The Lagos State House of Assembly is set to pass a Bill that will regulate animal welfare practices as well as the management of domesticated and dangerous animals in the State.
Captioned as “A Bill For a Law to Regulate the Ownership, Licensing, Care and Sale of Pets and Prohibit or Restrict Persons from having Custody of Animals Dangerous to the Public and where Permitted, to License, Control, and Regulate the Custody of such Animals and for other Connected Purposes”, the Committee on Agriculture of the State House of Assembly held a a-day public hearing on Thursday the 17th day of December, 2020 at the Assembly Complex, Alausa, Lagos.
The Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Kehinde Joseph at his welcome address speech said that the essence of the hearing is to discuss the proposed legislation with relevant stakeholders and members of the public, so as to hold any owner or keeper of animals to be ethically responsible for his actions as well as to recognize that animals have rights. He also disclosed that the Animals’ Bill when passed into Law would eventually repeal the Dogs Law of 2015 that was copied from the Dogs Law of 1943.
The keynote address delivered by the Speaker of the House Dr. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa ably represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun equally emphasized the importance of a proper regulation and management of animals which is meant for the benefit of man, animals and the protection of public health as a whole.
Presenting the general overview of the Bill, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. S.O.B. Agunbiade summarised the 32-Section Bill which established a licensing and investigating unit in a Veterinary Centre to be situated in every local government area of the State for the issuance of licenses to persons in possession of animals, whether they are pets or other category of the 42 animals that are listed under the 2nd Schedule of the Bill or any other animal as designated by the Commissioner or the Authority charged with the responsibility for veterinary public health. Owners of zoos or circus premises are also required to obtain special certificates that will cover the species of animals they intend to keep in the zoo or circus. According to the majority leader, all animals must be treated with the approved laws of the land while ensuring that owners or keepers of domesticated and dangerous animals in their custody are also mentally fit to keep such animals.
It should be noted that the public hearing was well attended by many stakeholders such as veterinary surgeons, legal practitioners, animal technologists and scientists, farm managers, security consultants, dog breeders, animal advocates, animal rights activists and other practitioners in the animal delivery team who all expressed their different views and concerns about the workability of the proposed law.
In light of this, stakeholders were thereafter given two weeks to submit their memoranda for consideration to agriccommittee@lagosstatehouseof assembly.gov.ng
Report compiled by: Oluwatomi Ajayi, Esq. NBA Ikeja Branch