Saturday, January 10, 2015

Enough with Attacks, BC Must Ban Pit Bulls Like Ontario and Winnipeg do

Pit bull on a big chain
16-day-old baby, 6'5, 250-pound man, and therapy dog all mauled in British Columbia in just the last two months

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver / The Tyee column

Tuesday January 6, 2015

By Bill Tieleman

NOTE to my readers:  There has been an organized effort by pit bull advocates to share the 24 Hours Vancouver version of my column since it went online early this week in order to vote “No” on a reader survey asking if pit bulls should be banned in BC.  

Over 14,000 Facebook shares and coincidentally – over 14,000 “No” votes to overwhelm the “Yes” side.  I have also had some really obscene, nasty and insulting emails and Tweets questioning my facts, my education, my research, my journalism, my grammar and coming close to threats.

That doesn’t deter me, as regular readers know from past experiences:  my office break-in and trashing in 2007 over Basi-Virk coverage and death threats from China investigated by the Vancouver Police Department in 2008.  

But I will not post obscene insults or personal attacks on those commenting here or myself – and this site is 100% moderated by me.  Lastly, I welcome comments from pit bull owners who disagree – that’s democracy.  But some people are way out of line and it only hurts their cause with the rest of us.  Now here’s my column:

"How do I go from a birth certificate to a death certificate? ... Those dogs cannot be domesticated. They cannot." 

               - Jeremiah Rutledge, father of two-year-old son Beau, killed by family pit bull, April 2013, Fulton County, Georgia.

A 16-day-old baby is viciously attacked in her own Saanich home by the family dog, suffering serious lacerations requiring extensive plastic surgery.

A six-foot five-inches man weighing 250 pounds is mauledby two dogs outside a Langley store, requiring 19 stitches, after saying "Hi, pups" to the pair tied to a mountain bike, which they dragged behind them to get at their target.

A miniature pinscher therapy dog is literally disemboweled in front of its shocked owner outside a Kitsilano post office by a sudden, unprovoked attack by another dog.

The common element? The attackers were all pit bulls. And these three reported B.C. incidents happened in only the last two months.

In the United States, statistics show that 25 people were killed by pit bull attacks in 2013 alone, including 18 children -- that's 78 per cent of all fatal dog bite deaths even though pit bulls make up roughly six per cent of all U.S. dogs.

The non-profit tracks fatal attacks and reports that between 2005 and 2013, pit bulls killed an astonishing 176 Americans -- or one every 19 days -- representing 62 per cent of all dog bite deaths. Rottweilers, another fighting/guard dog, killed 33 in the same period, for a combined total of 74 per cent.

The website chronicles each human death in horrifying, sourced stories with details about the dog involved.

It's time British Columbia followed the lead of Ontario and Winnipeg and banned pit bull breeds here as well, for the safety of us all.

Bring on the howls

You can hear howls of outrage from pit bull owners already. They will say it is "bad" owners, not bad dogs; that other dogs also attack and kill; and that breed bans don't work. Defending pit bulls is a major industry.

Yes, irresponsible owners help create monstrous dogs intended solely to fight and maim, but family "pets" have also killed at home. 

Yes, other dogs sometimes fatally bite, but not anywhere near as often as pit bulls. 

And breed bans actually do work.

In Ontario, pit bulls have been banned since 2005: no breeding or importation; existing pit bulls must be neutered; and if walked in public they must be leashed and muzzled.

Toronto city statistics prove it works: pit bull bites are down 92 per cent, from 168 reported bites in 2004 from 984 licensed dogs to just 13 bites in 2014 from 501 pit bulls.

Winnipeg stats tell the same story: severe dog bites are down since pit bulls were banned in 1990.

B.C. should ban pit bulls too, because continuing to whine about bad owners, not bad dogs, and doing nothing didn't save a baby, a man or a therapy dog from vicious pit bull attacks -- only a ban will.



Anonymous said...

I love dogs as well as all animals but I have to say I think some owners need to be muzzled and leashed too.

Cocoabean said...

We live in enough of an authoritarian world as it is.

More laws, more bans, more criminalization will not help us morph into a society of adults responsible for their own behavior. We're steadily being infantilized...

To that end we should be rescinding some of these edicts - not imposing more of them.

Instead of criminalizing innocent behavior - in this case the mere possession of objects which COULD (NOT "may", "likely to" or "will"!) - cause harm, perhaps the guiding principle going forward should be one of criminalizing ACTS, not possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Problem is, if they're banned how would that deter owners?

Some dogs are fighters. Pit Bulls are.

Anonymous said...

I have suggested on several articles that a county/state/etc should have the voters that live their decide on a pitbull ban-rather than a committee. One pit nutter from NZ commented that it shouldn't happen as they would vote the correctly. I agree with you!

Anonymous said...


If people really want to fight dogs they will find a way, so even if you ban pitties they will just move on to another breed. What happens then do you just keep banning dogs until no one can own a dog?

Yes I have owned pitbulls and had no problems but then again I have been attacked by a German Shepherd and My daughter was mauled by a Rottie. You never heard about those stories because they never make it on the news.

my question is how do you choose which dogs are pitbulls for this ban you so desire?? Are you gonna judge a dog by their looks, Force owners to submit their animals for DNA testing?

It is possible to have a dog that looks like a pitbull and its nowhere even close...for example a lab boxer cross can look just like a pitbull. People around the world have seen cases of Dogs being seized and killed must because of how they look and people all over the world were outraged and spoke out about this. If you want to look up facts try Belfast,Ireland. A case about a Dog named Lennox who was locked away and killed because of a measuring tape and because he looked close enough to what they wanted to kill.

Its kinda sad how one breed of Dog went from a Poster child for freedom (War posters), A celebrity that people loved (Petey from the Little Rascals) and Even a Celebrated War Hero (Sgt. Stubby) to something people are told to fear and has been portrayed as a monster on tv, movies and most of the News.

You know Bill it wasnt that long ago people were targetting Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and there are others.

Are you aware the top 3 dogs for Biting are the Dachshund, the Chihuahua and the Jack Russell

see for yourself

I know nothing anyone says will change your mind but remember there is good and bad with everything and everyone

case in point look at all the horrible things Christy Clark and Stephen Harper have done and nobody has banned or destroyed them.

Alissa R

Anonymous said...

So who bears the cost of the referendum?

The Left wing will get involved and turn it into an issue against the provincial government and everything the government does.

The Right wing will get involved and turn it into an issue defending the provincial government and everything the government does.

Someone who comments regularly to The Tyee will bring either climate change or the pipeline debate or the debate on LNG exports to China into it.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with feeling empathy and compassion for the families who have had members of their families attacked by a pet or even by a stranger's pet. It is disheartening to see and to deal with....

What I will say will strike controversy in some - It is important to know your animal or the animal that you are befriending. Some people just assume too much about their beloved pets, in this case - Pit bulls.

I will say this as I have owned many types of dogs, including but not limited to pit bulls. "Pitties" are jealous and one owner only, they will tolerate other members of the family but not "love" them as some would like to think. Just like us, they don't like everyone. They will befriend but only if the owner is in the vicinity - They do not like strangers, so approaching one is at your own risk, never mind 2 in a public area on top of that - On the one hand, the victim is justified because the owners should not have left their pit bull or any type of dog attached to a post in a public place. If you take your dog on a walk and know that there is possibility of attack - put a musle on them. Leaving your pet in a public area, creates a place of possible attack. Always has, always will. Too many times, I have seen kids try to approach dogs thinking that they are all friendly because they are attached to a post. They were, just not to them.

Misconceptions are based on a couple of attacks by one specific breed - Pit bulls are not being spared. This breed are generally very loving and very protective dogs. As are other breeds. I've been bitten by a Chihuahua but did not have the dog killed or banned - it was in its nature to be aggressive towards strangers....If ANY dog feels that they are threatened or feel that they are taking a back seat to a child (as a child requires more attention), or another human being, beware of the consequences. Like us, they have feelings, emotions that are displayed can vary from happiness to anger to jealousy to hate....

Simply banning a dog breed is ridiculous - EDUCATE YOURSELVES! get to know your family pet, stay away from strangers and their pets....It's no worse than walking in the forest expecting to pet a cub while the mother wold is watching - chances are you will get hurt or killed! People need to use their common sense.

Any dog will always have a wild side. The owners who breed dogs for fighting are the scums of the earth - because the same dogs father within the groups, creating much more dangerous dogs.

Education is the key, get to know your pet. Don't forget that you need to learn about behaviours of animals before you judge them. Owners, need to educate themselves on temperaments. Just because your dog was with you for 5-10 years, until the child comes will never be the same dog.

Sputnik said...

Thank you for not letting the pit bull crowd intimidate you. I hope you're not getting a new flood of hate mail and death threats.

I note that all the pit-fan commenters here don't let a single fact get through to them. They just repeat the same old collectively spread talking points yet again. I had to smile at the Anonymous who claims to have had two maulings in her family, by a GSD and a Rott -- usually they say it was a chihuahua or a Golden Retriever.

It remains a fact that pit bull type dogs are killing a human being every two weeks the past two years. Also that of the 18 children they killed in 2014, 10 were killed by 'beloved family pit bulls' that some adult relative kept.

Remains a fact that pit bull type dogs are mauling on average 120 normal animals every single day in North America. And that the pit fans are dumping almost a million every year for euthanization at shelters.

Remains a fact that where a referendum is held, consistently two thirds of voters want pit bulls to be or stay banned. No wonder the fans like internet polls better.

The fact that these pit bull people are indifferent to child maulings and deaths, to the horrific slow deaths of other animals, and even to their own killing (by proxy) of a million pit bulls yearly -- it all shows that it's not really about anything to them except about their egos and fashion image. They don't care about humans, don't care about animals, don't even care all that much about pit bulls.

The fashion image of a pathologically selfish crowd is not a good reason allow the loss of both human and animal life to go on. The only thing that stops it is indeed to ban this type of dog. Contrary to what the pit fans here claim, bans work. They are even good for pit bulls -- not that the pit bull crowd cares even about that.

Slachtoffers Vechthonden said...

I'd like to thank you too for braving this (in my opinion) sociopathic crowd. I've had friends literally terrorized by pit bull owners and fans for reporting the killing of their own dog to police. I have a couple of friends who were terrorized because they spoke publicly about the mauling deaths of their children by pit bulls.

It really is time to shut the lid on these people. Their pathological narcissism is costing the rest of us too much. If legislators don't dare offend this tiny but loud minority, they should indeed put it before voters. Let the people speak, then respect their choice.

Thank you!

Slachtoffers Vechthonden said...

I'd like to thank you too for braving this (in my opinion) sociopathic crowd. I've had friends literally terrorized by pit bull owners and fans for reporting the killing of their own dog to police. I have a couple of friends who were terrorized because they spoke publicly about the mauling deaths of their children by pit bulls. In one case, the pit bull crowd gathered and paraded up and down the parents' street -- with their pit bulls! -- on the day of the child's funeral. No, not dogfighters, but the ones who claim to have 'beloved family pet' pit bulls, and who put on a pretence of being respectable. You know, like they do here in the public comments while sending you hate and threat mail privately. It's a facade. In fact, the only reason they want to own pit bulls is because they can use them to bully and terrorize people.

It really is time to shut the lid on these people. Their pathological narcissism is costing the rest of us too much. If legislators don't dare offend this tiny but loud minority, they should indeed put it before voters. Let the people speak, then respect their choice.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

These fighting/gripping dog supporters that are commenting here are in la la land.
After a ban maulings and having your arm/leg pulled off, or little kids being gripped by the head and shaken drop to near zero levels.
If pit bulls were banned the dog fighters would not use a different breed, there is nothing else that will do the job like a pit bull, fighters will just keep them hidden away.
Its all the rescue shelter pits being saved by young animals rights people that have caused a big jump in attacks, they want to love sweet killer "good" but a good pit bull is one that attacks and won't stop attacking.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 14,000 shares of your column and I am sure all those shares came from pit bull supporters. Yeah, that's rational. Some writers *want* their work shared to a larger audience. I guess you are working to keep your pieces secret?

Anonymous said...

KUDOS for telling the truth and standing up to the nutters who band together from the whole wide world to dictate local laws so they can make the world safe for sadistic dog fighters.

Anonymous said...


I did some amateur research into some of those commenting on your article:

At 9:45 today I posted what I found. It seems clear pro-pit bull advocates monitor the Internet for anti-pit bull material, and then pile on.

Thanks for your excellent work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your ongoing work on this topic. Breed legislation laws against pit bulls in Vancouver were repealed less than 10 years ago, and it is clearly time to reassess the situation. Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster and West Vancouver have pit bull laws, as do many BC towns like Cranbrook, Kimberley, Nakusp, Nanaimo and Fort Nelson. Unfortunately it is trendy, cool & fashionable to advocate for pit bulls in Vancouver, despite extensive evidence to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Bill. These dogs have no place in our society. I am speechless at the insanity that places owning a weaponized animal about the welfare of our children.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Bill. These dogs have no place in our society. I am speechless at the insanity that places owning a weaponized animal about the welfare of our children.

Anonymous said...

Bad owners. People like you make me sick. May as well ban all the Indians for 911 too eh? Disgusting. Just like you. Take better care in watching your kid.

Courtney F said...

I'M SO MAD RIGHT NOW YOU NEVER HEAR ALL THE GREAT THINGS PITBULLS DO! THIS NEEDS TO STOP ALL THIS BANNING OF BREEDS, I live in Ontario and I am fighting to stop this here and we may finally do it :). Lets ban stupid white people but not any other race does that sound fair????? BLAME THE OWNERS NOT THE BREED why was a baby left with a dog regardless of it being a Pitbull a Lab or Beagle, could attack a baby just the same, it's hard enough with a loss of a baby or one being attacked, but THESE PARENTS ARE TO BLAME FOR THE ATTACK OF THERE BABY NOT THE DOG. Also why did the owner tie the dogs to a bike and not a pole, how did the person say hi to this dog you hear one side of the story but you didn't see it what if that person freaked out the dogs. Good dog owners would never leave a baby alone with any type of dog regardless of breed and a good owner would tie the dog to a pole not a bike. Good owners train there dogs and socialize them and make them better dogs. STOP BLAMING THE BREED AND HOLD THE OWNERS RESPONSIBLE!!!!! Pitbulls and rottweilers get this bad raps the dog isn't born that way it does what it was taught to do by the people owning them! I rescued my dog in 2010 I have a Pitbull/Rottweiler mix he is a 100lb lap dog he is great with women and children and shy with men you know why because a man abused him, so it take a few minutes for him to get to know men but once he feels safe he's as friendly as can be! But guess who got bit by a Lab while walking her dog me I ended up with stitches in my legs as the labs bite tore my leg right open. I even held my dog back from this dog that came charging at me. Do I think the Lab dog should be put down NO!!!! The owner didn't have control of her dog and she thinks that her lab charging at people is fine and that she wont hurt anyone but guess what she hurt me!

Unknown said...

It seems that most pro bit bulls state these are fighting dogs . They are , it is in the genetic make up of the dog .

It is simply the truth that a vast number of the people who own these dogs seem to think that the laws do not apply to them .

I am from Ontario. The pit bull is a greater problem here than it ever was in Ontario.

Imo one attack from these dogs The dog should be put down . The owner should be charged with public endangerment.
Because sorry dose not cut it Good luck getting the rcmp to enforce any dog law. These people do not care at all.

Anonymous said...

Punish the deed not the breed. These dogs that you are so adamant on banishing are all born as innocents. If they behave badly it is due to human neglect/abuse. How typical that someone with political/social ambitions would react with a "Chicken Little" mentality ...the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Place fear in your readers/constituents and then save them from the dreaded "devil dog"! If your child/grandchild was sexually/physically/verbally assaulted by their loved ones would you banish them for acting out? You just might, but then again you probably think that all African Americans are drug dealers, all Jewish descendants are rich and cheap, and all pitbulls are killing machines. Does that make you a Jackass?

Cameron said...

Hey Bill,

I like your logic, let's work with that. But I think we need to go a step further.
A quick look at crime statistics seems to show that most violent are committed by just a few 'breeds'. In fact, many of these crimes are much more violent than many, and in fact, history shows that selective breeding was done for traits including strength and fitness, which could actually make the attacks worse.

It's a slippery slope to the xenophobic club Bill. There's no argument there may be more bites, but statistics are more than skin deep. If you defend one argument, be prepared to defend the other.

I think owners needs to be a lot more responsible, and perhaps dog needs to pass temperament testing before being allowed off leash, or perhaps even on-leash on public property. This gets rid of the 'breed' issue.

Those going for an outright ban need to smarten up. It will be another breed in another 2 years that is used and abused by the dirt of society. Implementing temperament testing or similar would actually solve the overall problem, not just kick it on to the next breed.

Anonymous said...

Go jump in a lake and don't swim back...the world needs less people like you...

Learn to educate instead of discriminate ...

Anonymous said...

I agree with that. Some bad owners don't read 'no dogs allowed' signs and let their dogs play. I saw pit bull scaring a little girl at the 'no dogs allowed' beach.