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Fiji Time: 12:47 PM on Friday 25 April

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Dog poisoning allowable: Act

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, May 10, 2012

DOG poisoning is allowable under the Dog Act but agriculture permanent secretary Colonel Mason Smith says he is yet to be convinced it's the only option available to clear Lautoka of stray animals.

Speaking to The Fiji Times, Col. Smith said the Dog Act was being reviewed and an updated act would be announced before the Agriculture Show in July.

"I have had talks with Lautoka special administrator Praveen Bala and we will be working closely with him and the Lautoka City Council to address the stray dog issue there," he said.

"Dog poisoning is allowable under the law but I have yet to be convinced that it is the only way to address the stray dog issue."

Lautoka resident, community welfare advocator and regular columnist Allen Lockington said the stray dog problem was not a new issue.

"The health and safety of our residents are at stake because people can't take leisurely walks in parts of Lautoka because of fear of dog attacks," he said.

"People need to be proactive and responsible. If pet owners keep their animals confined to the perimeters of their compound then we would not have this issue."

Mr Bala said the council's pleas for people to take care of their pets had largely been ignored and poisoning provided the most effective way to address the stray nuisance.

"We have been asking people to take care of their dogs but it seems that our pleas have fallen on deaf ears," he said.

"We are now requesting the Ministry of Primary Industries to take drastic action and allow poisoning just this once."

The LCC trapped 830 stray dogs last year at a cost of $20,000 to ratepayers.