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BSL is B.S. legislation

by The Concordian November 21, 2011
BSL is B.S. legislation
Breed specific legislation (BSL) is blatant discrimination.
Two weeks ago, a Lachine man was given a ticket for having a dog that “looked” like a pit bull, and a second ticket for having a “mean” dog because the dog was barking.
Pit bulls are banned in Lachine, as well as in Outremont and Ville St-Laurent. BSL typically targets dogs like pit bulls and Rottweilers. The problem is that a pit bull is not a breed. Pit bulls are a type of dog belonging to the terrier family. So when BSL is enforced within a community, dogs are reprimanded just for the way they look.
BSL is also very costly to implement; dogs must be seized, housed, and in most cases, euthanized.
The legislation deems an entire breed dangerous based on the actions of a few of its members. It only considers a dog’s appearance, not its behaviour or how the owner has raised or trained the dog.
Several studies indicate BSL doesn’t actually work. Communities pass such legislation in the hopes that it will reduce dog bites, however, the numbers remain consistent year after year in BSL communities. According to the Fordham Law Review, BSL doesn’t solve the “dangerous dog dilemma” as those individuals who breed and train pit bulls to be aggressive are not affected by BSL. If their dog is taken away, what is stopping them from just getting another one? Nothing.
Prior to the 1980s, pit bulls were the epitome of a family pet. Remember Petey from Little Rascals? He was an American Staffordshire terrier, one of the breeds identified as a pit bull. The Staffordshire terrier, or pit bull, was considered a “nanny dog” because of its temperament and reputation for being good around children. According to the American Temperament Test Society, pit bulls are no more vicious than golden retrievers.
The media is partly responsible for the breed’s bad rap. Highly publicized attacks give the breed a dangerous reputation. Wannabe tough guys, gangsters and drug dealers seek out the breed as status symbols. The Michael Vicks of the world use them for illegal dog fighting because of their tenacity.
The National Canine Research Council investigated several dog bites and fatalities that were reported by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) as homicides carried out by pit bulls. Karen Delise, author of The Pit Bull Placebo, revealed the actual circumstances leading to some of these horrific incidents. Here are a few examples:

  • A teenage girl gives birth to an infant. Distraught and frightened, she tosses the infant into a neighboring junk-strewn yard where two pit bulls resided. The dogs killed the newborn.
  • A man restrains his girlfriend while ordering his pit bull to repeatedly attack her.

In these instances the dogs have been portrayed as the villain when in fact the real culprits are the individuals who could have easily prevented these deaths.

Consider one of the most recent pit bull attacks that took place in September. A woman was babysitting her infant niece. She put her down for a nap and left her and her young son alone with her three pit bulls. The dogs mauled the baby to death.
Firstly, a toddler should never be left unattended. Secondly, reports suggest that the pit bulls were resident dogs, meaning they never socialized with people and most certainly not with children. This was a case of negligence.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the Michael Vick dogs? PBS’s documentary, The Dogs are Alright, based on Jim Gorant’s book The Lost Dogs, tells the story of 51 pit bulls seized from the property. They were considered to be the most dangerous dogs in the country. Anyone who thinks these dogs were un-salvageable should watch this 14-minute documentary. They have all been rehabilitated and one of them works with children as a canine-assisted literacy dog.
Instead of punishing a dog for its looks, the government should consider a screening process for owners. Owners should not own a dog that may require additional attention or training that they are unable or unwilling to give. The dogs being held responsible are the ones who are being abused. Next time you hear about an attack, have a look at who is on the other end of the leash.

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4 comments

Honesty Helps November 22, 2011 - 21:36

When a baby crib is found to be causing the deaths of infants, it is recalled. When a car has safety issues that has caused wreaks and/or deaths, that model is recalled. When pit bulls are mauling and killing in numbers unlike any other breed in history, do we sit on our thumbs and yell discrimination or do we try to do something about this? Since pit bull owners don’t come with a scarlett PB on their foreheads, the only solution is to look for what can be identified, the pit bull. Never, ever in history has the pit bull or the Staffie been identified as a “nanny” dog. From a handful of old photos have come this myth. The ATTS was never designed to test for suitability for a pet, it is for service dogs such as police K-9s. This is another myth of the pit bull community. And Petey was poisoned and rumor was because he attacked people on set. Myths are all the pit bull community can offer, myths. The National Canine Research Council sounds pretty official, but it is far from official. The design of a self published author with no credibility except as a vet tech, that is the NCRC. Do your homework, people, don’t listen to the myths, the myths are killing people and beloved pets. 

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jhaggar November 24, 2011 - 09:46

Thank you for your level headed article on the ‘pit bull’ type.  As a owner of a loving, loyal, calm and submissive pet bull, I am always concerned over uninformed, hysterical comments by people who neither know this type of dog or have done any real research.  After rescuing my pet bull, I met with my vet and discussed the care and training needed to help my pet become the best dog possible.  My vet, well known in the field across Canada, told me that the pet bull is a much misunderstood dog – that indeed, this breed is used as a ‘care’ dog in many hospices, is loyal and not any more ‘vicious’ than any other breed.  I’ve been attacked by nasty Chihuahuas, let’s ban them!!  It is the owner, not the breed.  Watch Caesar on “Dog Whisperer”, two of his training dogs,  Daddy and Junior are used, with their calm attitudes, to train  “out of control dogs” (not one pit in the bunch).  Look at the owners and the circumstances before you judge – like a book – you can’t judge a dog by the ‘look’.
Janette (and Stella)

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Nat Gabriela F November 24, 2011 - 10:59

@ Honesty Helps:  You cannot, by any means, make the comparison with the safety of any dog and the safety of an inanimate object.  It’s comparing apples and frogs.  If you want to compare vicious Chihuahuas and vicious Pit Bull like dogs, then do so.  In that respect all Chihuahuas should be banned and killed as well (I have nothing against Chihuahuas. I’m just making a point.).

However, if you do want to go there, then it is human error and negligence that made these cribs/seats dangerous, just as it is human error in the case of a “dangerous” INDIVIDUAL dog. The difference is that with a specific breed we think we can play God.  We don’t have the right to do this.  Yes, there may be bad apples in any breed, even if the human is responsible, just as there will be bad people regardless of how well society has treated them.  We judge individual people and not people as a whole. We should be extending this “courtesy” to all other living things.

Most of the people who enforce BSL aren’t even dog savvy, to say the least, and most are afraid of dogs in general.  Trust me, I know and have experienced it.

I would ask YOU to do your homework and at the very least follow the stories of the Mike Vick dogs and see how these dogs have become pillars of society and how they have become ambassadors for their breed.  Look it up on Facebook – The Vicktory Dogs: The Little Engines That Will.  With love, understanding, and responsible ownership, these dogs have excelled beyond anyone’s expectations.

P.S. You are absolutely right about not listening to the myth. Myths are stories told by people who don’t know how to explain things they don’t understand. It is important to remember that a myth is not a fact.

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Michel_T November 24, 2011 - 15:46

You know what’s funny… this sounds a whole lot like the gun control debate…

Instead of holding people accountable for their actions, some find it better (and easier) to just ban this or that ‘thing’

People are using “profiling” when it’s convenient… all the while, they are ignoring the root of the problem.

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