Thursday, October 06, 2016

BC Pit Bull Breed Ban Needed More than Ever as Attacks Escalate

Angry Pit Bull 
Despite ferocious owner backlash, we need our government to act.

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver / The Tyee column

Tuesday June 28, 2016

By Bill Tieleman

"You're a naive ignorant c**t if you wanna ban an entire breed of animals... trust me bud if anyone is gunna attack you it'll be me not my pitbulls."

- Email to me from pit bull owner on June 25

Attacks Keep Coming, Ban Dangerous Dogs in BC Now

As the number of vicious, maiming and fatal pit bull dog attacks escalate in British Columbia and beyond, so too does the ferocity of their owners in trying to bully those who support a ban on the breed.

Last week a Surrey woman's arm was ripped open in an unprovoked pit bull attack where the owner simply fled the scene.

On Friday two people were mauled in Vancouver by a dog whose breed isn't yet known, with one going to hospital.

And Quebec City and Montreal moved quickly to ban pit bulls last week following the horrendous death of a Montreal woman mauled by a neighbour's dog in her own yard.

UPDATE: Montreal's pit bull ban bylaw was challenged in court by the SPCA - and suspended by a judge.  Mayor Denis Coderre says the city is appealing that decision and he is disappointed but won't give in to "threats or interest groups".

But some pit bull advocates could not care less about the injuries -- they only worry about a ban on the aggressive and powerful dog breed. In fact, Quebec City police are worried about Mayor Régis Labeaume's personal safety after 13,000 Facebook comments about the ban.

This weekend a previous column drew the attention of pit bull advocates -- and resulted in several emails like the one above with veiled threats against me for calling for a ban.

Horror stories continue

The facts are clear. One breed of dog is responsible for most of the deaths and serious injuries: the pit bull category and related mixed breeds.

Last year in the United States pit bulls were responsible for 28 of 34 reported dog bite fatalities -- 82 per cent -- despite making up only about 6.6 per cent of the dog population.

Montreal and Quebec City join Ontario, Winnipeg, scores of other cities across North America, and U.S. military bases in banning pit bulls -- and dramatically reducing deaths and injuries.

Quebec Premier Premier Philippe Couillard says his province will likely follow Ontario's lead.

That's because the horror stories continue as relentlessly as a pit bull attack.

In New Haven, Connecticut, a 53-year-old woman lost both eyes and one leg in what was initially reported as a pit bull attack. She died last night, according to reports.

Also last week, a 58-year-old woman was seriously injured in a pit bull attack by a neighbour's dog in Callaway, Florida. When police went to her rescue the pit bull charged them and was shot dead.

But despite ample evidence showing pit bulls with no history of abuse that were raised in loving homes have suddenly snapped and attacked children and others, the defence of pit bull advocates continues: it's the owner, not the dog, they always claim.

Tell that to Surrey resident Brenda Moon. An uncontrolled pit bull savaged her so severely outside a Mac's convenience store that her arm was broken and the bone visible.

"He had me in his mouth and was shaking me... and then he dragged me," said Moon of the unprovoked attack.

The dog's owner left the scene with the pit bull despite Moon's serious injuries -- but he will not be charged with anything, say RCMP, because there's no law for the dog equivalent of a hit and run.

"So why are the police putting in all their hours trying to find this and stop them, if in the end they can't do anything... what is the point?" Moon asks.

And while the pit bull was euthanized, the owner is free to get another pit bull without any penalty at all, while the traumatized Moon may never fully recover.

BC ban now

But far too many pit bull owners could not care less about the destruction the breed is responsible for, and they damage the cause of reasonable owners.

Another threatening email I received this weekend over a past column is typical.

"You need to seriously start thinking about what youre saying. Pitbulls are like children for some people... you wont ever see me give mine up. ever. thats my child. And you are now the enemy. You propose sanctions on my family that you know nothing about. You are the enemy. Dont ever forget that," [sic] the owner wrote.

And while Ontario has banned pit bulls since 2005 and Quebec may also, Premier Christy Clark shrugged off calls for a province-wide pit bull ban, saying it's up to individual cities and towns: "Local governments have the power to do that now -- I'd urge them to do that, if that's a concern for them."

Not nearly good enough. While municipalities should institute bans, the most effective and appropriate way to stop the carnage is with a provincial ban.

And to be clear -- because some pit bull advocates don't get it -- existing dogs would not be put down. There would simply be a ban on any future breeding or importation of pit bulls.

B.C. should act because local government is susceptible to the extreme pressure and lobbying that pit bull advocates exercise to stop or overturn any bylaws they dislike, as happened in New Westminster in 2013 when a breed-specific dangerous dog bylaw was repealed.

But even after yet another savage pit bull attack in 2015 in New Westminster, the city said that it had "no plans" to amend the bylaw and restore previous protections.

Despite a never-ending stream of serious attacks in B.C., it appears governments won't act until forced to by a horrific child death.

Said Surrey attack victim Moon on pit bulls: "People shouldn't be allowed to have them. How many people do they have to kill? Somebody will die."



Anonymous said...

We live in America, but we do not agree with the stigma. I actually have a Rottie who is my service dog. It really has to do with their breeding (inbreeding) and the training required to have any large dog, really any dog at all.
I do not take any of my dogs to dog parks because too many owners of tiny dogs think it's really cute to let their little dogs run out toward big dogs like Great Danes, German Shepherds, any large dog and bark endlessly at its' face. Cesar Millan who many disagree with, and many do not I suppose, has gone to many dog parks to correct that. It is not "cute" when ANY DOG disobeys, and people with powerful dogs need to train their dogs. To me it is mandatory. I researched the breeds of all my dogs before I ever got them. I suppose I may be eccentric but I do not agree with mixing dog breeds, it seems to cause some confusion in the dog itself. I have seen way too many mixed pitbulls/labs etc put down because the labrador is acting like a pit bull half the time and a labrador the other half. Is it fair to the dog? Does anyone ever consider what the dog requires? Powerful breeds require powerful training. So do small dogs, need people who stop laughing at their dogs' behavior, and train them, knowing that one day a Great Dane may just eat them for lunch.
Ask yourself what in the world kind of genetic breeding went into changing a dog the size of a wolf into a tiny dog that shakes most of the time, barks because they are scared of everything, and charges large dogs.
So I am sorry to see this thing happen, but I have myself been bitten at least 5 times by small dogs charging me at a friend's door, while the pit bull was sleeping on the couch. It's the trainer. If people continue to see the dog as a "macho" statement, they can expect problems with that. Guard dog is normal, all dogs are. My Golden Retriever is more aggressive than my Rottie. She barks if someone drop a piece of popcorn 3 blocks away. She just likes it, it's irritating and I stop her. But please can we refrain from banning "breeds" of dogs. In the 70's it was doberman's, then it was shepherds, then it was Rottweilers, now it's Pitbulls. You could try training the owner to stop being a wuss.
Blessings to you

Anonymous said...

Its not rocket science. When people make the claim that its the owners not the breeds they are calling for a huge increase in government intervention in EVERY dog owners life. Because some dog owners are bright intelligent and responsible they DO NOT erase the stupid ignorant owners that need a pit bull to help make themselves important and give themselves increased status with their peers.
As we can not ban this type of person and the combination of an idiot with a powerful vicious breed is a recipe for disaster we must ban the dog breed.