Thursday, August 31, 2006

Big bucks to spring puppy

Owner says bite call was a spite call

North End woman is livid after seeing her dog seized and quarantined -- saddling her with a nearly $200 pound bill -- only because someone cried wolf.

At least that's what Shannon Ogal insists happened when a teen girl complained to animal services officials last week that she had been bitten by the eight-month-old Labrador-cross on Manitoba Avenue.

Ogal lost her male pup, Ruffus -- at least temporarily -- last Wednesday when pound employees nabbed it as a result of a confrontation between her and a couple of teens in front of her house the previous evening.

The girls were "drunk or on something," Ogal said, when one of them taunted the animal.

"The next thing you know she screams, 'Your dog bit me!' " Ogal, a 27-year-old hotel desk clerk, told the Sun.

"She made it up. Then she just said she's calling the cops. She didn't show me the bite at all."

Dogcatchers showed up the next day to apprehend Ruffus, despite the owner's insistence there was no such attack or visible injury.

"There was nothing at all," Ogal said. "The worst he would do is maybe lick someone to death."


Animal services chief operator Tim Dack said the Labrador was seized for a 10-day quarantine -- a precautionary measure following any such apparent attack -- after his employees found that "a bite has occurred."

The pound's action, however, is not an indication that the girl was left with a clear wound.

"There doesn't have to be a mark. There doesn't have to be a scratch," Dack explained.

"The biting doesn't have to break the skin or leave a mark. It's the action of biting. People could be just lucky to not get bitten -- they could move their arm just in time, or it could just get their coat instead of them."

The 10-day confiscation, Dack said, protects the public in case the quarantined animal is rabid and costs the pet's owner $18 per day.

Even if Ogal retrieves Ruffus this weekend as she hopes, it will come with a bill of about $180 plus tax.

She wants the pound and police to listen to her argument that the teen complainant is a troublemaker allegedly responsible for a spray-painted slur, "Dead dog & dead bitch," scrawled on her rear shed since the incident.

"She's been harassing me. She drives by, swearing," said Ogal, who also owns Ruffus' mother Attila. "She said, 'It would be sad if your other dog is taken away, too.'"

Coun. Gord Steeves, head of city hall's protection committee, said he has confidence in the pound's ability to do the right thing.

"But hopefully they'll look at the injury. You don't want a dog picked up unless the dog has actually bitten someone," Steeves (St. Vital) said.

"It's just like a human. They are still dogs, but they are also innocent, I think, until proven guilty."

The pound requires bite victims to sign sworn statements in case judicial action follows.

"If we don't, anybody could just phone us and say, 'Joe Blow's dog down the street bit me,' because they don't like Joe Blow. That's not right," he said.

"I'm not saying people don't lie on statements, but we've never, to my knowledge or my memory, had a case when somebody has lied on a statement for a quarantine of an animal."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pit Bull Owners Protest Ban With Vigil

Monday August 28, 2006

Ontario's Bill 132 - "the pit bull ban" - is a relatively simple piece of legislation. Pit bulls born after a certain date must be euthanized in the interest of public safety, and those born before the date can live out their natural lives so long as they wear muzzles in public.

But many pit bull owners and dog lovers still vehemently oppose the ban, and on Sunday some gathered to voice that continued displeasure. Dozens were on hand at a candle light vigil on the lawn at Queen's Park protesting the ban, and not all of them even own a pit bull.

"Police may now enter a private residence, based on the suspicion that there is a dangerous dog inside that residence," said dog lover Selma Mulvin of her concerns regarding the law.

And she's nowhere near alone in worrying about that. Other's on hand insisted their dogs were harmless and being treated unfairly.

"He's a very fun-loving active dog," said a pit bull owner named Fabian.

Fabian's dog, Dolce, has worn a muzzle its entire life. And the dog, like the owner, isn't the least bit crazy about it.

"He just tries to take his muzzle off as we walk," Fabian added.

The ban came into effect almost a year ago after a series of pit bill attacks. Supporters of the new law said it was a victory and that it would prevent more attacks from happening.

But protests aside, Ontario's Attorney General Michael Bryant has made the rules law crystal clear.

"Pit bulls: banned. Banned. We are banning pit bulls," Bryant said at the time of the law's inception.

And yet the file may may not be sealed just yet.

Currently, a group of owners are in the process of launching a constitutional challenge to the law. The case was heard in the courts in May, but a decision is still pending.

What breeds are included in the pit bull ban?

American Staffordshire terriers, pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and American pit bull terriers - also any other breeds sharing 'substantially similar' characteristics

When did it take effect?

Monday, August 29, 2005, and a 60-day grace period ended Friday, October 28.

What are the regulations?

The amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act (DOLA) bar people from owning, breeding, transferring, importing, or abandoning pit bulls.

Pit bulls kept legally after the ban will be known as 'grandfathered' or restricted pit bulls.

In order for a pit bull to qualify as a 'grandfathered' or restricted pit bull, it must be owned by an Ontario resident on August 29 or born in Ontario within 90 days of August 29.

As of October 28, 2005, pit bull owners have to have their dogs leashed and muzzled in public and sterilized. Additionally, owners aren't allowed to train them to fight, and can't let them stray.

The only time a muzzle isn't required is when the dog is on the owner's property, or on another person's property if they consent to the muzzle's removal.

Muzzles should be humane, but strong enough to prevent the animal from biting without interfering with its ability to breathe, pant, see, or drink.

The leash must not exceed 1.8 metres.

What are the potential penalties if laws are broken?

$10,000 fine ($60,000 for corporations) and/or

Six months imprisonment and/or

The court could order the person convicted to compensate the victim and/or

The animal could be taken away or destroyed

Friday, August 25, 2006

Candlelight Vigil

I am broadcasting this to people who may have received it before, and others who haven't. There is a Candlelight Vigil on the south lawn of Queen's Park on Sunday, August 27th starting at 7 p.m. The vigil is to protest the Ontario Liberal government's breed specific legislation and mourn unoffending dogs that have been killed by this law, solely because of their shape.

For me, this law is not about the dogs. The Liberal politicians have not been forthright with the citizens of this province, they have not fully disclosed the implications of this law. This law makes responsible, law abiding people into second class citizens based on the property they own - their dogs. It is a travesty in a supposedly democratic society. If you sit by quietly while Canadian Charter rights are taken away from people based on the property they own, you cannot expect to keep your own Charter rights in the long run.

I'm including an excellent article written by a friend that summarizes the law and why it is so very wrong. Please come to Queen's Park, South Lawn on Sunday, August 27th, 2006 at 7 p.m. to let the government know that we will not go quietly into the good night, nor allow our rights to be whittled away for the sake of political ambition and sound bytes.

Yours, Dianne


On August 29, 2005, the Ontario Liberals' amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act became law in spite of overwhelming opposition by experts from across North America and the United Kingdom who testified voluntarily at their own expense. The Liberals preferred to listen to the handful of individually invited and funded pro-ban presenters at Committee hearings, not one of which is a credible expert on the subject.

Banned Aid challenged the law in Ontario Superior Court on May 15, 16 and 18 and awaits a ruling by Justice T Herman. We do not know when the ruling will be handed down.

Since last August 29, tens of thousands of Ontario dog owners have been living with the fear that their pets may be seized and put to death or sent to a research laboratory because of the draconian provisions in the legislation. There have been numerous cases of dogs being seized and held at pounds only because of their appearance. Court backlogs are growing. Dogs are not receiving adequate care. Dog owners are in a state of high anxiety. Law abiding citizens are now subject to:

1. Warrantless search and seizure within a residence based on a 'belief' by a police or animal control officer that a dog menaced, is menacing or may menace a person or domestic animal. This applies to a dog of ANY breed. A complaint by a neighbour is enough to initiate proceedings, including the warrantless search of a dwelling and the seizure of a dog using whatever force is deemed necessary. This can happen whether the dog owner is present or not, which is why many dog owners do not leave their dogs at home when they go to work - their neighbours have been whipped into a frenzy by the media and the government.

2. Warrantless search and seizure in public of a dog 'believed' to be a 'pit bull' (a nonexistent breed) whose owner is 'believed' to have violated the provisions of the act in the past. Provisions include muzzling, leashing and spaying or neutering of a dog who fits the 'substantially similar' category but due to a lack of publicity most people are unaware of what is actually contained in the legislation.

3. Reverse onus in a court hearing. The prosecution may accuse a dog owner of having a 'pit bull''. This has nothing to do with the behaviour of the dog, only its appearance. The onus is then on the owner to prove that the dog is not a 'pit bull', a nonexistent breed. In the case of unregistered or mixed breed dogs, the owner must prove the impossible in order to save their dog's life. There is no chance to receive a warning or pay a fine. The only penalty for a dog whose owner is convicted of ignoring the law is death.

4. Restrictions on mobility for dog owners of a vague type, ie, dogs with short coats, boxy heads and whip tails which may be (and have been) erroneously identified as 'pit bulls' by unqualified officials. Such dogs are prohibited from being imported into Ontario. Travellers (tourists, truckers and others) are prohibited from driving through Ontario with such a dog in their motor vehicle. Ontarians who own such dogs and are transferred to another province to work are prohibited from bringing their dogs back into Ontario with them after a three month period (think military).

5. Vagueness which makes it difficult for owners to know whether they are subject to the law or not. As this law is not being applied equally to all dog owners, many are confused as to whether their dog is a 'pit bull' (a nonexistent breed) under the legislation. This is partly because the two purebreds recognized in Canada, the Staffordshire Bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier, are very different in size and appearance. The American Pit Bull terrier is not recognized in Canada but is registered by the UKC and the ADBA - using two different standards.

There are an estimated three million dogs in Ontario. There are fewer than 30 AmStaffs, 800 Staffie Bulls and 200 American Pit Bull terriers in the province, ie, registered, purebred dogs. These are not the dogs that are running at large, being mistreated or biting people randomly. In fact, according to statistics (and as predicted by Banned Aid), dog bites have increased in many municipalities in Ontario. In Peterborough, for example, they are up 73% since the 'breed' ban went into effect.

This law is nothing more than scapegoating and playing to the gallery - it has nothing to do with controlling the incompetent or criminal dog owners who create dangerous dogs.

I posted a short excerpt from a ruling on my blog ( which eloquently explains why I find this law so repugnant and why I'm in this fight. Here is a link to the excerpt from Railway Express vs the State of New York:

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Experts from around the country have come forward to comment on the lawsuit filed May 4th by television producer Flody Suarez (8 Simple Rules) against Cesar Millan ("The Dog Whisperer") and his facility for severe injuries to his dog, Gator. Gator continues to require medical treatment and still cannot eat normally.

World-renowned dog trainers, behaviorists and veterinarians had all warned National Geographic that Millan's methods had the potential for disaster. Below are quotes from noted experts:

"Cesar Millan's methods are based on flooding and punishment. The results, though immediate, will be only transitory. His methods are misguided, outmoded, in some cases dangerous, and often inhumane. You would not want to be a dog under his sphere of influence. The sad thing is that the public does not recognize the error of his ways." Dr. Nicholas Dodman - Professor and Head, Section of Anima Behavior, Director of Behavior Clinic, Tufts University -Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Practices such as physically confronting aggressive dogs and using of choke collars for fearful dogs are outrageous by even the most diluted dog training standards. A profession that has been making steady gains in its professionalism, technical sophistication and humane standards has been greatly set back. I have long been deeply troubled by the popularity of Mr. Millan as so many will emulate him. To co-opt a word like `whispering' for arcane, violent and technically unsound practice is unconscionable." Jean Donaldson, The San Francisco SPCA-Director of The Academy for Dog Trainers.

"A number of qualified professionals have voiced concern for the welfare of pet dogs that experience the strong corrections administered by Mr. Millan. My concerns are based on his inappropriateness, inaccurate statements, and complete fabrications of explanations for dog behavior. His ideas, especially those about `dominance', are completely disconnected from the sciences of ethology and animal learning, which are our best hope for understanding and training our dogs and meeting their behavioral needs. Many of the techniques he encourages the public to try are dangerous, and not good for dogs or our relationships with them." Dr. Suzanne Hetts, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Co-owner of Animal Behavior Associates, Inc., Littleton, CO.

"Cesar Millan employs outdated methods that are dangerous and inhumane. Using a choke chain and treadmill to treat fear of strangers and dogs is completely inappropriate. Hopefully the National Geographic Channel will listen to the scientific community and discontinue production of The Dog Whisperer." Vyolet Michaels, CTC (Certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Counselor)

Excerpt below of letter from Lisa Laney, Dip. DTBC, CPDT, CBC to National Geographic before airing "The Dog Whisperer":

"The intended program depicts aversive and abusive training methods - treatment for some serious anxiety and fear based issues - being administered by an individual with no formal education whatsoever in canine behavioral sciences. The `results' that are shown are more than likely not long lasting changes, but the result of learned helplessness, or fatigue, neither of which impact behavior to any significant long term degree - at least not in a good way. For those of us who are pioneering the effort to end the ignorance that drives the cruel treatment administered upon our canine companions, it is disappointing to see that this programming will reach the masses - especially on the NG Channel. The ignorance that this program perpetuates will give equally ignorant people the green light to subject their dogs to abuse. In turn these dogs will react even more defensively, will bite more people - and end up dead."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Thu, 17 Aug 2006

QUEEN'S PARK - NDP MPP Peter Kormos is calling on Dalton McGuinty to take a “Campaign Challenge” in the September 14th by-election in Parkdale-High Park.

“In the last five by-elections Dalton McGuinty has kept a low profile - some call it subterranean,” said Kormos. “I’m challenging McGuinty to stop hiding and campaign with his candidate in Parkdale-High Park.”

A by-election has been called for the Toronto riding of Parkdale-High Park for September 14th. Since 2003, there have been five by-elections in Ontario and in every one the Liberal Leader has kept deliberate distance from his candidates - going as far as slipping into the Liberal campaign in Scarborough-Rouge River under what the Toronto Star described as “the cover of darkness” (“McGuinty low-profile in Liberal stronghold”, Toronto Star, November 14, 2005).

“I understand that Dalton McGuinty might not want to discuss his nuclear power scheme or his broken promises on private hospitals with ordinary voters. But that’s what makes it a challenge,” said Kormos.

“There are many ways the Premier can win the Campaign Challenge. He can knock on doors. He can go to coffee shops. He can simply stand on a street corner,” said Kormos. “There’s only one condition: he has to actually go to the riding of Parkdale-High Park when people can see him. Driving through after dark will not qualify.”

Dog groups seek to sway legislation

Target bad owners, not breeds, they say
By Charles Sheehan
Tribune staff reporter
Published August 20, 2006

Pushing back against what they called unfair media coverage, dog advocates said Saturday that the public would be better served by laws that target bad owners--not pit bulls or Rottweilers.

The 2006 Canine Legislation Conference, held in downtown Chicago, may be the first of its kind to devote its entire agenda to "breed-specific legislation," or laws that target dogs like pit bulls, according to national animal advocacy groups in attendance.

Organizers said they hope it is the beginning of a more focused and sophisticated response to a slew of municipal laws that ban specific breeds of dog.

The conference runs through Sunday.

Presentations included "developing effective political relationships" and "dog-bite statistics and dog-ownership trends from a social science perspective."

A consistent criticism from those in attendance was how the media portray pit bull or Rottweiler attacks, media that include the Chicago Tribune, said Ledy VanKavage, senior director of legal training and legislation for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"It's not just the Tribune, it's rampant. What we see as a result are laws that target pit bull-type dogs, which means any dog," VanKavage said. "This is America and these dogs are property. An officer who knows nothing about dogs could say it looks like a pit bull and kill it and that's un-American."

In the week before the conference, the Tribune ran a three-part series on a McHenry County boy's struggle to heal after a pit bull attack that left him badly mauled.

A Tribune editorial that followed the series called pit bulls "unpredictable."Conference organizers showed slide after slide of data to dispute that assertion.

But organizers want to do more than preach to the converted, even though not all of the people in attendance were owners of pit bulls or Rottweilers.

Pit bulls and Rottweilers may be the target today, but any other breed could be next, was the message.

For example, presenters said Los Angeles County recently passed a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance that applies to all dogs.

Though the intended targets of the neutering law were Rottweilers and pit bulls, the ordinance was broadened to apply to all dogs so it would pass legal muster, according to Jan Cooper, who chairs the legislative committee of the American Rottweiler Club.

Purebred dogs registered with certain breed clubs are exempt, but Cooper said very few dogs belong to recognized clubs.

"They are singling out in a reverse manner multitudes of breeds that could never comply, therefore ending the existence of those breeds."

In a presentation, Cooper highlighted dozens of breeds that have been banned in communities across the United States and in other countries.

There are a dozen or so large groups pushing back against breed-specific legislation, said Aron Woolman, who helped organize the event. He and others aren't sure if that loose coalition would eventually merge into a regional or national group focusing only on specific breed legislation.

The wave of new laws has become significant enough, however, to spawn a conference this weekend that drew people from 12 states and Canada, Woolman said.

One of the presenters was Jeff Armstrong, who lobbied hard for the passage of Illinois legislation often called Ryan's Law, after Armstrong's son. The child, 7 at the time, was injured by a Rottweiler in 2001.

The measure authorizes counties to increase penalties against owners of dogs that attack people and to establish liability for dog owners.

Armstrong is not a dog owner, but like many at the conference, he said he would like to see more states adopt legislation that targets owners. Initially, he, too, wanted to ban Rottweilers and other breeds, he said.

But after researching dog attacks, he said he changed his mind.

"It's like banning red SUVs if a loved one is run over by a red SUV," Armstrong said. "I know it's like the [National Rifle Association], but it's true. You don't punish the dog or all dog owners because of one bad owner."

Organizers filled the conference with plenty of images showing the softer side of dogs.

There were posters with iconic, black-and-white images of children holding pit bull terriers.

There was talk of finding a new poster boy for the movement, perhaps, some suggested, the winner of the "Best in Show" category during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

The winner was Ch. Rocky Top's Sundance Kid, a colored bull terrier.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Deadly dog day in Waterloo

Police kill canines after biting attack
By Melinda Dalton Record staff

Police shot and killed a pitbull and fatally wounded another dog near a Waterloo townhouse complex today after the animals bit two people and lunged at officers.

The victims, a 12-year old girl and a 56 -year-old man, were taken to Grand River hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Police were called to the townhouse complex on Sunnydale Place shortly before 8 a.m. after a man reported he had been surrounded by three loose dogs and bitten on the leg by one.

When police arrived, the dogs -- a one-year-old Staffordshire, a seven-month old german sheppard mix and a Jack Russell- Daschund mix -- approached the officers in an aggressive manner, said Waterloo regional police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel.

They then circled a 12-year-old girl who was standing in the courtyard and the pit bull bit her in the leg.

Police chased the animals away from the victims into a nearby felid where two of the dogs lunged at the officers, Heinzel said.

Officers fired at the animals, killing one instantly and wounding another, which was later put down due the severity of its injuries.

Heinzel said a number of officers responded, but declined to say how many shots were fired or how many officers drew their weapons citing an ongoing investigation.

"The important thing to remember is there was a threat to public safety and the officers needed to respond," he said.

"They had to take some some action and that's the action that they took."

The third dog, the Jack Russell mix, ran away after hearing the gun fire and hid in a neighbour's backyard.

Charges have not been laid against the animals' owner, but the investigation is continuing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

American Dog Owner’s Association Wins Judgment Against City of Englewood, New Jersey To Overturn Breed Specific Law

ADOA granted an interlocutory judgment against the City of Englewood to stay illegal breed ban, a direct violation of New Jersey State law, Docket No. BER-L-5285-06, on behalf of resident dog owners.

Englewood, NJ (PRWEB) August 13, 2006 -- The American Dog Owners Association (ADOA) and two of its members, Natalie Wells and Mia Rodriguez, who reside in Englewood, New Jersey, were granted an interlocutory judgment against the City Of Englewood in New Jersey Superior Court this week in the challenge to overturn the city’s illegal breed specific ordinance, Docket No. BER-L-5285-06. Judge Jonathan Harris found that the city’s aggressive dog ordinance, which defined specific breeds of dogs as dangerous, was a clear and direct violation of state law, which explicitly prohibits breed discrimination. The American Dog Owners Association, the country’s largest independent dog owner’s organization, had asserted that the City of Englewood, New Jersey failed to provide its residents equal protection under the law by denying the residents’ applications to license their dogs and has subjected them to harassment.

“Breed discrimination is illegal in New Jersey, and now all good dog owners with good dogs in Englewood can breath a sigh of relief”, said Maureen Hill-Hauch, ADOA’s Executive Director. She noted that New Jersey’s Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act is one of the strongest dangerous dog laws in the country. “The City of Englewood has a duty to protect the public health and safety of all of its citizens, as well as protect the rights of responsible dog owners, regardless of breed. We’re so pleased that the court will require the City of Englewood to comply with state law”.

Breed bans and other breed-specific measures are strongly opposed by all major animal welfare and veterinary medical organizations, as well as the Center For Disease Control, as being ineffective against the prevention of dog bites or attacks. The list of New Jersey-based organizations opposed to breed specific laws and measures includes the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs and the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association.

The New Jersey Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act, N.J. S.A. S.S.4:19-36, explicitly prohibits breed discrimination, stating, “any law, ordinance, or regulation concerning vicious or potentially dangerous dogs, any specific breed of dog or any other type of dog inconsistent with this act enacted by any municipality, county or county board of health”.

The City of Englewood argued that it’s Ordinance N.99-66 did not violate N.J.S.A.S.S 4:19-26 by defining the following breeds as aggressive: Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers, or “any dogs of mixed breed which has the appearance or characteristics of being predominately of the breeds”, and bans them from being kept within the City of Englewood.

Flora Edwards, counsel for the Plaintiffs, previously told the court that under the city’s illegal breed-specific ordinance, even Rufus, this year’s winner of Best In Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, would be unwelcome in the City of Englewood, and his owners would run the risk of having the world’s top dog seized and impounded. Rufus, a Colored Bull Terrier, resides with his owners in Holmdel, New Jersey.

An interlocutory judgment was granted the Plaintiffs, the American Dog Owner’s Association, Natalie Wells and Mia Rodriguez, on Monday, August 7, by the Honorable Jonathan Harris in Bergen Country Superior Court against the City of Englewood. The order prevents the city from enforcing or implementing any section of the city’s dangerous dog ordinance. In his ruling, Judge Harris called Englewood’s Ordinance 66-99, “outright contradictory”.

Judge Harris cited numerous issues with the Englewood dog ordinance, stating that Ordinance N.66-99 shifts the burden of proof to the pet owner, changes the process by which a dog can be declared dangerous, and provides a different array of sanctions in conflict with state law. Furthermore, he stated that t not granting the judgment would subject the dogs to immediate seizure and cause the Plaintiff’s irreparable harm.

The Plaintiffs, Ms. Wells, a stock analyst, and the owner of Sentry, a twelve-year old American Pit Bull Terrier, and Ms. Rodriguez, a respected artist and owner of Cyrus, also a rescued American Pit Bull Terrier, say they both lived in fear that their dogs will be seized by the City of Englewood, and have been subjected to a pattern of harassment by the city’s Department of Health since trying to obtain licenses for their dogs. Both dogs are well cared for and well socialized, and pose no threat to the public.

“Now I can walk Cyrus in public and not worry the police will stop me”, said Ms. Rodriguez. Ms Rodriguez rescued her dog, Cyrus, as a puppy and helped nurse him back to health from a near-fatal bout with parvovirus with the help of donated services from a local veterinarian.

Ms. Wells, who suffers from lupus, is looking forward to visiting Englewood’s City Hall to obtain a license for Sentry. Ms. Wells bought a home in Englewood late last year and was unaware of the town’s breed specific ordinance. “Now I don’t have to worry the city will take my dog away”.

Barbara Haywood, ADOA’s volunteer communications coordinator, said that the American Dog Owner’s Association lawsuit has received tremendous support from dog organizations throughout the country as well as letters of official endorsement from dog clubs, notably the Bull Terrier Club of America, the parent club for the world’s top dog, Rufus, the colored Bull Terrier. The ADOA filed suit on behalf of its members, and actively sought other resident dog owners in Englewood with the breeds or mixes of breeds of dogs banned by the city to join the lawsuit free of charge.

The American Dog Owners Association, ADOA, founded in 1970, is the country’s largest independent dog owner organization representing individual dog owners, breeders, handlers, and dog clubs of all breeds, mixes and backgrounds. The American Dog Owners Association recognizes the special relationship between dogs and humans, and advocates for the protection and preservation of responsible dog ownership and education of the public about responsible dog ownership and strong dangerous dog legislation.

On the web at

Media Contacts:
Maureen Hill-Hauch 800-266-6233
Barbara Haywood 201-396-0974

Dog Bite Statistics

1.) Since 1998, the breed most involved in fatal attacks has been the Rottweiler, not the various Pit Bull breeds.

2.) Although there are no accurate or even near accurate census records for dogs in the U.S., in some populations pit bulls are estimated to comprise some 30-40% of the dog population, making it by FAR the most popular breed. Considering that there are an estimated 53,000,000 dogs in the U.S., and assuming that pit bulls make up 20% of that population, there would be approximately 10,600,000 pit bulls in our society. In 1998, five pit bulls were involved in 2 fatal attacks. That is roughly ONE dog out of 2,120,000 - or .00004716 percent of the pit bull Population.

3.) Over the 32-year period from 1965-2001, Pit Bulls have been blamed for/accused of an average of 2.48 human fatalities per year.

4.) About 40 people (children) per year die by drowning in 5-gallon water pails. A person, during their lifetime, is 16 times more likely to drown in a 5-gallon water pail than to be killed by a Pit Bull.

5.) Approximately 50 children in the US are killed every year by their cribs - 25 times the number of children and adults killed by Pit Bulls.

6.) Approximately 150 people are killed every year by falling coconuts. Therefore, you are more than 60 TIMES MORE LIKELY to be killed by a PALM TREE than a Pit Bull.

7.) Each year, 350 people drown in their bathtubs. You are 151 times more likely to be killed by your bathtub than you are by a Pit Bull.

8) Every year, more than 2,000 children in the U.S. are killed by their parents or guardians either through abuse or neglect. A child is more than 800 times more likely to be killed by their caretaker than by a Pit Bull.

9) It is estimated that 5,000,000 dogs per year are killed in shelters. Since in many places pit bulls make up 30-50% of the shelter population, and are less likely to be considered for placement than any other breed, guessing that 25% of those dogs killed are pit bulls is a very conservative estimate. Therefore, it can be assumed that roughly 1,250,000 pit bulls are killed per year. Therefore - it is at least a HALF MILLION TIMES MORE LIKELY that a Pit Bull will be killed by a HUMAN than the other way around.

10) The average Number of people killed by a Pit Bull each year is 3.

11) It can be estimated that for every Pit Bull who kills, there are 10.5 MILLION that DON'T. This country wants to ban/destroy 10.5 million innocent dogs for the actions of 0.94% of its category?

Dog ban 'unconstitutional'

By:Gregg M. Miliote,
Herald News Staff Reporter

FALL RIVER - A proposed breed-specific dog ordinance was sent back to committee Tuesday night after the City Council heard impassioned pleas from several residents opposed to the legislation and received a letter from the city's attorney stating the City Council's proposed breed-specific dog ordinance was "unconstitutionally vague."

About 150 concerned residents, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "Blame the deed not the breed," attended Tuesday night's meeting to voice their displeasure with the council's proposed ordinance.

The ordinance would have required all owners of pit bulls and Rottweilers to keep the dogs confined behind 6-foot high fences. The dogs would not be allowed off their properties except to go to the veterinarian. Also, those two breeds would not be allowed to be sold within the city limits.

In his letter to the council, Corporation Counsel Thomas McGuire said, as currently drafted, the dog ordinance is unconstitutional.

He said the state's Supreme Judicial Court in 1989 ruled that a similar breed-specific ordinance penned by the Lynn City Council was unconstitutionally vague.

"As I stated to the Committee on Ordinances at its meeting on July 11, the ordinance, as presently drafted, appears to be unconstitutional," McGuire wrote. "I am therefore unable to approve the legal character of the ordinance in its present form."

McGuire's legal argument against the ordinance was bolstered by a more emotional argument from countless members of the public who addressed the council Tuesday night.

Several dog owners said it was unfair to judge all dogs the same way, and asserted the council lacked an education on dogs in general.

"There's no such thing as a bad dog. There are bad owners who don't know how to train their dogs," said city resident Joe Silvia. "We really need to educate owners. Dogs need exercise. If you pen them in, they become more violent."

Worcester-based attorney Rebecca Carner, who said she has already been retained by angry Fall River dog owners, said she is prepared to challenge the ordinance in court if need be, but said she and her clients would much rather work with the council on a more sensible dog ordinance.

She also questioned the relevancy of a breed-specific dog ordinance, asserting that criminals the ordinance is intended to root out would adjust to the change in law, leaving law-abiding dog owners with the heartache.

"Drug dealers are already ignoring your laws," Carner asserted. "They will just switch breeds."

The most emotional plea came from city resident Anthony Babine, who told a story about his sister's Rottweiler, Coco, that silenced the 150 or so audience members.

Babine said one day Coco began relentlessly pounding his head up against his sister's bedroom door to get the family's attention. When Babine finally came to the door, he found it was locked. But Coco would not stop slamming into it.

Babine said he eventually broke the door down and found his sister choking to death on her bed.

"Coco saved my sister's life," Babine said.

Although opponents of the proposed ordinance won a victory Tuesday night, the matter is still open. Instead, it was referred back to committee where it can be reworked and resubmitted to the full council for another vote.

City Council President William F. Whitty said the Committee on Ordinances will now reassess the issue.

"This ordinance was not just pulled out of the air," Whitty told the audience members. "We tried to be fair with it."

A date when the Committee on Ordinances next meets has yet to be scheduled.


What possibly could motivate someone to own an attack dog as a pet?

There are several such breeds, notably pit bulls and rottweilers. They are infamous for their ability to tear fles, animal and human, and to clamp down unflinchingly with the vicious tenaciousness of, well, a pit bull.

Recently, a man and his golden retriever in London were ferociously attacked when the two neighbour pit bulls somehow escaped their fenced yard into his. In an attempt to safe his own pet, he tried to seperate the animals and was immediately attacked himself. One of the pit bulls began to tear him apart. His screams of terror caused a neighbour to call the police who must have arrived promptly.

They shot both dogs, one not releasing the retriever from its jaws until it died. The other wounded dog was later put to death.

Luckily the retriever and its owner lived, torn and bloody and with thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.

This recalls an attack earlier this year where some similar breed ripped out the throat of a poor soul in a hamlet northeast of here. That fellow was not nearly so lucky, dying almost instantly.
There is any number of alternative breeds available, remarkable for their grace, intelligence and docility, naturally attractive characteristics for a pet.

Junk yard dog should not be synonymous with back yard dog.

We recall touring a Canadian Forces military base in Bosnia about 10 years ago. Off in a chain-link pen inside the compuond were some attack dogs which, on approach, charged the fence with frightening agression. A wry wit had labelled their pen "Jurassic Park", a move then current and known for its flesh tearing dinosaurs.

That is the only legitimate use of such animals we can imagine - guarding equipment in a vulnerable area.

Back home, if you need protection, call the police.

Dog walkers strutting with their furry time bombs know that they are attention getters - through threat and intimidation.

The owners should be shunned.

Rogue animal activists stole Mike Costello's dog

Now Annex residents are trying to help the homeless man get Trouble back

Mike Costello shows a picture of Trouble, his dog, stolen from his last month. (Craig Robertson, Sun)

Detectives in 14 Division have launched a police investigation into a rogue animal rights group that stole a homeless man's dog and then wrote an anonymous and caustically worded letter bragging about its exploits.

The return address on that letter was bogus, of course. And arrogant, with its laughing-out-loud shorthand. "Stop Animal Neglect, 101 Dalmation (sic) Road, Rescue City," it read, followed by the fictitious thumb-your-nose postal code of "LOLBYE."

According to Staff-Sgt. Dave Woodley of 14 Division, the theft of the dog is being taken seriously.
There is, in fact, a seven-page occurrence report that has been assigned to Det.-Const. Graham Atkinson of 14 Division's criminal investigations bureau.


"We are on it," says Woodley.

Mike Costello, 56, is the homeless man. He came from the Galway region of Ireland in 1971, worked construction, fell on hard times and landed on the streets six years ago.

Trouble is -- or was -- the name of his dog, a shepherd-bull terrier cross that many dog-loving residents of the Annex have known for all the years that this man and his dog have staked out the corner of Dupont and Spadina -- and that includes Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford, who not only allows Costello to use her mailing address as if it were his but has given him access to her own veterinarian.

"I've always found Mike to be completely reliable, and a lot more reliable than a lot of people I know with homes," says Blatchford. "And he loves that dog. It is more important to him than anything else in his life.

"What these people did to him is wrong."

Trouble, who is eight, and who has been with Mike Costello for seven years, was snatched outside a storefront at Dupont and Spadina on Friday, July 21, while Costello was inside buying his morning coffee.

There are hundreds of homeless people in this city, and many with dogs. But it is rare for neighbours in the area where such homeless people live to rally around an individual who lives on the streets and actually put up posters to help him retrieve a dog that initially was thought to be the victim of an adolescent prank.

But that's what has happened here.

Charlene Eales, a communications consultant with a major insurance company, was one of those neighbours. Not only did she put up posters offering a reward for Trouble's return, using her home number as a contact, she got in touch with Michelle Nadon of the Toronto chapter of an animal welfare group called A Cause for Paws, asking for assistance.

And this is where it got strange.

Before Eales had contacted her, Nadon was informed of an anonymous call to the Toronto Humane Society and to an animal sanctuary in Ottawa, inquiring whether either organization would give refuge to a dog that was about to be seized off the streets of Toronto.

Both groups refused to be involved in such a plot.

Nadon immediately e-mailed all her contacts in the animal rescue game, advising them that Trouble had been illegally snatched and that his owner, while homeless, made sure that Trouble was "exceptionally loved and well cared for."

"His owner is heartbroken," Nadon wrote in her e-mail, asking any rescuer who came into contact with Trouble to immediately contact her or Charlene Eales.

The aforementioned letter from the thieves -- caustic, arrogant, and written with a sense of entitlement -- arrived in Charlene Eales' mailbox a few days later and is now in the hands of police.

It was also addressed to "Mitch."


It was addressed to Mitch because the letter also included a copy of the e-mail that Michelle Nadon had sent to all her animal rescue contacts, meaning someone inside one of those normally law-abiding groups was one of those involved in stealing Trouble.

Mitch, after all, is Michelle Nadon's nickname -- something only insiders or friends would know.
The letter called both Eales and Nadon "laughingstocks" for trying to secure Trouble's return.
The language was denigrating and mocking.

"We cannot say enough how disgusted we are with both of you for trying so hard to reunite Mike and Trouble," the letter says.

Then the letter goes on to libel Mike Costello, citing alleged mental health issues and public drunkenness, as well as their perception that he is guilty of animal neglect.

Rochelle Cantor is a lawyer, and it is along her front stoop at Dupont and Spadina that Mike Costello and Trouble could often be found sitting in the shade.

And she, too, is on Mike Costello's side.

"That dog is in better shape, and better cared for, than most of us," she says, indicating that Costello often used the hose at the side of her office to get water for Trouble.

"Everyone around here watches out for them. Whoever took Trouble is terribly misguided.

"If they are such humanitarians," she says, "why don't they 'rescue' Mike and take him into their care?"

No one, by the by, has ever seen Mike Costello drunk in public -- not Cantor, not Eales, not any retailer or pedestrian approached on his corner for comment -- although he can occasionally be found sipping from a can of beer.

"I don't drink very much," Costello says. "I used to, years ago, but not any more.

"Right now I just want Trouble back. What people think of me doesn't matter. But I'm a good person, I really am.

"And I love that dog. He's all that matters."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Vote for Brok

My Name: Brok

BFF: Samantha

"Hello, my name is Brok and I am a 15 year old boy -pit bull mix. I love sitting in the sun beam all day long no matter how hot it gets! I like toys that are small and stuffed. My best friends are Bella and Jimi, two pups that just ...adore me! Even when I am a grumpy ole boy!"

Brok says: Punish the deed, not the breed

Vote for Brok

Thursday, August 17, 2006

One Year Anniversary Candlelight Vigil

One Year Anniversary Candlelight Vigil to be held at Queen's Park on August 27th, 2006 at 7 pm.

Dog owners and responsible citizens will hold a candlelight vigil at Queens Park in memory of the thousands of 'pit bulls' that have been wrongfully persecuted since the enactment of Bill 132 which took effect on August 29, 2005.

We are still here and still fighting for our rights and our dogs lives!!

What: Candlelight Vigil Protesting Bill 132 – One Year Anniversary
Where: Queen's Park, Toronto, ON - South Lawn
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Come out and show your support!!

One Year Anniversary Candlelight Vigil

One Year Anniversary Candlelight Vigil to be held at Queen's Park on August 27th, 2006 at 7 pm.

Dog owners and responsible citizens will hold a candlelight vigil at Queens Park in memory of the thousands of 'pit bulls' that have been wrongfully persecuted since the enactment of Bill 132 which took effect on August 29, 2005.

We are still here and still fighting for our rights and our dogs lives!!

What: Candlelight Vigil Protesting Bill 132 – One Year Anniversary
Where: Queen's Park, Toronto, ON - South Lawn
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Come out and show your support!!

Finally, some positive news about pit bulls

LettersLetters to the Editor - Monday, August 14, 2006

We have heard, on countless occasions, how vicious the pitbull is. Recently, Ontario has taken steps to ban the breed of dogs known as pitbulls on the basis that they tend to be aggressive. I have been strongly against this ban for two reasons:

There is no clear evidence that states pitbulls are a real problem in Ontario;

The breed itself is no more dangerous than any other breed of medium- to large-sized dog.

I believe that banning a breed of dog because of its potential to cause harm is not justified. We do not ban knives because of what they can do, nor do we ban certain makes of automobile because they may be weapons in the hands of reckless drivers.

We impose a ban where there is evidence of a real, not potential, problem.

I would like to point out a piece of real evidence that supports removing the ban on this breed of dog. The pitbull (slang for American Staffordshire terrier) has been subjected to overwhelming amounts of negative media.

However, there is finally some evidence about this breed that tells a different story. During the past few weeks, there were two articles in The Sault Star about the heroic behaviour of a pitbull named Sam.

The case is now receiving national attention and involved a man who was ultimately saved by his best friend, a pitbull, who alerted his owner of a bear.

Were it not for the courage of the pitbull, the man may not have survived.

The pitbull, Sam, acted on instinct to protect its owner and acted in a heroic manner, yet this is a case you would never see on the front page of any newspaper, although it should be there.

Who knew that the dogs our government calls "vicious" could also be courageous? We hear plenty of bad things about pitbulls, but rarely do we hear about how loving and courageous they are. In other words, it seems we only hear the negative in the news, not the positive.

Too often we hear of plane crashes, but rarely do we hear of planes that land without incident. I guess there would be no news about the planes that land, would there?

We need to recognize the potential that this breed has to be loving, courageous, loyal and obedient, in addition to the fact that most of these dogs would walk through fire for their masters.

I am the proud owner of a pitbull named Kody, and I am confident that given the same situation, he would have acted similar to Sam. As a community of dog owners, we need to rally against the distorted perceptions that many hold regarding pitbulls. We need to publicize their good behaviour.

This may bring us one step closer to removing the ban on this breed. Don't punish the breed, punish the deed. We need to convince our government that pitbulls have the potential to be heroes.

Anthony Fabiano
Prentice Avenue

Monday, August 14, 2006

Animal Rightists: Coming to a Town Near You

Are Your Council Members Being Used as Pawns?
By Nick Van Duren
Aug 11, 2006, 21:03

A disturbing trend is sweeping America: Costly and destructive animal ordinances. The reason stems from an all-out effort by Animal Rightist organizations to lobby every single city in the U.S. They are searching out lawmakers to exploit and further their twisted agenda.

A Full-Court Press

It’s hard to comprehend, but the leadership of the largest and most profitable "non-profit" lobbying Animal Rights organizations has an ambitious goal in mind: destroying all usage and ownership of domestic animals. That includes, but is not limited to, abolishing pet ownership.

(See Animal Rightist Quotes Below)

Animal Rightists know full-well that they are not main-stream. However, they’ve been successful in influencing the American lexicon with politically correct words such as "over-population". With financial support from Hollywood and an ill-informed public, they spread propaganda, and inaccuracies about dog behavior. Their legislative packets are filled with phony studies, quack testimony, faulty statistics, and other materials are sent to city councils all over the country under the guise of being a reputable source. The News Press has been all too happy to oblige, publishing sensationalized stories which trump up the credibility of such a nonsensical agenda.

What is missing from these News stories is that these groups do not care one whit about animals, the welfare of animals, or the health and longevity of animals. This is proved by the fact that animal rights groups such as PeTA, claim to be helping elephants in Africa, but are simultaneously lobbying an all-out assault to destroy cats, dogs, and the family pet at home. Do you know the difference between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights?

Animal Welfare is concerned with health, safety, quality of life, and the future of animals.

Animal Rights views domestic animal ownership as "slavery" and seeks to destroy the domestic animal by whatever means necessary. The fastest and most effective way to accomplish this agenda is by using lawmakers to pass prohibitive animal laws, such as mandatory spay/neuter, or breed specific ordinances (BSL).

The relationship between man and dog goes back literally tens of thousands of years. Animal Rights seeks to destroy that Just as wild animals are important to this world, domestic animals and our pets are an integral part of our short time on this Earth. There is nothing good about the Animal Rightist’s agenda to eradicate the future of our beloved pets.

Once the ownership and the relationship we have to the domestic animal is destroyed, it is quite obvious that they’ll move on to the next power-seeking agenda. Just like a plague of locusts, they infect the culture, exploit lawmakers to do their bidding, corrupt shelters and law enforcement, manipulate the News Press, and profit off it at everyone’s expense.

What makes these activists tick? First, they are collectivist in nature. They obviously harbor a deep-seeded hatred for humanity. Yet, they should not be underestimated in any way, shape, or form. They are well-organized, well-connected and extremely well-funded.

Sphere of Influence

The pathology of this evil has many faces, which both the public and lawmakers should be aware of. This is crucial to avoiding its sphere of influence. No good can come of associating with these groups and individuals. I can not stress enough how important it is to know who they are and what they stand for...or what they’re capable of.

Some of these activists are hysterical, showing up to council meetings wearing blood-soaked t-shirts, screaming and crying hysterically. They give emotional testimonials and always seem to have a convenient supply of shocking and horrible photos to share. They are militant, obsessed, brain-washed activists, but are very motivated. They participate in protest rallies and don’t mind getting arrested to prove a point. However, they should be avoided as they are sometimes prone to violence.

Then there are the ones to really watch out for and be cautious of. These are the cool and calculated activists. Some portray themselves as individual civic leaders, and professionals such as Kory Nelson, Assistant DA of Denver, known all over the country and Internet as Denver’s "Dr. Death of Dogs". Then there is Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the U.S. He is polished, charismatic, and good-looking. He trained for his position at the Humane Society of the U.S. as a member of PeTA.

They are educated and well-connected and have money to burn. They carry with them titles of accomplishment and credibility, seducing their listeners by being well-spoken and charismatic. They approach lawmakers from both parties; the goal of infiltrating and corrupting the legal process from every angle. While ALF and ELF blow up buildings, their PeTA counterparts are busy screaming for attention. HSUS then comes in to consult under the guise of legitimacy. Their websites and promotional materials are phenomenally well-crafted. Their resources are unlimited. In fact, it is likely that your municipality is already using their materials to guide policy and craft new ordinances.

Once Animal Rightists are "outed", concerns are dismissed as "conspiracy theories" and the like. They do this to shut down the debate. After all, who could believe it?

However, one thing is for sure: Animal Rights is very conspiratorial in nature. The agenda has been built into multi-million dollar enterprise harboring well-paid Capital Hill lobbyists and lawyers in conjunction with violent militants on the front line.

However, the shelf-life of these organizations is limited. They are not main-stream by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, they have only a small window of opportunity. This partially explains why much of the propaganda materials being delivered to municipal governments and lawmakers have been authored under pseudonyms and other aliases. Phony studies, pamphlets, and letters are often Animal Rightists parading propaganda incognito.
A Powerful Lesson for Lawmakers

Few lawmakers would be willing to accept advice from People for the "Ethical" Treatment of Animals, or from the Animal and Environmental Liberation Fronts respectively for good reason. These groups happen to be tracked on the FBI’s Domestic Terrorist Watch List for their violence and damage to private and public property.

They promote a completely dishonest agenda under faulty premises. For example, the origin of lobbying for mandatory spay/neuter laws comes from PeTA’s "No Birth Nation" program; which, by the way, is not intended to end with animals. No breeding or stricter laws regarding whelping of puppies ends up aiding this systematic destruction of healthy pure bred pets. As absurd as it sounds, consider how many municipalities are flirting with the idea or have actually gone so far as to pass it. Others want registration and intact animal fees. Every one of these ideas assists PeTA’s No Birth Nation program and gives it legitimacy.

No lawmaker would dare be associated with such groups and their agendas providing their constituents were aware of the names behind the proposed animal ordinances.

And yet, they do.

When all is said and done, lawmakers are being manipulated and used.

Animal Rightists have no problem exploiting lawmakers and municipalities for their own aims, nor do they care if these lawmakers wind up embarrassed, recalled, or ousted from politics.
Kory Nelson, Denver’s "Dr. Death of Dogs"

According to the News Press, you’d think dog attacks are an epidemic. However, as a percentage of population, abuses, attacks, and cruelty are very rare...especially by the poster child of Animal Rightists: the so-called "Pit Bull". The deceitful information spread about this breed reaches epic proportions.

For example, Kory Nelson, Assistant City Attorney of Denver, CO joined the Colorado Douglas County Republican Party, in which the GOP has traditionally left pet ownership rights alone. Under his influence, the Town of Parker, CO introduced Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Council members were quoted in the press, describing horror stories of Pit Bull behavior. They mistakenly used verbatim descriptions straight from the Kory Nelson "handbook". Never before had the Town witnessed such an outcry by residents.

After the facts were brought out, the Town Council unanimously voted to remove the proposed ordinance. However, the damage was done. Nelson had contributed a valuable service to the Animal Rightist’s ability to affect the language of law and put our property rights on the defensive. It was all done at the expense of honest, law abiding residents.

Did the outrage and embarrassment at the Town’s expense stop Nelson? No. He’s moved on to other cities to pursue his Breed Specific Legislation. Kory Nelson defends his war against the Pit Bull, claiming that anti-BSL forces have some kind of financial interest in dog fighting. It is obvious that Nelson lacks credibility and a personal moral code that is necessary to continue as a prominent Assistant City Attorney of a major city. If he actually believes that certain breeds of dogs are more cunning, more powerful, more intelligent than any human being is capable of owning, how can he possibly serve the best interests of the public good?

As Animal Rightist ideology does not mix with principles of individual responsibility, morality, or responsible government, it came to a shock that a conservative community had become a home base in which to spring his platform. For whatever reason, the City of Denver, however, continues to allow him to use his position as Assistant DA to promote his destructive agenda.
If his campaign isn’t against the Chow Chow, it is the American Staffordshire Terrier. If it isn’t the American Staffordshire Terrier, it is the French Mastiff...and so on and so on. Destroying ownership of one-breed-at-a-time is what Breed Specific Legislation is all about.

No one knows for certain whether Kory Nelson operates with animal rights organizations, or acts as a lone wolf, so to speak. He is ambitious, having successfully used and exploited several local governments around the U.S. to achieve his Breed Specific Legislation trademark. Even if BSL fails, Animal Rightist language often gains a foothold into the language of animal ordinances. The criminalization of dogs and cats has begun. Regardless of success or failure, he exploits one city and then moves on to adversely impact animal owners in another.

If he hasn’t contact lawmakers in your area, it is only a matter of time. Once contacted, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll allow yourself to be used for his personal agenda and those of other Animal Rightists.

The Influence of Shelters on Animal Law

Considering the phenomenally successful statistics of voluntary spay/neuter by the general public, where are all the animal shelters getting their dogs? Regardless of the facts that most shelter dogs are adult dogs, sadly displaced due to people moving to covenant-controlled homeowner associations and cities with extreme pet limits, the numbers in shelters do not add up.

Obviously, shelters should be going out of business left and right since voluntary spay/neuter is successful. Euthanization numbers have been declining for 20 years. And yet, "over-population" is the mantra still used by animal shelters for fund-raising and selling dogs to an ill-informed public.

Where is the over-population when dogs and cats are transported across state lines and from even out of the country to fill up animal shelters?

Even the numbers of irresponsible breeding are nothing like people think it is. Considering the voluntary rate of spay/neuter, it is highly unlikely that accidental and irresponsible breeding are filling up shelters to the extent that shelters claim they are.

However, a product must come from somewhere. If your job is about to disappear, often people do desperate things. Why should animal shelters be any different; especially when one considers what is happing inside these organizations. Some are so passionate that they’d do nearly anything to keep the "moral imperative" of the shelter going. This partially explains why "over-population" is used as a marketing ploy to sell dogs and cats. Tell a family that the dog they’re interested in is about to be destroyed due to "lack of space", the deal is closed. Another dog is then shipped in to take its place as product.

City Councils and the general public should be aware that Animal Rightists lobby with local Animal Shelters as cover. The cruelty and unethical practices in the shelter industry are shocking...and make no mistake, it is an industry. Many shelters have become some of the most profitable pet shops around that kill anything that does not bring top dollar; or is too much work to place in adoption programs. Pure Bred Rescue organizations have an awful time getting pure bred dogs and cats out of the shelter system, simply because shelters exploit these breeds to increase sales. Sadly, the News Press and general public have been willing to look the other way.
Why do some shelters operate in this manner? The answer is that many shelter agencies have become havens for Animal Rightists; shelters are exploited to spread propaganda, "over-population" myths, and faulty statistics for marketing purposes. Shelters naturally become a breeding ground for recruiting new members and activists. It’s a natural, albeit unhealthy, fit.
It is no wonder dubious shelter operations are becoming an ever-increasing problem. Thankfully, not all shelters are this way, but the public should be aware of what is going on. Both Animal Control and many animal shelters have had their ethics compromised, if not downright corrupted. The end-result is that generally, shelter workers and animal control agencies are not a credible source for accurate information about animal behavior and breeding of quality pets, especially when it comes to crafting pet law.

Fancy That!

The Dog and Cat Fancy, and show-breeders alike, has been aware of shelter abuses for many years. Fanciers operate their own rescue organizations and our rules about breeding are very strict. What’s more, it’s a small world. Fly-by-nights never last long. Unethical practices are not tolerated. You would never see a Fancier cross-breeding a "mutt". Ethics are the cornerstone of show-breeding; incredible knowledge and experience is required, as is mentorship. The competition, the friendships, relationships, and even politics and rivalries, all steer show-breeding towards the future of healthy dogs of good conformation and temperament. You’re lucky to break even financially in this sport. You do it for the love of the breed. My love is the English Mastiff. Friends of mine show and breed Yorkshire Terriers, Afghan Hounds, Staffordshire Terriers, Dalmatians, and the Irish Setter.

We spend thousands of dollars and untold hours of time and effort to test our dogs for what is required for the future of our respective breeds. We labor for the love of our dogs and cry when we must send them up to Heaven. We build life-long friendships; spend untold hours of time putting on dog shows, educating puppy-buyers, labor 24 hours a day every time we whelp a litter of puppies, and work hard to learn, learn, learn. It’s an on-going process in an incredible effort to further a tradition which spans generations.

Rarely will you ever see our dogs wind up in an animal shelter. We govern ourselves. The only problem with the Fancy is it is guilty of not reaching out to the public and helping city councils as much as it could be...for good reason:

We’re under attack. Licensing, pet taxes, registration schemes have done incredible damage to healthy pet ownership over the years.

Animal Rightists know full well that destroying the Fancy is a major victory. That is why animal ordinances and restrictive measures such as licensing, registration, mandatory spay/neuter, etc. have forced the most responsible and knowledgeable group of pet owners in the world nearly into hiding. And it is the general public which misses out on the benefits of our knowledge, and experience, and our passion for furthering the love of our dogs.

Fanciers residing in cities are forced to keep a low profile or move to the country. They simply stay active amongst themselves. The result is that the general public does not get to tap into this invaluable resource for educational opportunities. What has replaced it is a variety of quack training methods, political correctness, and just plain ignorance spread by opportunists and even some pet-related businesses.

We are really interested in the health and well-being of pets, and we are just as interested in the future of our breeds. If a dog is healthy, of good temperament, and has sound conformation, it should be bred. Future health and genetics depend on it!

Education...and Lack Thereof

The vast majority of the public generally does not even understand something as simple as how to approach a dog properly. First, it is polite and expedient to ask the owner if you may pet a dog. Then you offer to have the dog sniff your hand. When the dog conveys that, "It’s okay to pet me", you’ve been given permission; but always pet from underneath the head. Never on top of the head! No matter how friendly or unknown the dog is, this is the cardinal rule before petting any dog, cat, etc...

Only do you pet the dog’s head after you’ve gone underneath and worked your way around the neckline, back of the ears (which most dogs love!) and then from behind, you may go over the top. Petting the head first is aggressive! Nearly every single person that greets my dogs in public tries it; approaching without manners...this lack of proper etiquette is simply a result of ignorance. And yet this is something as remotely simple as saying: "Hi!"

Despite the fact that ignorance can be fixed, municipalities are quick to pass ordinances without considering the pet education element in their communities.

If safety is what we’re after, than creating an open and active, pet friendly community is what we should be striving for. Anything which contributes to this should be done. Anything that hinders it should be stricken from the books. Tapping into the Fancy and encouraging them to be active is the fastest way to build allies rather than enemies. Rather, further regulating pets and pet breeding into oblivion will contribute to animosity, an unsafe community, and unhealthy pet population faster than anything.

Municipal Animal Abuses and Cruelty

Animal Rightist propaganda would have us believe that animal abuses and cruelty are at epidemic levels, not to mention that attacks most certainly receive sensational press coverage. The Press is only too happy to oblige any political opportunism by politicians, animal control, shelter agencies, and municipal employees actively pursuing their own agendas. Animal Rightist ordinances have become a means to an end, exploited at the expense of the general public.
However, as a percentage of population, dog attacks, dog fighting, and even cruelty and nuisance behavior is rare. As disturbing as these incidents are, they are not even close to being the rule...they are by far the exception. Therefore, utilizing the exception to the rule as an opportunity to enact intrusive and unethical animal ordinances is distasteful and extremely dishonest.

Witness the results:
Denver has over 1,000 kills to its credit in only the last year. Many of these dogs perfectly healthy before being confiscated, starved into ill health, and then killed.

Kansas City has concocted a process that it terms an "amnesty program". It goal is to make the slaughter of these innocent pets more convenient and less costly for animal control to enforce.

Long Beach forces residents to spay/neuter their pets, placing dogs (especially certain breeds) at physical risk by mandating surgery. We wouldn’t tolerate a municipality strapping down and sterilizing our children? Why should animal control be allowed to do this to our pets? Our private property? One begins to wonder.

Animal Control in Vermont has been going door-to-door conducting sting operations on average people; all to enforce a licensing pet tax.

Under the influence of Animal Rightists, some council members have even gone so far as to introduce legislation that governs everything down to what kind of food, containment, and even toys, are legal and illegal for our pets.

And that is just the beginning of the scandal, opportunism, abuses of search and seizure, etc. The list goes on and on. Overbearing animal ordinances almost always lead to these types of abuses, especially when shelter and animal groups are given government enforcement powers. When will these local governments admit fault and stop these destructive practices? Communities become less active and open, Fanciers become less willing to help the public, ignorance and lack of socialization becomes the norm.

That is exactly what Animal Rightists are banking on.

When Animal Rightists write ordinances that sic Animal Control on breeders via licensing, pet-limits, and registration schemes, the very future of healthy well-tempered pets is compromised. No breeding. No pure-bred animals. No healthy genetic stock. Hence, no more pets. No cats. No dogs. No nothing!

The only way to prevent these horrors from taking root in your community is not to go there in the first place. Again, only an open and active pet-friendly community creates a fun and safe place to live with our pets and neighbors.

The Ends Justify the Means

These abuses are the sure result of the Animal Rightists campaign to wage death and destruction on our beloved pets. Again, the "ends justify the means".

What exactly is the end? Power. The ensuing corruption contained within the intent to influence animal ordinances aids activists in the accumulation of wielding more power. Using and exploiting lawmakers wherever they deem necessary, the Animal Rightist goal of achieving power and wealth at public expense is in full force.

Even where lawmakers pursue their own agendas, where animal ordinances are concerned, the lawmaker is still a pawn of these lobbyists.

Fighting Animal Rightist Ideology and Helping City Councils Reform Municipal Agendas, The Moral of the Story

The lesson to be learned is that by the time Animal Rightists have taken municipalities hostage and animal ordinances pass, no one knows what has hit them. Animal ordinances quickly compromise the ethics of Animal Control agencies. These ruthless and irresponsible policies are most certainly not something that should have been introduced into law; let alone, considered, passed, and enforced.

Unfortunately, reinstating honesty into the debate is not as easy as it sounds. Egos are so entrenched to the point where lawmakers are hesitant to admit fault. They know they’ve been used, but backtracking becomes difficult; if now downright political suicide. While this does not absolve lawmakers of responsibility, it does partially explain the successes of HSUS and others to control City Councils and municipal governments.

As the Dog and Cat Fancy (show-breeders) and animal welfare groups continue to mobilize and gain influence, the general public is indeed becoming aware of what is going on. The public is aghast at how their pets are being held hostage by such political exploitation. And the fury is spreading at a rapid pace. Animal Rightist ideology is incompatible with public safety and private property ownership. Therefore, lawmakers and the ordinances they pass are being tracked. When re-educating lawmakers fails, they are being voted out and replaced.

The fight has only scratched the surface. With so many pet owners and dog fanciers in the U.S. becoming aware of the fact that animal ordinances truly do pose a very real danger to pet ownership, it is likely that elections are going to become very interesting in the near future. Those who vote for intrusive animal ordinances will lose clout, influence, and promptly voted out. Those who keep hands off and ally themselves with the Fancy to promote activities and community education will be rewarded.

As pet owners continue to mobilize, the political landscape will most likely change drastically in many areas in the country. This is actually a positive development because it is a healthy democratic process that aims at preventing constitutional infringements and other assaults on our freedoms.

Ultimately, we love our pets. We love our choices. It is a healthy tradition. Anything that puts pet ownership in jeopardy is incompatible with moral principles.

It all comes down to one thing:

Will your lawmakers and your city government aid and abet this destructive agenda?
Nick Van Duren
Colorado Director, Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States
Local Liaison for the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs
Contact Nick:

If Anyone Doubts how Serious Things Have Become, Please Read the Following Quotes by the Leaders and Activists within the Animal Rightists Movement:

"Anybody who shoots a pit bull running loose is justified,'' Kory Nelson, Assistant City Attorney of Denver, CO, San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, June 27, 2005 (Known all over as Denver’s "Dr. Death of Dogs")

"We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. . . One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding." Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP of Humane Society of the US, formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Animal People, May, 1993

NOTE: (Wayne Pacelle’s initial training was as a PeTA activist. Today he heads HSUS under the guise of "legitimacy". It is the largest and most profitable of the animal Rightist lobbying organizations.

"Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation." Ingrid Newkirk, national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), Just Like Us? Harper's, August 1988, p. 50.

"As John Bryant has written in his book Fettered Kingdoms, they [pets] are like slaves, even if well-kept slaves." PeTA's Statement on Companion Animals.

"We are not especially 'interested in' animals. Neither of us had ever been inordinately fond of dogs, cats, or horses in the way that many people are. We didn't 'love' animals." Peter Singer, Animal Liberation: A New Ethic for Our Treatment of Animals, 2nd ed. (New York Review of Books, 1990), Preface, p. ii.

"Our goal: to convince people to rescue and adopt instead of buying or selling animals, to disavow the language and concept of animal ownership." Eliot Katz, President In Defense of Animals, In Defense of Animals website, 2001

"It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership. The first step on this long, but just, road would be ending the concept of pet ownership." Elliot Katz, President "In Defense of Animals," Spring 1997

"The cat, like the dog, must disappear... We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist." John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of A Changing Ethic (Washington, DC: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), 1982, p. 15.

"My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture." JP Goodwin, employed at the Humane Society of the US, formerly at Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, as quoted on AR-Views, an animal rights Internet discussion group in 1996.

"Man is the most dangerous, destructive, selfish, and unethical animal on earth." Michael W. Fox, Scientific Director and former Vice President, Humane Society of the United States, as quoted in Robert James Bidinotto"

"We are not terrorists, but we are a threat. We are a threat both economically and philosophically. Our power is not in the right to vote but the power to stop production. We will break the law and destroy property until we win." Dr. Steven Best, speaking at International Animal Rights Gathering 2005. The Telegram (UK) July 17, 2005.

"Arson, property destruction, burglary and theft are 'acceptable crimes' when used for the animal cause." Alex Pacheco, Director, PETA

"Our nonviolent tactics are not as effective. We ask nicely for years and get nothing. Someone makes a threat, and it works." Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA's founder and president, US News and World Report, April 8, 2002

"I openly hope that it [hoof-and-mouth disease] comes here. It will bring economic harm only for those who profit from giving people heart attacks and giving animals a concentration camp-like existence. It would be good for animals, good for human health and good for the environment. Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA founder and president, ABC News interview April 2, 2001

© Copyright 2002-2006 by Magic City Morning Star

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dog ban is the pits


I am an intelligent, well-spoken, middle-aged male. I graduated high school and college at the top of my class. I have a good job as a computer professional, a house in a nice neighbourhood, and a decent car.

I live in Toronto with my wife, my daughter, my 4-year-old grandson, and two dogs.
I obey the law and consider myself to be a good citizen of society. I am not a drug dealer, a gangster, or a hoodlum.

Life would be good, except for one thing.

Thanks to a new Ontario law, I am constantly at risk of being branded a criminal and facing six months in jail.

My two non-purebred dogs appear to be American Pit Bull Terriers, one of North America's oldest, most decorated, and most trusted family breeds.

Does that change the way you think of me? Have I suddenly become a bad person or a second-class citizen?

Does it matter to you that my dogs have Canine Good Neighbour titles and obedience titles or that my older one would have become a therapy dog if not for this law?

Does it make a difference that my dogs will ignore belligerent and aggressive dogs or that a perfect stranger can put their hands into my car windows with no fear of anything other than a good lick?

If a "pit bull attack" happens, it won't be one of my dogs. I don't allow my dogs to run loose and bite.

I don't want to be painted with the same brush as someone who can't figure out that his out-of-control, untrained, unsocialized, alone-in-the-backyard mutt might one day get out and hurt someone.

I have met and worked with enough dangerous dogs in my life, of many different breeds, to know that this law will not make you or your family safer. All it's really doing is making mine miserable.

We cannot enjoy our walks through the woods and on the beach like other dog owners, because my "girls" just keep trying to get their muzzles off. I know of other owners who go out at 2 a.m., just so that their dogs can get some exercise.

They're always looking over their shoulders for police officers because the penalty for what they're doing is the mandatory death of their dog: Average citizens forced by a discriminatory government into becoming criminals.

Forget the breed of my dogs for one moment and imagine that you were targeted this way.

How would you react? Would you stand up and fight or would you lie there quietly and let them kill your dog and thousands like her?

Ontario is killing healthy, well-adjusted dogs at a rate unimaginable two years ago. Not aggressive. No behaviour problems. Not sick. Not injured. Perfectly adoptable. Wrong body.

Newborn puppies are required to be destroyed in this province. I don't use the word "euthanized," which is the mercy killing of sick or injured animals. This is destruction, plain and simple.

Want to help? Look up "Bill 132" on the Internet and help the organizations that are fighting this discrimination. Then, in October 2007, vote this Ontario Liberal government out of office and send them a letter now telling them why. While you're at it, send a copy to the Sun.

Put a muzzle on it -- your dog, that is


It seems to me that the answer to the pit bull situation is simply this: Make all dogs equal and put your money where their mouths are.

I believe that, no matter the breed, the animal should be muzzled when out in public. The dog is muzzled, you, your children and other dogs are safe -- end of problem. No breed has to be banned.

I was a boarding-kennel owner/operator for over six years and catered to every size and breed of dog you can think of. The rules were quite simple: If you were not sure of Rover's temperament, you did not go into the pen with him at home. Especially when Rover was 150 pounds of muscle and teeth.

I have always maintained that a bad-tempered cockapoo will give you a nasty nip as easily as a Rottweiler (though it could remove a limb or two).

There are a few different types -- not breeds -- of dog to be wary of:

- The aggressor: He lets you know up front just what his intentions are. He doesn't bark, and the growl he emits is barely audible -- more of a rumble deep in his chest -- but look at his eyes! (Now, I know that you know that you never "eyeball" a dog, but even a sideways glance will let you know.) They never leave your face and are saying, quite plainly, "Come on. Just a little closer, pal, and you're puppy chow!" Avoid this chap at all costs. Unless he's wearing a muzzle. No doubt that he can still harm you, dependent upon size and determination, but he cannot dismember you -- he's muzzled!

- The fear-biter: He doesn't want to bite you, but he will. This guy barks -- a lot. The more frightened he becomes, the louder and higher pitched the barking becomes. He's giving you fair warning: "Come near me and I'll bite you!" But he can't -- if he's muzzled!

- The psycho: I only ever encountered one of these guys but I'm sure there are more out there. This boy will lull you into a false sense of camaraderie -- then pounce. I really do not know if his brain just misfires or what, but he's the most dangerous of all -- unless ... you've guessed it!

Muzzles do not harm a dog in any way. If worn from puppyhood, the animal will not even be aware of its presence -- much the same as his collar. So why can we not make it illegal for a dog -- any dog -- to be on the street without a muzzle?

It makes perfect sense to me. We are all so learned and certain about our rights nowadays.

What about our responsibilities? As a dog owner, you have some:

1. Your pet should never harm another's pet.

2. Your pet should never harm a human!

Apparently, some of us cannot, or will not, live up to our responsibilities.

Therefore, before one other person is maimed or disfigured or killed by "man's best friend," let's do something about it: A muzzle -- don't leave home without it!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pickering gets tough on dog owners

Maximum fine for bites now $5,000
Bylaw aims to protect the public
Aug. 10, 2006. 01:00 AM

A dog bite could end up costing you $5,000 in Pickering.

That is if your dog bites someone else or even growls at anyone who takes offence and calls the city's new animal services department.

Pickering's new animal-control bylaw stresses "responsible pet ownership" but sets some of the highest penalties in the province for those who shirk their duty.

Owners of "vicious" dogs could also be ordered to take the animal to obedience classes, and keep it muzzled, on a short leash and out of the hands of any dog walker under 16 years of age.

"I think it is one of the tougher animal-control bylaws in the province," said Lindsey Brenner, a former Toronto Humane Society supervisor, who took over Pickering's new department on Jan. 1.

Brenner said there have been about 30 reports of encounters with vicious dogs since the start of the year, many of them resulting in bites or injuries to unsuspecting citizens.

"We were looking for a way to impress on people that they have to be responsible for the actions of their pets," she said. "So we constructed a bylaw that is specifically designed to protect people from irresponsible pet owners.

"It's never the dog that's to blame in these situations but the owner."

In most cases, the penalties for animal offences will reach up to $200, Brenner said. But in cases where legal action has to be taken to force an owner to comply, fines of up to $5,000 can be levied by the courts.

Pickering Animal Services began operating after the breakup of Pickering-Ajax-Whitby Animal Services. Whitby wanted to revisit the 20-year-old agreement and charge an administrative fee. Neither Pickering nor Ajax would agree to that.

Pickering Regional Councillor Bill McLean, who was instrumental in establishing the new department, now sits on a special committee that will hear complaints and appeals from decisions by the city's animal services officers.

Other changes in the municipal bylaw include increasing to three the number of dogs allowed per residence. There are also enhanced definitions for animal noise, excrement removal and specific minimum-care requirements for animals.

"In all, it should make for a better environment for our residents and our local pets," Brenner said.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dog that took tot from mom to be put down


CHATHAM -- A dog that ripped a baby from her mother's arms and tossed her to the ground will be destroyed, Chatham-Kent police said yesterday.

Tina DeWael was carrying her six-month-old daughter, Georgia Wellman, on her hip and walking beside her eldest daughter, Shania Wellman, 10, around 9:30 p.m. on Monday.

They were heading home on Taylor Avenue when a leashed pit bull-like Presa Canario and its owner came toward them.

Without warning or provocation, the dog jumped and latched onto the child's arm, grabbing her up to her elbow, and then spit her out on the nearby grass.

"I couldn't think, I was in shock. I couldn't even move," DeWael said yesterday, shaking her head while still in disbelief over the attack.

Despite being stunned and shaken, DeWael fought off the dog, punching it when it started to move toward her daughter again.

"I was screaming my head off. I just couldn't believe it," she said.

"You'd never think he'd (the dog) do that and grab a baby."

Nine stitches were used to close the bite marks on Georgia's left arm.

It wasn't the first run-in DeWael's family had had with the 45-kilogram dog.

Her daughter, Shania, was bitten by the animal two weeks ago.

"It's just crazy," DeWael said.

The dog's owner surrendered the animal to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It will be held in quarantine for 10 days before being destroyed.

The dog's owner, who lives next door to DeWael, could face fines from the OSPCA for allowing the dog to attack or criminal charges.

Police described the animal as looking like a pit bull, but twice the size. Despite the resemblance, the dog isn't under the same restrictions as pit bulls because it's classed as a different breed.

Cradling her battered and bandaged child in her arms, DeWael said she's grateful the damage wasn't more severe.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Weekend dog attack points to growing problem

Lindsay This Week - Peterborough,Ontario,Canada
Paul Rellinger

A weekend dog attack has left another dog seriously injured and a Peterborough Humane Society official upset over an increase in attacks.

Early Saturday morning, an eight-year-old boy was walking his three-year-old Lab-type dog in East City when two German Shepherd-type dogs came running from their property and attacked the dog, which was seriously injured.

The puppy was rushed to Peterborough Veterinary Services for emergency surgery on its stomach.

According to Brad Algar, general manager of the Peterborough Humane Society, the attacking dogs are known to the society with their owners due in court Aug. 14 for an incident back in March. In that incident, a person was approached by the growling and barking dogs.

"Attacks are up 57 per cent over this time last year," says Mr. Algar."We have had five attacks in the last four days, bringing the total to 75 incidents with 27 before the courts, seven under final preparation, seven under investigation with four attacks in the last 36 hours, and still a backlog of 85 pit bull-related cases."

Mr. Algar says, as a result, society investigators are under intense pressure.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

SFU student dogs breed-specific regs

By Sam Cooper The Tri-City News
Aug 04 2006

Picking on pit bulls won’t make society any safer, an SFU study says.

SFU criminology graduate student Niki Huitson studied breed-specific legislation for her master’s thesis and concluded it doesn’t curb attacks.

Breed-specific legislation restricts or bans ownership of certain dogs. In Ontario ownership of pit bulls is banned outright.

About half of Lower Mainland municipalities have breed-specific laws. In Coquitlam, pit bulls are defined vicious, requiring owners to muzzle them in public, while Port Coquitlam and Port Moody have no breed-specific laws.

Huitson says pit bulls have been demonized, leading to breed-specific laws that only give a false sense of security.

“Evidence in cities with tough [breed-specific] licensing laws, like Calgary, shows it is not reducing dog bites,” Huitson said. “Dog bites are consistent regardless.”

Former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell was external examiner for Huitson’s study and endorsed her conclusions.

Huitson interviewed representatives from the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Vancouver SPCA, the RCMP, as well as dog breeders. She says many felt there should be dog attack laws but most agreed designating certain breeds as dangerous would not solve the problem.

Huitson said there is no scientific proof that certain breeds are more vicious but the pit bull’s historic image as a fighter makes it a target of irresponsible owners.

“There is one or two per cent of the population that buys the dog to be aggressive,” Huitson said. “Clearly it is the owner that makes a dog vicious and we need to be tougher on them.

“Enforcement is the problem. There has to be liability for owners or breeders who train vicious dogs.”

Huitson said mandatory obedience training for all dogs, and responsible owner education will reduce attacks.
Port Coquitlam’s manager of bylaws, Dan Scoones, formerly in charge of animal control for Victoria, said Huitson’s conclusions seem sound.

“You get a far greater return on your money by educating people to be responsible dog owners [than using breed-specific laws],” Scoones said. “If there was persuasive evidence that pit bulls were more likely to attack, I think we would have laws on them.”

When a dog is declared vicious in PoCo, muzzling and confinement rules are applied.

PoMo bylaw enforcement officer Tom Krish also said breed-specific laws don’t make sense. “I don’t believe that just because it is a pit bull it will be vicious,” he said.

In PoMo, owners of dogs declared vicious must pay $295 for licensing and follow safety restrictions.

Coquitlam spokesperson Therese Mickelson said the city’s dog control legislation defines vicious dog broadly, including the pit bull family and any dog showing a propensity for viciousness.

Mickelson said she couldn’t comment on Huitson’s conclusions against breed-specific legislation.

Statistics show there is typically one fatal dog bite a year in Canada. The only recorded pit bull fatality in Canada was in 1995, by an American Staffordshire terrier.

Huitson owns three American pit bull terriers and said, “They have all been trained for obedience, and are sociable.”

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Woman charged over pit bull attack

Tue, August 1, 2006

A woman who was supervising two pit bulls that viciously attacked her London neighbour and his dog last week has been charged under a bylaw.

Janet Ball, 55, was charged with two counts of allowing a pit bull dog to run at large.

With the city bylaw charges against her, Ball could face fines up to $5,000, said London police Staff Sgt. Rick Harriss.

Bill Pargeter, whose golden retriever, Tasha, is recovering from surgery at the University of Guelph, said the charges are appropriate.

"These dogs almost destroyed my life."

"They would have killed me and my dog if the police didn't show up."

He said his neighbour -- she was supervising the unmuzzled, unleashed pit bulls when they slipped under the fence and attacked -- should bear responsibility for the damage the dogs caused.

"This was a terrible thing."

The attack ended only after police shot the two pit bulls, killing one and wounding the other, which was put down.

Ball wasn't available for comment yesterday.

Pargeter, a 42-year-old factory worker who's been off work since last Wednesday's attack, said he hasn't decided whether to pursue a lawsuit.

"Right now, my main concern is to make sure my dog gets better and to get better myself," he said.

Ball is expected to appear in court on the bylaw charges at a later date.

"This is a pretty serious thing that happened," said Harriss.

Jay Stanford, the city's manager of environmental services, said he wasn't surprised to hear charges had been laid.

"There have been biting incidents in London before," he said. "(But) this is very unfortunate. The owner did not ensure the pit bulls couldn't get out of the yard."

The message to all pit bull owners is that they need to be familiar with the law, he said.

"They should understand all of the requirements of a responsible pet owner. Hopefully, this particular dog and its owner will recover," said Stanford.