In recent weeks an issue to do with stray dogs has been impacting residents and farmers on Montserrat.
Mainly, MNI understands that farmers in the area of Friths and Olveston Mountain have been losing livestock by these packs of stray dogs attacking the animals repeatedly, and killing them almost on a daily basis.
As we understand it, under the laws of Montserrat, both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Royal Montserrat Police Service have the authority to address this problem. MNI further understands that the gun wardens in the Ministry have the legal authority to shoot these dogs that attack livestock, and the Police also have separate statutory powers to shoot these roaming dogs.
Should the Police on Montserrat now proceed to reinstate the licensing of dogs? This is mandatory under the Dogs Act and was enforced pre-volcano times on the island.
MNI Media reached out to the Ministry of Agriculture for a statement on the stray dogs attacking and killing livestock on the island, that is now a major cause for concern.
The Ministry acknowledged that the issue if a very sensitive one and have said that they recognize that both the livestock farmers and the dog owners (Animal Protection Society) have suffered great losses as a result of the situation.
The Ministry also informed MNI that "The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE) was first informed of the matter when we received a report of dogs being poisoned in the Olveston Mountain Area."
The Ministry official MNI spoke to also stated that they have received reports of dogs killing livestock.
As the Ministry with shared responsibility, the Ministry mentioned that they are working with key stakeholders, including the Police to address this longstanding matter.
They further went on to mention; "We are mindful of the need to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, and thus we are exploring the options for controlling stray /unleashed dogs and loose livestock.
In the meantime, we ask all persons, whether dog owners or livestock farmers, to ensure that they comply with the relevant legislation. We pledge our commitment to address the issues, as we continue to review and develop strategies for sustainable livelihoods."