Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thank you Yvette!

Finally, maybe some people might start to understand. This was written in the local paper, by Yvette Van Veen.

A two part series on you, your dog and the government

So much has changed over the past six months in terms of dog ownership. The recent changes have prompted dozens of questions. To answer some of the questions readers have, we will take a look at the impact of three months of the Dog Owner’s Liability Act. Next week we will take a look at animal related matters specific to London.

Officially, the Dog Owner’s Liability Act kicked off on Halloween. This means that on Oct. 31, we took our son out trick or treating as most people did. Sadly, during the evening, a dog lunged at my son’s face through a screen door. Welcome to DOLA.

If you base your opinion on what you read in the headlines, you may feel safer. In reality, you are quite possibly in more danger now than ever.

Dundas Street Dangers: Dundas is gaining a reputation as an area where muscle dogs wander at large. If the animals are seized, many of these owners do not care the animal will be put down. There are more readily available. No tags – no problem. It makes it just more difficult to ID the owner.

Exotic Muscle Breeds: Two years ago, it would be nearly impossible to find anyone who knew or wanted an exotic muscle dog. Usually weighing in at an excess of 100 lbs., these dogs make Staffies look like toy poodles. Some people want an aggressive dog. Those people have filled shelters with their ‘banned’ breed and have up-graded to larger dogs.

Court Challenges: In Kitchener, a recent court challenge has found in favour of the dog. There was no bite in the case, and no aggressive behavior. An officer identified the dog as a pit bull, and the owner contended the dog was not. Industry professionals have maintained from the outset that breed identification was ambiguous at best.

Millions of Your Dollars: London has estimated we should require $100,000 annually to address the situation. Hamilton places their estimate at $250,000. Provincially the totals run into the millions of dollars. And that is an estimate. Add the court costs that will no doubt arise and you get the picture. Lawyers cost money.

People at Risk: There are several cases currently before the courts where a pit bull-type dog has been attacked by an off-leash aggressive dog. The pit bull is ordered put down, and the aggressive off-leash animal owned by an irresponsible owner is still out there. Feel any safer yet?

What do responsible owners need to do? Follow the law. If you have any doubt how the law affects you, seek legal advice. There are specialists in dog law. If you need breed identification done, do not do so yourself. Find a veterinarian who will make a designation for you.

As for the average person who feels safer, think again. There is a reason large scale banning in England resulted in a 25 per cent increase in dog bites requiring hospitalization. Banning didn’t work during prohibition, and the gun registry does not inspire criminals to register their weapons. Why would DOLA be any different?


Blogger Conners said...

The majority of dog owners that have dogs that either are or could be on the list and possability of banning, would understand this. It's people that have this preconceived notion thanks to all the exposure the medias has given to the pit bulls (of irresponsible owners) and many people with small ankle biters that don't get it.
Hopefully we get more articles like this written, as this is what the public needs to hear.
But as you see, it's only in our home city and nothing that even brought close to headline news in the Free Press.
Still, it's an excellent article and hopefully by putting it on our pages, it circulates to others.

11:05 PM  

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