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The Animals (Diseases and Importation) (Amendment) Act 2020 is expected to be proclaimed on June 1.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi gave the date in a recent response to a letter from lawyers for animal welfare activist Marisa Ramnath, who inquired about the proclamation.

In the original letter sent in April, Ramnath’s lawyer Rhea Khan said she (Ramnath) supported the legislation, which was passed by both houses of Parliament and assented to in July, last year.

“Indeed, our client is of the view that this provision of law and the creation of this offence is a progressive step towards improving the treatment of animals within T&T,” attorney Rhea Khan said, as she referred to section 18 of the legislation which makes it an offence to beat, ill-treat, starve, torture or neglect an animal.

“However, our client notes that the aforementioned Act has not been proclaimed and is therefore currently ineffectual,” Khan added.

In the letter, Khan noted that her client is a public-spirited individual, who has contributed to the establishment and running of animal shelters for several years.

“She has become concerned about the increase in abuse and cruelty towards animals in our society. From these incidents, which are not isolated, it seems as though animal abuse and cruelty has become unacceptably prevalent within our society,” she said.

While the Act is yet to be proclaimed, the Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2020, which has similar aims, was proclaimed in May, last year.

Under that Act, the Summary Offences Act was amended to increase the maximum penalties for animal cruelty from a $400 fine or two months’ imprisonment to $100,000 and a year imprisonment.

However, those animal cruelty offences only cover domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, cows, sheep, and goats.

The legislation, Ramnath is enquiring about, will cover wild animals and those excluded from the defined list of domesticated animals.

Ramnath was also represented by Dinesh Rambally, Kiel Taklalsingh, and Stefan Ramkissoon, of Sovereign Chambers.