The purpose is predominantly to give the authorities (police) a tool to force people who do not act as responsible dog owners by themselves to change their behavior.
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In December of 2012 the Dog Act was unanimously approved in Parliament. Because dog owners may need time to adapt to the new rules in the Dog Act, article 11 in the Dog Act states that the Minister of Justice must set a date on which the Dog Act comes into power. The Dog Act will come into power on January 1, 2015.
For some dog owners, the Dog Act will cause them to make changes in the way they keep their dogs. This needs to be explained to the public and some time should be given to adapt
to the new situation. Luckily many dog owners do already comply and the new Dog Act doesn’t change anything for them.
The new Dog Act states that:
- You, owner or caretaker, are responsible for the well-being of your dog (food, water, shelter, enough space to walk around, and veterinary medical care when suffering).
- You should always keep your dog on your terrain and it also states how you must do that in a Ministerial Decree: fenced in, dog run cable, or dog run.
- Outside your terrain you must keep your dog on a leash.
- Dogfights are a criminal offense.
- For dangerous dogs you need a permit. Dogs can be appointed as “dangerous dogs” in 3 ways:
- By race. This has not been done yet because there is still debate on this issue.
- When a dog is known to be a dangerous dog.
- When a dog has been involved in a serious bite incident where police have made an official report.
When the new Dog Act comes into power, initially only owners who are aware they have a dangerous dog will be required to have a permit (see b. above).
- You can be fined or even sent to jail if you don’t comply.
To guarantee sufficient room and shelter, by law there are minimum requirements for a dog run to keep your dog in.
There are lots of reasons but consider this: “If everybody in Aruba would be a responsible dog owner, there would not be a problem with stray dogs.” Learn 8 reasons why keeping your dog on your terrain is so important.
You can be a responsible pet owner by complying with the requirements set out in the new Dog Act:
- Provide food, water, shelter, enough space to walk around, and medical care when suffering.
- Prevent your dog from wandering the streets with a fenced in yard, a dog run cable, or a dog run.
- Keep it on a leash when in public areas.
Additionally, there are other actions you should take at a minimum to be a responsible dog owner:
- Train or socialize your dog.
- Make your dog identifiable with a dog tag or a chip.
- Prevent your dog from having unwanted puppies, preferably by operation. The only good reason not to spay/neuter is if you’re conscientiously breeding the dog and acting responsibly with the puppies.
- Prevent disease by vaccination, giving heartworm medication, and keeping your dog tick free.
- Visit your veterinarian for a yearly check up/vaccination.
It depends on the weight of your dog as food is the most important factor influencing the cost of keeping a dog. The average size dog will cost you around Afl. 250/month including vaccinations, tick treatment, heartworm prevention, and birth control operation. Cost of owning a dog.