When I woke up today I started my daily routine–turn off alarm, use the washroom, lay back in bed and check my social media on my iphone to help me wake up, take the dog outside. As I checked my facebook I was astonished by a letter written to The Province editor by a Ms. Karen Turner, and I decided to write the following letter in response to hers.
I am writing to you in response to a letter posted on http://www.theprovince.com titled “Pit Bulls Not Welcome”. Ms. Turners opinion is based not on fact but on biased fear. I would like to share with you some facts on Pit Bulls and some facts on Breed Specific Legislation before I share my personal story.
Firstly to quote Ms. Turner, “One pit bull showing up empties out the entire park. Hmm . . . wonder why?”
Breed Specific Legislation costs municipalities money. Tax payers are paying for shelters to house an abundance of “Pit Bull” like breeds, and more animal control officers are required to seize, police, and investigate reports of “pit bulls” even if they haven’t shown any aggression. Municipalities would see profitability if owners were held responsible for their dogs actions (whether it be a Pit Bull, Chihuahua, Labrador, etc). Why you may ask? Currently there are too many dog owners making infractions against animal control bylaws. This means that if someone is walking their labrador in an on-leash only area they are not receiving fines for this, merely warning after warning. Owners need to be held accountable for their actions, if your dog isn’t on a leash when it’s supposed to be, there ought to be a no-tolerance policy–give them a fine! No matter what breed of dog, bad owners are everywhere.
There are more factors that make dog bites happen more often than simply just the breed of dog. The CDC had this to say on the issue, “Several interacting factors affect a dog’s propensity to bite, including heredity, sex, early experience, socialization and training, health (medical and behavioral), reproductive status, quality of ownership and supervision, and victim behavior. For example, a study in Denver of medically-attended dog bites in 1991 suggested that male dogs are 6.2 times more likely to bite than female dogs, sexually intact dogs are 2.6 times more likely to bite than neutered dogs, and chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite than unchained dogs.” Responsible owners spay/neuter their dogs, and do not leave them crated or chained for long periods of time. Caged or chained dogs are unable to release energy–this alone can cause aggresion in ANY breed of dog.
Pit Bulls are NOT responsible for the most dog bites in Canada. The Canadian Veterinary Journal that, “…pit bull terriers were responsible for [only] one of 28 dog bite-related fatalities reported in Canada from 1990 through 2007.”
Fear of one type of dog breed will not stop irresponsible owners from creating vicious dogs. In an article from HugABull.com it makes perfect sense, “What happens when BSL is put into place? For the irresponsible owner, not much changes. Irresponsible owners don’t license or train their dogs. They don’t comply with existing laws, and their dogs continue to misbehave. Even if their dog is seized, another dog will soon take its place – if not the same breed, another “strong” breed that’s easier to obtain”. This is the exact reason why throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s different dog breeds were in the same position as the Pit Bull is in now. The German Sheppard, Doberman Pincher, and the Rottweiler were all listed as “vicious” and “unmanageable” at one point or another in history.
Even the BCSPA which is the Animal Control enforcement agency in many lower mainland municipalities does not agree with BSL and it states as much on their website’s Position Statement located at http://www.spca.bc.ca/assets/documents/welfare/position-statements/dangerous-dogs.pdf .
Professional opinions on Pit Bulls and BSL should be taken into account. The following is a list of all the oganization that oppose Breed Specific Legislation:
National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI)
Is Ms. Turner implying that all these highly recognized organizations do not know what they are talking about?
Mr/Mrs. Editor, I hope at this point you get the facts.As far as my personal story goes it’s pretty simple:
It was a boring afternoon and I was searching the TV guide for something to watch. I stumbled upon a channel providing a tell-all into the Michael Vick case. After seeing what had occured I was completely sickened and immediately went to google and searched for local Pit Bull advocacy groups and rescues. I found one and sent in my volunteer application immediately. I must admit that I too was a citizen that had paid way too much attention to media reports on Pit Bulls and I was slightly afraid when I went to my first volunteer experience. Boy was I proved wrong about my fear. There were 20 Pit Bulls around me all being trained by their responsible owners. They taught me about proper canine introductions, how to be a responsible owner, and about the oppression that their preferred breed of dog faced. Within one hour I knew I had to have one of these gentle, friendly, compassionate, and loyal dogs by my side forever. My spouse and I decided to move from our current apartment which did not allow dogs to one that would. I quickly learned how difficult it would be to find an apartment that a)allowed dogs period and b) allowed Pit Bulls. Needless to say we couldn’t find option A and B together. SO, we ended up adopting our Oliver, a 12lb Dachshund. On any given weekend you can find myself and Oliver surrounded by 10-30 Pit Bulls and I have to this day to see a dog fight or dog attack. I feel so comfortable around them and I trust them so much as a breed that I can say that a Pit Bull will be my next dog AND it will be rescued. These dogs are so rehabilitatable and they make such great family pets that I can’t envision living much longer without having one by my side. Just how great of a dog are these dogs you may ask Mr./Mrs. Editor? Well, did you know that of the 50 seized Michael Vick dogs only three was euthanized (due to injury mostly, not aggression) and many of the remaining 47 have become certified Therapy Dogs? I would invite anyone who wishes to make up their own minds on the breed to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I along with other volunteers could show what the breed is really about.
A note to Ms. Turner: Next time you judge a breed of dog please do so with fact otherwise you are just contributing to the oppression that is brought on by biased fear and not knowledge. One day it could be YOUR breed that is under the microscope. Oh and before you say again, “If my dog goes postal, you might have a bruise. When a pit bull goes postal, you or your dog will end up seeking medical care or worse” you may want to contact someone who has done tests on jaw pressure because you will find no proof of what your statement is saying.