Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) has indicated that it intends to seek legal advice as to the likely action it can take to seek redress for five-year-old Joshua Zhang, who was mauled by three pit bull dogs on a public road in Manor Park, St Andrew on March 2, 2016.
The proposal for possible legal action to be taken by the KSAC in the matter was made at yesterday’s council meeting by Councillor Lee Clarke (Jamaica Labour Party, Whitehall Division). He noted that Joshua was attacked by the animals on “our sidewalks”.
Clarke made the suggestion after Kingston Mayor Angela Brown Burke called the council’s attention to this week’s
Sunday Observer lead story headlined ‘Vicious Dog Attack’.
Brown Burke said she found the story “disturbing”, and advised that Town Clerk Robert Hill would be asked to contact Joshua’s family with a view to providing assistance.
“We are also calling on the legal fraternity to help with legal representation for the family,” the mayor said.
Brown Burke, who recalled that a man had been mauled to death by a pit bull in March this year, said that something had to be done.
She pointed out that, according to the newspaper report, the owner of the dogs had not so far contributed towards Joshua’s medical care and that his mother is now seeking donations from the public to help cover the five-year-old’s medical costs.
“Somewhere somehow justice needs to be done. The owner of the dog needs to be held accountable,” the mayor said.
The town clerk told the
Jamaica Observer that both the KSAC and the National Works Agency have responsibility for road networks across the island, including sidewalks.
The boy’s mother, Aleiya Chin, had told the
Sunday Observer that in March she and her two children had passed the dogs lying outside the open gate of a neighbour’s house as she left to take Joshua to school, and that the animals later viciously attacked the boy. He sustained serious injuries, including to his spine and neck, which have led to damage of his vocal cord.
The single mother said she has already spent hundreds of thousands on Joshua’s medical bills.
Chin also told the newspaper that this is not the first time the same dogs had attacked a resident of the community.
Jamaica currently has an 1877 law which speaks to this matter. Under the Dogs (liability for injuries by) Act, Chin must file a civil suit against the owner of the animals.
“The owner of every dog shall be liable in damages for injury done to any person, or any cattle or sheep by his dogs and it shall not be necessary for the party seeking such damages to show a previous mischievous propensity in such enlarged dog, or the owner’s knowledge of such previous propensity or that the injury was attributable to neglect on the part of such owner. Such damages shall be recoverable in any court of competent jurisdiction by the person injured, or by the owner of such cattle or sheep killed or injured,” the one-page Act states.