Tuesday, January 23, 2007

500 dogs killed in pit bull ban's wake

Humane Society says city's too quick in putting down dogs

The city has put down 500 pit bulls and other similar dogs since the province targeted the canines in a tougher provincial law that took affect 16 months ago.

Toronto animal control officials report a 13% increase in the number of pit bulls -- and other dogs of similar breeds -- that have been destroyed when comparing the 16-month periods following and prior to the changes to the Dog Owners' Liability Act on Aug. 29, 2005.

The city euthanized 441 pit bull-type canines -- 59 fewer -- during the 16 months before the law took affect.

"It's significant enough -- certainly to those 59 dogs," said Eletta Purdy, manager of Toronto Animal Services.

She added yesterday that the increase is likely due to provisions that prevent animal officials from putting up banned pit bulls for adoption.

The legislation bans ownership of pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any other dog that possesses characteristics of those singled out on the list.

However, exemptions are granted if someone in Ontario owned one of the targeted dogs at the time the law was enacted. Animal control officials cannot put dogs up for adoption if they do not qualify for an exemption to an ownership ban.

Purdy said she doesn't know whether the legislation's anti-pit bull provisions have made Toronto a safer place.

"I don't know that pit bulls, per se, were the main issue as far as dealing with dog bites and attacks," she said. "I think the issue was mainly having to do with specific dogs and their behaviour as opposed to a breed group."

Animal control is now determining the number of pit bull attacks on humans that have occurred since the legislation came into force.

Purdy said the law does have measures that allow animal control to better deal with menacing dogs in general.

Lee Oliver, of the Toronto Humane Society, which opposes the breed-specific ban, said he believes those enforcing the legislation in Ontario are too quick to put down the dogs.

"If people will slow down and pay attention, we don't have to be euthanizing all these dogs," he added.

Oliver said that when there's doubt, animal control officials are destroying pit bulls instead of asking questions.

Of the 122 dogs up for adoption at the Toronto Humane Society yesterday, 50 of the pit bulls had had owners.


City animal control officials have euthanized 500 pit bulls and other similar dogs since new provincial legislation kicked in August 2005:

- 122 of the euthanized animals were put down at the request of an owner.

- Concerns about temperament or behaviour prompted the euthanization of 107 of the animals.

- The courts ordered eight to be destroyed.

- Another 195 were put down because they were banned -- no evidence someone owned them prior to the implementation of the law.

- 26 for health reasons.

- 42 were euthanized for other reasons.

- The city estimates there are 250,000 dogs in Toronto. Dog owners have purchased licences for 24,267 pets. Of that total, 1,185 of the licences are for pit bulls and dogs of similar breeds.

- Animal control officers have laid 137 charges against owners since the new legislation came into force in connection with 93 pit bull-related complaints.

- Changes to the Dog Owners' Liability Act ban people from owning pit bulls, Straffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers or any other dog that has the characteristics of those.

- Those who continue to own pit bulls must abide by regulations that require they be sterilized and leashed and muzzled in public.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Surgeon induces dog aneurysm in sales demo

Cleveland Clinic says procedure was unauthorized; animal euthanized

CLEVELAND - A neurosurgeon used a dog with an induced brain aneurysm to demonstrate a medical device to salespeople, a hospital said Thursday.The dog was anesthetized during the demonstration and euthanized afterward, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a renowned academic medical center.

The hospital uses animals for medical research but this demonstration was unauthorized, a hospital statement said. The clinic has reported the incident to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates animal testing.

“As an academic medical center, Cleveland Clinic does not allow procedures with animals for the sole purpose of sales training,” the clinic said in a statement.

The surgeon, who was not immediately identified, was presenting a device used to treat aneurysms Wednesday to a group of people who sell it, the hospital said.

It was not clear Thursday whether the aneurysm was induced in the dog solely for the sales demonstration. An aneurysm is when arteries or blood vessels bulge and eventually burst, which can cause severe damage or death.

Messages left with the USDA late Thursday were not immediately returned.

The clinic said the surgeon did not have permission from the hospital’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to host the demonstration. The doctor submitted an application to the committee, but its members never reviewed it, the hospital said.

An internal investigation was under way and the clinic plans to provide training for doctors to prevent a similar incident in the future, the hospital’s statement said.

The letter I have written is to the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, as I was unable to obtain an e-mail address.

Delos Cosgrove,
M.D. Phone: (216) 444-2300
The Cleveland Clinic
Mail code H-189500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH

Please write or call if you can...we HAVE to stop these people.

Boy, 5, dies from dog mauling

January 19, 2007
Canadian Press

CUMBERLAND HOUSE, Sask. – A five-year-old boy from northern Saskatchewan has died after being mauled by several dogs near his home.

RCMP say the boy was found lying on a road Thursday by members of the Cumberland House First Nation.

He was taken to the local health centre before being flown to a Saskatoon hospital, where he died of his injuries Thursday night.

Police say the boy was suffering from bite wounds and possible hypothermia.

An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.

Several dogs believed responsible for the attack were destroyed by community members.

Cumberland House is about 330 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

A five-year-old boy in northern Alberta died in November after a similar attack by wandering dogs. The mauling on the North Tallcree reserve was so vicious the boy's facial features were destroyed. The child was also found by the side of a road.

The boy and his mother had been visiting from a nearby reserve when the attack happened Nov. 16.

A five-year-old girl was also killed by dogs at Garden River on the Little Red River reserve in Manitoba in November 1999 when she stopped to play with a puppy just 200 metres from her home. That attack was blamed on animals that were starving.

Officials have said in the past that stray dogs are a chronic problem on some reserves.

Another Dog Attack - Are The Media Making Things Worse?

Nine year old Jordan Gillon is today recovering after being bitten bythree Rottweilers in his home. The incident happened whilst Jordan wasplaying with the son of the dogs' owner. One of the dogs has been put downand the other two are said to be under consideration for the same fate.

Dramatic press reactions swiftly followed the terrible and terrifyingincident. One daily tabloid managed to use the phrase "devil dogs" twice inone short report, alongside emotive descriptions such as "snarling" and"savage".

Whilst much of the broadcast media has been commendably fair andbalanced in the wake of recent dog attacks, the same cannot be said forcertain publications. Clearly, emotive journalism is equally as valuable asbalanced, factual reporting, but at what cost to dogs and their owners?

K9 Magazine spoke to a serving Police Constable who explained firsthand how the media portrayal of dog attacks is having a direct affect on hisday to day work.

"Since the little girl was tragically killed in Leicester, myself andcolleagues have been called to a substantially higher number of dog biteincidents than ever before. We take all calls of this nature very seriously,but what surprises and disturbs is the way parents and onlookers demand thatthe dog in question is destroyed. Of course a bite can be upsetting and ofyes, sometimes fatal, but many times we are called to attend a case where ayoung dog has nipped a child on the arm, sometimes we arrive and the childis off playing whilst the mother protests that the dog is dangerous.

I have even attended scenes where neighbours and witnesses have takenme aside and informed me that the bite victim, usually a child, had beenteasing or scaring the dog in question. One incident involving a Rottweiler pup resulted in me having to caution the parent of a child for wasting police time. She admitted that her son had been "roughing up" the dog andthe bite was so mild that the child was happily playing on his bike.

I put it down to the media hysteria which paints certain breeds askilling machines. It puts panic into communities and they react to it bybeing over cautious."

Perhaps one of the reasons more dog attacks are "happening" is simplythat more dog attacks are being reported in the press, causing more peopleto report minor incidents to the press.