this: Minister Bean. It’s Bean who made a statement earlier this week about how “it’s time to remove the pit bull ban”. Bean is the one who thinks this is an important thing right now, not Fahy. It’s Bean who thinks this is more important to deal with than people being shot.

      • welldone says:

        Not true. Bean’s statement was out before the shooting happened.

        • Mr Cranky says:

          “Bean’s statement was before the shooting”?

          Try to keep up with the story. It isn’t that hard.

          The person above complained about Fahy commenting on this after “all the men that have been shoot (sic) and more to come”. So we’re apparently talking about setting priorities. Gun violence in general (not just a single shooting this week), vs making life easier for pitbull owners. Bean is preoccupied with pitbull owners. Fahy isn’t.

      • OBA./UBP or PLP hmmm says:

        Fahy is a weak link. Are we trying to be the next Government or a washed up remake of the UBP. Even my son who’s 10 years old asked me “Daddy what about the guns” when he read Fahy’s statement!

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

    A pitbull will never stop a burglar with a gun and a bullet!

  6. LMAWTFO says:

    How can you ban an animal who was given the rights to ‘live’ just as any other creature on this world??? People do more damage than a dog would ever do to a human. By my count, certain types of people on this island should be banned as well!!

  7. really? says:

    When did Mr. Fahy become an expert on animal behavior or the pit-bull as a breed? Nature VS Nurture seems to be the point everyone wants to focus on, so beit. In a domesticated animal whatever the species may be…. no matter how much it is NURTURED… NATURE always wins in the end. That being said, people, all people both lovers and haters of the breed must first be HONEST!!! The breed IS inherently aggressive towards other dogs. It has been bred to be such. Anyone that disputes that is not being HONEST! On the same token, in the breeds defence, it has been bred to genereally be non-people aggressive. This does not mean that every animal of the breed WILL go out and kill other dogs and animals, it also means not every animal of the breed WILL NOT go out and attack, maul or kill a person. It is the potential risk that is being looked at. Government is being bashed for taking a proactive role rather than the typical reactive one. Bermuda has had laws and means set up to outlaw guns in the island for how long? Yet they are here, and people are using them to kill other people. Should we relax the gun laws as only irresponsible people use them? These dogs can and will be used as weapons. They have been used as weapons already. One of the animal wardens was attacked by a pitbull in the line of duty, that was set upon him by its owner. To say heavier fines, jail time etc.. should be put in place is fantastic, however that will not bring back Mrs. Jane Doe’s 3 year old that is killed by this dog. And it doesn’t have to be a dog that is trained to be aggressive or set upon the child by an iresponsible owner. This dog could be, as in the current case in the news, a family pet that someone carelessly left a gate open and the dog wandered off of its property. Such a simple human error can lead to the death of someone’s pet or god forbid child. The force of which these dogs attack is unlike any other. Their determination and tolerance for pain makes it almost near impossible to get them to release their victim. The average person walking their dog, or with their family, will most likely not have the capability or knowledge of how to get the dog to release its grip. Also in the heat of an attack most average poeple will not have the fortitude to think clearly. If we have so many responsible(also a responsible dog owner wouldn’t have a pitbull that was born after 2003 when the Ban was put in place to begin with!) pitbull owners on the island, why are there attacks to begin with? Because of accidents and human error. Therefore until you can eleviate human error and accidents I believe Government should make proper decisions in the interest of public safety! This is why we have drinking age limits, driving age limits, etc etc….

    • sandgrownan says:

      With regards your first question..he never claimed to be an expert. He actually said he’d taken advice on the subject from experts.

    • We Like says:

      Mr. Fahy thinks he’s and expert of EVERYTHING!

    • pitbulls voice says:

      @really , while I respect your opinion on the matter some of your points are inaccurate. I have owned pits my whole life and have never had a bad experience with this loving breed . I also firmly believe that this not the dog for everyone,it takes a lot of work and patience to ensure their energy is put into positive activities( as all powerful working dogs need i.e rotties , dobies german shepherds etc.).You are correct about them being naturally dog aggressive but i have always managed to stop this at puppyhood as all good pit owners should, so no nature does not win over nurture . my pits best friends are a min pin (7 lb. dog ) a cavalier king charles and a parsons russell terrier and he is submissive to all of them. The pitbull is also very good with children and puts up with their ruff housing more than any other breed would , hence them being known as the nanny dog. I see you mentioned a pit killing a child , well you should see how many children are bit or killed by other breeds such as yorkies and chow chows , yes thats right yorkies hurt more small children than any other breed. also you say they attack like no other , wrong , they attack like any powerful breed and do not have a locking jaw like most people think ,rottwiellers bite force is actually much more and a doberman or shepards intensity just as high.
      I agree with mr. fahy in saying people should need a special license to own this breed , as the problem pits come from two main sources . 1. the “bad boy” type who uses them to look cool and mean and trains them to be aggressive. 2. the inexperienced owner who wants a family dog but doesnt know how to train the dog or recognize the signs of aggression or thing that lead to aggression. My advice to anyone wishing to own this dog is to read ceasar milans books and follow his instructions , doing this will give you the best dog you have ever owned as pits are unparalleled in their devotion, loyalty and love to their owners. I hope this license comes to fruition as I and many people want the negative stipulation around this breed to stop.

  8. welldone says:

    I wish the OBA would be as proactive in explaining how they plan to govern as they are in releasing statements on these somewhat more trivial matters.

    Namely – how they will increase revenues?
    How will they ensure IB continues to grow?
    How will they reduce the govt expenditure?
    Will they cut govt jobs?
    What social programs will they cut?
    How will they reinvigorate our tourism product?
    How will they ensure new hotel developments get up and running?

    In my opinion these questions are mre important than a pit bull ban? Yet the OBA either refuses to answer or cannot answer them.

  9. LOL, yet ANOTHER platform for some scum bag low life politician to grandstand and move his resume forward at the expense of someone’s property (dogs). Let this same situation play out in the young african-american male arena (by the way, a cross section responsible for 10,000% more deaths and injuries than all breeds of dogs combined) and the civil rights community would crawl up these guys butts faster than one can say “back room bargaining”.

    The most pure and accurate move our culture could make in enforcing public safety is to indict all politicians and government employees and have the modern media shut down… and bring about a new governing body that believes in/ practices genuine responsibility and accountability.

  10. Itsaboutallofus says:

    Big misstep Fahy!

  11. Yng Black Mind says:

    My thoughts on the subject:

    1. Pitbulls, as stated above, are aggressive by nature against other dog breeds.
    2. Minister Bean truly believes that putting Pitbulls on a “restricted” list is the best course of action (I know this because He and I have discussed it).
    3. I wholeheartly disagree with Minister Bean. The decrease in dog attacks in the past several years, I believe, is in direct correlation to the dog ban – thus, it is working.
    4. Mr. Fahy, eventhough his intentions are less than honourable, does make a good point. (I can’t believe I just typed that sentence – ?!)

    We need to stop worrying about which issues they discuss – - they are going to talk about anything and everything. Make sure your voice is heard at the polls – - get real people, seriously.

    Yng Black Mind
    (those who know understand)

    • pitbulls voice says:

      there are just as many , if not more pitts here now then before the ban so point #3 is not correct. Maybe its because the other dogs on the banned list have decreased , its a known fact that pitbulls are blamed for attacks by other dogs that look even remotely similar.

      • Yng Black Mind says:

        @Pitbulls Voice:

        My point #3 was referring to the number of dog attacks – not the number of pitbulls on the island. The number of pitbulls has increased over the years due to illegal breeding and illegal importation.

        “It is a known fact that pits are blamed for attacks. . ” – - Really? That comment is part of the problem. We can agree (as I have read your comments above in previous posts) that pitbulls are an aggressive breed of dog – especially toward other dogs and if they are not conditioned otherwise – as you have wonderfully done with your own dogs.

        You, a pitbull owner, have stated that “it takes a lot of work and patience to ensure their energy is put into positive activities.” You also suggested “to anyone wishing to own this dog is to read ceasar milans books and follow his instructions.”

        Based on your suggestions, I simply retort – -

        If we, as a country, barely have time to listen to our children, tend to our numerous jobs to keep a roof over our heads and food on our tables, when will we have time to “find” the time to control these animals whom you stated need this “required” time?

        We can not – - additionally, we can not regulate nor legislate common sense and personal responsibility – that’s why the proposed “restricted” list is a farce. Think about it.

        Yng Black Mind
        (those who know understand)

        • pitbulls voice says:

          we as a country dont own a dog , its up to the individual , if they dont have time they dont grt the license , and many naturally aggressive dogs are not on the banned list , the chow chow is not and much more aggressive than a pit, and for your point 3 , thats what i meant , attacks have decreased but pitbulls have increased , so the attacks before seem to be wrongly blamed on this breed , like the german shepherd in the 80s and the doberman in the 90s

          • Yng Black Mind says:

            There is no evidence to support your claim – - we cannot sit here and say that all the attacks are pitbulls nor can we say that majority are other breeds – - that’s my point.

            And it is a throwaway to simply say – “if they don’t have the time, they don’t get the license” – we both know it won’t be that simple. There are possibliy hundreds of people in this country who shouldn’t be breeding dogs, but continue to do so.(without the required license, I might add)

            It goes right back to my last point – the Minister cannot legislate common sense and responsibility – thus the idea that putting the “restricted” list into effect and people will simply comply is laughable. Yes, the ban puts people like yourself, who care and control your dog, in the “soup” with all other dog owners – - but c’est la vie.

            Yng Black Mind
            (those who know understand)

  12. SMH says:

    Pitbulls should remained banned and no one should be allowed to have them at all. Just yesterday (may 24th) an old lady in my neighborhood was walking he small dog when a loose pittbull came and attacked her dog. I noticed what was happen so i open by gate and my dog ran out too to try and defend the smaller dog. The pitbull dragged the small dog into its yard to kill it but i ran after it and managed to free the dog and it ran back to the old lady, but then my dog was next in line for attack. The pitbull put a lock jaw on my dogs neck and another neightbor came out with a metal pipe and we were trying to beat this dog off of my dog. We got the dog off of my dog. He is luckily alright, but it moving slow and is hurt in the neck are, but unfortunately for the small dog it sustained a lot of injuries and is being taken to the vet today. It is just scary. People keep these dogs and the are so vicious. The dog could have turned on any of us as we were try to beat it away from the small dogs. THEY SHOULD PUT A BAN ON THEM ALL TOGETHER SO NO ONE CAN OWN THEM! PEOPLE ARE TOO IRRESPONSIBLE TO OWN A NATURALLY VICIOUS BREED LIKE THAT!

    • Mr Cranky says:

      I completely agree. They are inherently dangerous animals. Ownership should be completely banned.

      • kiskadee says:

        I agree that they should be banned or put down. Not only are they ugly dogs but they are so dangerous. That lady was fortunate she was not attacked. It will just take a child being killed by one before this Government is serious in getting rid of them altogether

    • pitbulls voice says:

      neither of you have a clue

      • Mr Cranky says:

        Maybe the the CDC “doesn’t have a clue”. Over a 20 year period 32% of all dog-related deaths in the US were pitbull attacks. But that’s just the CDC.

        Or maybe it’s the moronic “pitbulls make lovely pets” brigade who actually doesn’t have a clue.

  13. Non vanishing breed ? says:

    I have no issue with Mr Fahy’s statement , that’s what he’s supposed to do so I will not engage the hateful anti OBA campaigners or those masquerading as swing voters .

    What needs to be answered is how is a ‘restriction’ going to be either enforced or even help when the ban was absolutely useless ? Why wasn’t the ban acted on in force ? Political pandering maybe ?

    As was mentioned above , there are more pit bulls here now than there was before the ban was put in place. Ask any knowledgeable vet about it .
    So , effectively , anyone commenting on these boards about how wonderful their lovable little pit is should be in ownership of a dog at least 9 years old. We shouldn’t be seeing pit puppies parading around in broad daylight tugging out of control on their leashes being restrained by children or gonad challenged adults.
    There was a case recently where someone had bought a shitzu (or similar) unknowingly , from someone who thought they could just breed dogs and sell them to make money . They did not have a breeders license and the unsuspecting dog owner either did , or nearly lost her dog. And that was a dog NOT on the banned list.

    So , in the end , how is it that all these people can brazenly parade around with a banned breed of dog that is clearly under 9 years old is beyond me ?
    When that happens they should be asked ,on the spot , to produce the breeders license and birth certificate of the dog .

    Anything less is simply pandering to your voter base. A sweet sounding ‘restriction’ will simply end up being a free for all judging by how effective a ‘ban’ was .

    And before anyone wants to flame me , believe it or not , there are many pits I am very fond of .

    • pitbulls voice says:

      should we just kill all the innocent puppies born ? of course not , my pit is 2 years old and perfectly legal as when i got him i took him straight to the authorities to neuter and license him and ensure them he was in good hands , if he ever hurt someone i would take full responsibility.

      • really? says:

        Please do not let people think this is the correct course of action. You did break the law in aquiring the pitbull and should have been put in court for doing so, unless you took part in the amnesty that ended on August 31, 2011. After the amnesty I believe you are now unable to make them legal. Although I appreciate the fact that you state you would take full responsibility if your dog hurt someone, it is a pity that someone would have to get hurt to begin with. Hurt from a pitbull could vary from a scrape to death.

      • Non vanishing breed ? says:

        How could your pit be legal if it came from a litter 7 years after the ban was in effect ? Show us the breeder’s license … There will be none .

        In effect you were buying contraband and you very likely knew it . Unless you’ve been living on another planet .

        Should we kill innocent puppies you ask .. Well plenty of people have had perfectly good herb taken away from them too and unless they’re stupid , they know why . But that’s what is at the root of the problem. People are breeding/buying them and then expecting emotions to allow them to continue to break the law.

      • Mr Cranky says:

        If your pitbull ever hurt someone you would ‘take full responsibility’?

        What does that mean? You would apologise?

        Yeah, thanks a lot. That’s a big help.

  14. Prince says:

    The solution would be to add pitbulls to the restricted list like the Rottweiler and have strict laws to monitor this. Case closed! What is the logic behind allowing the Rottweiler but not the pitbull? The Rottweiler was the original culprit and first offender to start the banned breed list. So if a Rottweiler wanders into someone’s yard and mauls another dog will we then decide to ban the Rottweiler again? With the logic that I am reading we should ban alcohol because this causes more death and tragedy than pitbulls and is the choice drink of many thugs and gangsters. Reality is, people just need to be responsible and the onus is on the authorities to monitor and manage the licensing process. This is not a perfect world and unfortunately irresponsible people will still cause problems. The responsible should not suffer for the irresponsible. Every time you enjoy a nice alcoholic drink be grateful that the law makers saw the logic to drop the prohibition of alcohol and chose o have laws an restrictions that monitor and prosecute people who abuse this. Yes, banning alcohol would probably cut down (but not eliminate) many alcohol related deaths, but the innocent would suffer from the loss of freedom to choose something that really boils down to a basic human right – freedom of choice. Let those who are responsible have the privilege to exercise their freedom of choice and own thier dog of choice.

  15. Shaking the Head says:

    There are some very confused posters on here. Minister Bean raised the subject of taking pitbulls off the banned list, a list that the PLP made. Senator Fahy has responded. Why aren’t the complaints about crime etc made against Minister Bean for raising the subject of pitbulls? Without that, Senator Fahy wouldn’t have responded! As the Opposition Senator responsible he has a duty to respond, but he didn’t raise the issue.
    Now onto crime, who is the spokesperson for the PLP, and why haven’t we heard from them?

    • Mad Dawg says:

      You’re absolutely right but what you’re saying is far above the comprehension abillity of the average sheeple.

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      Wrong! Minister Bean responded to a caller on radio talk show, and as I recall, the minister said that the committee is reviewing this issue and will make recommendations. I don’t see any problem with Fahy’s response either, as in a lot of ways, he is in agreement with the ministers stance. The debate is healthy.

  16. GetReal says:

    I truly feel for all the dog attack victims and their owners. However, I am in support of this breed as I have been an owner for several years of many pits years ago. I never had a problem with any of my dogs. They were never aggressive towards people or dogs. In fact we had wild chickens and wild cats constantly in our yard. My last pit would share his dog food with his best friend “greedy the roaster” sometimes eating together. Our dog was a full red nose and gentle as a baby. Point here is that although these dogs can be harmful, they can be some of the most loving dogs EVER!!! It depends greatly on their owners giving them proper socialization and love from young. Very important. Not to be taken lightly, most of these dogs are currently owned by irresponsible people. Make the penalties more severe and punish owners and not the breed. These animals have the same right to be here, just as much as any other dog. In all fairness, if the Rott and Doberman can be on restricted list, then by rights qualified owners should be allowed to own a pit. I look forward to owning a good pit again. Please allow the change.

  17. tony carreiro says:

    I say they both need to own a pitbull , then Mr. Bean will find out he is making the right choice and Mr. Fahy will find out he is wrong on this one.

  18. me says:

    meanwhile hundreds of beautiful, harmless pit bull mix breed puppies are being put down every year :(

  19. Arielle says:

    Incredible points. Sounmd arguments. Keepp upp tthe good