Pit bull attack on teacher saddens JTA

Sunday, September 22, 2019

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President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Owen Speid is expressing “deep regret” at what he called the lack of public safety from aggressive dogs, as one of the association's own, a grade six teacher at St Richard's Primary School in St Andrew, was attacked by four pit bulls on Thursday.

“The association laments the facts that at a time when the Government and the Ministry of Health are promoting wellness through exercise, that people are not so keen to walk on the road because of this kind of situation. It is something that we are really concerned about. People should be able to walk and go about their exercise freely,” Speid told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Reports are that on Thursday evening the teacher was doing her routine evening walk along Woodland Way, in Cooper's Hill, St Andrew, when four pit bulls attacked her, causing extensive damage to her limbs and head.

Head of the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Deputy Superintendent Dahlia Garrick told the Sunday Observer that the teacher was rescued by the police and taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies, where she underwent subsequent surgery.

“She was doing her routine exercise when it happened. The police responded and she was taken to the hospital. We understand that she had surgery yesterday [Friday] and is still in the hospital recovering,” said Garrick, adding that the owner of the dogs had been identified, after police spent hours trying to locate the individual.

Another officer at the CCU also told the Sunday Observer that, “The owner has reached out to the police. We are in dialogue, and we are looking into possible ways that we can charge him. We were told that the owner had gone to the hospital to see the teacher. We heard that her condition is critical,” said the officer.

The Red Hills police are investigating the matter.

The teacher's ordeal comes just one year after the Observer reported the death of 66-year-old Whittington Cole, who was mauled by a group of pit bulls and Rottweilers.

Whittington's death came just months after a mother and her two young children were attacked by dogs in an upper St Andrew community.

In February 2016 the Observer reported the death of 56-year-old Jerome Pow after he was attacked by pit bulls in the vicinity of Hagley Park Road, St Andrew.

On January 2, 2014, a three-year-old boy lost an eye after being mauled by a pit bull in St Ann; and on January 4, 2014, a 59-year-old mechanic was mauled by three pit bulls in St Mary.

In the meantime, Speid said the teacher is showing signs of improvement but is in need of blood.

“Several of her body parts were damaged. It is sufficient to say that she lost a lot of blood because it was for quite some time that the dogs were there with her, and there were like four dogs. Even when the police arrived, it took them some time to get the dogs away from her,” Speid said.

“Right now we are in the process of getting blood donations, so we are on that; And many of our members have already donated blood. The St Richard's Primary School community is really supporting the family, and many of them have also donated blood,” he added.

The teacher, he said, is influential at St Richard's Primary School, and is an active member of the JTA. He also stated that other members of the JTA family were showing solidarity with the wounded teacher's family.

“We are sharing grief with the family. She is at the UWI hospital, and she is showing some improvement, thank God. We are happy for that.

“She is a very active member of our association, because she was the contact for the JTA at the school and she was involved in all areas the school. We are just hoping for the best for her,” said Speid.


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