Updating Jamaica's Animal-related Laws - Responsible Ownership, Animal Welfare & Dog Population Control
August 17, 12018
The Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association (JVMA) notes with horror yet another report of an attack by free roaming dogs, which this time has resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Whittington Cole last month. This comes against the backdrop of continued lax attention to the issues of responsible dog ownership and dog population control in Jamaica. Our hearts go out to the family and all those affected by similar tragedies over the years.
From as far back as 2004, when it became clear that dogs such as American Pit Bull Terriers were being smuggled into the island, circumventing the legal importation process, the JVMA warned of the possible consequences given the lack of sufficient legislation and public practice with regard to responsible dog ownership as well as the general view of many Jamaicans that their dogs must be “bad” for security purposes.
The 2017-18 Executive Officers and Committee Chairpersons were returned for 2018-19 almost in their entirety at the Annual General Meeting of the Association held on June 24, 2018 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
The only exception was the election of Dr. Farrah Bailey-Trowers to the position of Education & Research Chairperson, replacing Dr. Kerriel Green who did not stand for re-election.
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One Health outreach at community Health Fair
JVMA President Dr. Nigel Elliott examines a cat at the Kencot Community Health Fair
Kingston: July 14, 2018
Multiple arms of health care were brought together in the Kencot community in Kingston in the St. Clements Mission Health Fair, held on July 14, 2018. Residents could access medical and dental care for themselves as well as veterinary care for their pets in a truly One Health event.
Several individuals and organizations contributed to the day. The Health Fair team members included:
Dr. Dania Jones, Dental Surgeon
Dr. John Soas, General Practitioner
Dr. Andrew Josephs, General Practitioner
Dr. Nigel Elliott, Veterinarian, President, Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association
Mrs. Hillary Nunes, Dental Nurse
Mrs. Sandra Anderson-Roberts, Dental Assistant
Mrs. Kemisha Bernard, Practical Nurse, Diabetes Association of Jamaica
Mr. Edwards, CPR Demonstrator, St. Johns Ambulance
Ms. Ricketts, Volunteer, St. Johns Ambulance
Ms. Duncan, Volunteer, St. Johns Ambulance
Ms. Gibbs, Volunteer, Women’s Centre of Jamaica
Cari-Med Mobile Dental Unit
JSPCA Pet Clinic
Lions Club Eye Clinic
It is hoped that we will see more such events under the One Health umbrella.
Photos contributed by Dr. Nigel Elliott.
A JSPCA clinic assistant trims fur from the eyes of a Shih Tzu. Matted fur moistened by normal fluids from the eyes frequently can cause maggot infestations around the eyes in this breed.
Pan Commonwealth Veterinary Association Conference
will be held from 3 – 7 March 2019 in Bangalore, India.
Click on the image to the left for more information.
Click on either of the images above to go to the World Vet Day 2018 page.
Dr. Roberta Harris-Daley - JVMA Assistant Secretary
The Need for Sustained Veterinary Education.
Dr. Roberta Harris-Daley
Currently, there are approximately 87 veterinarians practicing in Jamaica, with the majority being employed in government regulatory work or private clinical practice (involving preventative medicine and the diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses in pets, food-producing animals and horses).
This figure represents a veterinarian: human population ratio of 1:30, 000 which is grossly inadequate, especially when compared to other neighbouring North American and Caribbean countries with ratios between 1 per 2000 and per 10, 000.
The inadequacy is blatantly seen in the lack of clinical veterinary services in many rural parishes, where farmers and pet owners are left without veterinary care for their animals, and has also led to the proliferation of illegal practitioners which poses a threat, not just to animal welfare, but also to food safety and human health.
Seven horses suffering from joint conditions benefitted from arthroscopic surgery in which the joint is entered using a fiberoptic cable with a camera and tiny instruments. This allows removal of bone chips and damaged cartilage without having to open up the joint, and enables a speedy recovery and return to function after surgery. Two other horses had surgery for laryngeal hemiplegia - a condition in which one side of the larynx (vocal chords) becomes paralysed resulting in "roaring".
The operations were performed by Dr. Jonathan White, head of Equine Surgery at the University of the West Indies School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Augustine, Trinidad, who visited Jamaica specially for the purpose. He was assisted by recent UWI-SVM graduate Dr. Andrew Garvey along with a team of technicians and other personnel. Dr. Graham Brown of Animalcare Veterinary Services spearheaded the arrangements including the importation of gas anaesthesia equipment for horses, the provision of the endoscopic equipment and more.
The surgeries were performed in a large air-conditioned tent, with all the necessary sterile procedures being followed as there is no physical surgical or even hospital facility for horses at Caymanas or anywhere else in Jamaica. It is hoped that the success of these surgeries will help provide the impetus for such infrastructure to be put in place. The veterinary community is hoping....
Dr. Jonathan White and Dr. Andrew Garvey perform arthroscopic surgery on the carpal (knee) joint of a horse. The arthroscope is inserted into the joint via a small incision and the procedure is observed on a computer/television screen (right).
A Veterinary Technician monitors the horse's vital signs. The gas anaesthetic machine in on the right.
DR. SASHA HALSALL is VETERINARIAN OF THE YEAR 2017-18
Ocho Rios, March 11, 2018: The award of Veterinarian of the Year 2017-18 was conferred upon Dr. Sasha Renee Halsall at the JVMA's March General Meeting held at the Hibiscus Lodge in Ocho Rios. The award was based on voting by Association members and was presented by Dr. Michael Motta.
Dr. Halsall was recognized for her hard work and dedication in organizing the scientific programme at last year's Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association Conference held November 6-9, 2017 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. She coordinated and liaised with all speakers and spearheaded the scheduling and running of the scientific sessions. She was also recognized for her entreprenuerial spirit in the development of her own line of pet treats - Sashi's Treats.
Dr. Halsall is a 2007 graduate of the University of the West Indies' School of Veterinary Medicine.
The JVMA offers heartiest congratulations!
Dr. Sasha Halsall (left), the JVMA's 2017-18 Veterinarian of the Year, poses with the Award Plaque and JVMA President Dr. Nigel Elliott (right). (Photo courtesy Dr. Rayon Gregory.)
Dr. Michael Motta (right) presents the award to Dr. Halsall. (Photo courtesty Dr. Rayon Gregory)
Vets hang out in Ocho Rios: L-R Drs. Roxanne Bennett, Ryan Chanona, Sasha Halsall, Rasterifi Medley, Cliff Bradford, Linton Watt, Kevin Walker. (Photo courtesy Dr. Kevin Walker)
Dr. Grace McDonnough Lyon accepts her award.
The 30th Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association Conference, held November 6 - 9, 2017 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, saw the recognition of two female Caribbean veterinarians for their contribution as pioneering women in the profession. Dr. Grace McDonnough Lyon of Jamaica and Dr. Patricia Barrows Smart of Trinidad & Tobago received awards for their long careers of service, beginning at a time when veterinary medicine was a male-dominated profession. They were recognized as trail-blazers and awarded inscribed plaques carrying a wood carving of the veterinary rod of Asclepius.
Dr. McDonnough Lyon, a JVMA Honour Roll Member, gave a heartfelt acceptance speech, telling stories of her experiences in her early days. Her career has spanned over 40 years, begining as a Veterinary Officer in the Veterinary Division of the Ministry of Agriculture in 1972, entering private clinical practice in 1985 operating Veterinary Medical Clinic in Kingston until her retirement from active clinical work in 2010. She has been an active JVMA member, serving on the Executive on many occasions.
Dr. Barrows Smart was not in attendance but delivered her acceptance via video recording with Dr. Michelle Mellowes of the TTVA receiving the award on her behalf.
At the December General Meeting of the JVMA, held at the Medallion Hall Hotel, Kingston on December 10, 2017, Dr. Clifford Bradford was called to the Honour Roll of the Association in recognition of his years of outstanding service to the profession and the Association. Dr Bradford is an award-winning equine practitioner who has been active in the JVMA throughout his career, serving on the Executive on many occasions, and is a former member of the Jamaica Veterinary Board.
Dr. Michelle Mellowes (centre) receives the CbVMA Award on behalf of Dr. Patricia Barrows Smart who appears on screen right.
Dr. Clifford Bradford (left) shows off his Honour Roll award with JVMA President Dr. Nigel Elliott (right).
Dr. Clifford Bradford and family.
Jamaica opens the door to Pet Travel
Kingston, October 2017
After many years of waiting, persons who wish to bring dogs and cats into Jamaica from countries other than the United Kingdom and Ireland will be able to do so, provided they meet the conditions for pet travel as set out in the revised Regulations that have been promulgated by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries as announced by Minister the Hon. Karl Samuda in September.
The lobbying process to bring about these changes officially began in February 2004 when the (then) Small Animal Veterinary Practitioners Association of Jamaica (SAVPAJ) convened a Veterinary Colloquium on the Movement of Companion Animals. Local and international speakers discussed the advancements that had been made in the control of major diseases of these animals, most notably rabies, and the changes that had resulted in the laws, regulations and policies of other rabies free countries such as the UK, the Cayman Islands and Barbados, with the introduction of “Pet Travel Schemes.”
Based on those findings, and against the backdrop of the dangerous apparent smuggling of dogs from unknown sources into Jamaica, the JVMA issued a position document in 2005, calling for the introduction of similar changes in Jamaica. The objective was to ensure the safe movement of these pets, through microchip identification, rabies vaccination and protective titre checks, relevant parasite treatments and health certification for freedom for any other diseases of concern. This also included the necessary policy changes regarding the importation of rabies vaccines, so they could be available for pets being exported as required by many countries, as well as for humans who work on the “front line” with at-risk domestic and wild animals.
In 2008, then Agriculture Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton formed a committee to explore the issue of the movement of companion animals as well as the stray and dangerous dog situations. The Committee was comprised of veterinarians from the JVMA, the Veterinary Services Division and the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) as well as the President of the Jamaica Kennel Club. In its report, the committee called for the laws and regulations to be changed in line with the Association’s position, as well as strengthening of legislation covering the keeping of dogs, among other things.
In 2012, under Agriculture Minister the late Roger Clarke, new regulations were passed which set out a specific process for the importation of dogs certified as “service” animals and greatly expanded the list of countries from which dogs could be imported. Unfortunately, “non-service” dogs from same places were not allowed. This, therefore, did little to change the overall status quo, and resulted in continued distress for many pet owners, both locally an overseas.
Over time, other entities and individuals joined the lobbying cause – including returning residents, tourist industry stakeholders, diplomats, dog breeders, researchers and more – pushing for change to bring the country’s companion animal policies in line with 21st century medical science and technology. Change has finally come.
The new regulations come with a number of requirements for treatment, testing and certification for the animals being brought into the island. These, along with the list of countries can be viewed here.
Animal Health Matters is a new online resource that aims to educate and build greater awareness of the most pressing issues in animal and human health, including zoonotic disease, antimicrobial resistance, global food security and the future role and health of companion animals. Factors such as the impact of global conflicts, trade, how healthier animals mean healthier families and the ongoing focus on zoonotic disease are all debated within the new, attractive and interactive online resource.
Animal Health Matters was produced by the HealthforAnimals, the global animal medicines association, and the World Veterinary Association, the global voice of the veterinary profession to recognize that the health of our pets, farm animals and wide range of wildlife, is inextricably tied up with the health and wellbeing of human beings all over the world.
Animal Health Mattersalso looks to the longer term with items such as ‘Five trends for the next five years’, which assess the impact of new and emerging factors influencing animal health. These ‘Five trends’ include factors such as better surveillance systems for disease threat identification, how portable technologies are helping to fill the void in information about the movement and emergence of livestock disease, and how the role of new technologies, such as satellite data and smart ear tagging, are helping developed and developing nation farmers detect disease sooner.
Click on the image to the right to read Dr. Scott's poem
POSITION PAPER ON ANIMAL WELFARE - CLICK ON LOGO ABOVE
WEEKLY DISEASE REPORT. Please click on the logo above to check on important infectious diseases occurring around the world
POSITION PAPER ON ONE HEALTH - CLICK ON LOGO ABOVE
TRIBUTE TO A DOG
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near to his master's side.
He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world . He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he was a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains.
When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey thru the heavens.
GEORGE VEST, 1870
Writer's Credit:Unless otherwise stated, all articles on this page are written by Dr. Paul Cadogan.
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