Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Coroner Report from Montreal Agrees BSL is NOT the Answer

This week the coroner's report was released from the tragic and preventable death of Christiane Vadnais, who was killed in her backyard by her neighbours dog. Mrs. Vadnais lived in the borough of Anjou, which is part of Montreal, QC.

First and foremost I'd like to state that it is unacceptable for anyone to be killed by a dog in their own back yard. 

In this particular case there are a few glaring points that add to the tragic circumstances. 

-There was supposed to have been a follow up done with the dog owner regarding the dangerousness of the dog after the first biting incident took place in 2015. This was never done.

-If there had been a follow through of checking in on the dog, the likelihood is high that she would still be alive today.

-There were serious concerns for the containment of the dog. 

-Although the owner of the dog stated the dog was well looked after, the evidence pointed otherwise. The dog allegedly didn't receive enough socialization with animals or people, cleanliness was an issue and general care of the dog seemed well below standard. 

If any city or municipality assumes control of dangerous dog bylaw and control the onus must then fall on the city or municipality to do all in it's power to ensure effective laws are put in place and they are strictly enforced in order to protect the public. 

In this case the dog was involved in previous serious biting incidents and there was to be follow up. The lack of follow up and follow through is a large contributing factor to Mrs. Vadnais's death. 

The fact that the dog owner was not charged with any wrong doing is outrageous. That would speak to the fact that all onus was put on the dog and no responsibility or accountability is assumed by the dog owner or the city. 

To blame a dog's breed and in this case the dog was a mix breed dog, is ludicrous. It states there was a DNA test done and the result said the dog was 87.5% American Staffordshire Terrier. 

DNA tests are unreliable and not admissible in court. The companies admit the tests are flawed and are not to be used as evidence. Based on the fact that American Staffordshire Terrier purebreds (CKC numbers) are so rare it is fairly unlikely the result was correct however that is a moot point since breed cannot be proved as the cause of dog aggression. 

Here is a link to the coroner's report. It is in French so I'm also including a text version of a direct Google translation text as well. Some of the terms are rough because of the translation but you will be able to determine what it is saying.


Coroner's Investigation Report
An Act respecting the determination of the causes and circumstances of death for families, relatives and organizations.

FOR THE PROTECTION OF LIFE
Concerning the death of
Christiane Vadnais
2016-00495

CORONER OFFICE
Dr. Ethan Lichtblau
Date of notice No file
2016-06-08 2016-00495

IDENTITY
First name at birth
Christiane Vadnais
Name at birth
Date of birth
1961-02-22
Sex
Female
Municipality of residence, Province, Country
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Name of mother Mother's first name
Joyal Rejeanne
Name of father Father's first name
Vadnais Paul-Émile

DEATH
Date of death
2016-06-08
Determined Home
Place of death Place name Municipality of death
Montreal

IDENTIFICATION OF DECEASED PERSON
Ms. Christiane Vadnais is visually identified at the scene of the death.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF DEATH
An investigation report by the Montreal Police Department indicates that on June 8, 2016, At approximately 1648, a neighbor saw a movement behind the fence in the rear its housing. After a few seconds, he realizes that a dog devoured the leg of a woman. The neighbor immediately dialed 9-1-1. At 17:04, the police responded to a appeal concerning the body of a woman, inanimate, being eaten by a dog in the back yard of his neighbor. The other police officers arrived at the scene at 1710 hours. They saw a pitbull dog brown and white. The dog wears a harness and a muzzle hangs on his neck. A policeman enters the yard by forcing the door. It notes that there are shreds of bloody clothes. He sees the dog clinging to something that is hidden by the bush. When he enters, the dog looks at him and rushes towards him, his mouth open.
The officer finds that there are residues of pieces of flesh on the edge of his mouth, shows the teeth, that it is agitated and that it does not listen to the orders given. The agent gives a blow with the dog bar in the mouth. The dog recoils and barks aggressive. The policeman leaves the court.

For histological (ie, microscopic) examination, the heart demonstrates coronary atherosclerosis with stenosis of 75-85% and 60-70%, in the arteries anterior and right coronary arteries (technical problems do not to evaluate the stenosis in the circumflex). The lungs have embolisms fatty and significant emphysematous changes. Toxicological analyzes are performed in the LSJML. BAC is negative. Any other substance, drug or drug is detected. According to the pathologist, the hemorrhagic aspect of most wounds and the presence of fatty embolisms in the lungs indicate that Mrs. Vadnais is alive at to suffer his injuries. However, the autopsy revealed coronary artery disease which could have lowered Mrs. Vadnais's tolerance to hemorrhage, physical and pain, and thus, lead to a more rapid death. According to the pathologist, the cause of death is polytrauma dog bites. An autopsy is also performed on the dog at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Saint-Hyacinthe. The dog is a male weighing 33.8 kg, died of lesions caused by projectiles of firearms. The result of a rabies screening test is negative. The DNA of the animal involved in the attack is subjected for analysis to the DNA test of Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel (Vancouver, WA, USA). The result shows that this dog is 87.5% of the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. (Note: "Wisdom Panel® is not intended for use by persons responsible for the regulation or control of animals to determine whether a particular breed is banned in a country or particular. The Wisdom Panel® should not be used in court. Rather, it is intended to be used as a tool or resource in the determining the genetic history of a dog, "according to the director of general affairs, Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel.) Samples of the dog and a specimen of blood from Mrs. Vadnais are sent to analysis in the biology / DNA section of LSJML. Expertise is also sought from the judicial odontologist to compare the marks of bites on Ms. Vadnais to the dog's jaw. All results indicate that the dog shot on the scene is the one who attacked Mrs. Vadnais.

ANALYSIS
The investigation establishes that the cause of death of Mrs. Vadnais is the attack by the dog shot at the scene.
A relative said that she had spoken with Ms. Vadnais on the telephone at approximately 2:30 pm on June 8, 2016. At that moment, Mrs. Vadnais is at work. She left work at about 3 pm and arrived at home by 4 pm. According to this person, Ms. Vadnais does not usually go outside to remove the waste; she does not smoke outside.
Another neighbor of Mrs. Vadnais (not the one who called 9-1-1) said that, around 3:30 pm, she heard someone say in a neutral tone "using, using" followed by a woman's voice saying "Shhh, shhh". Subsequently, she heard grunts, but did not make any connection.
It is likely that Ms. Vadnais arrives home between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm. It is possible she went in the backyard, maybe to take out the trash, and is attacked by the dog. It is impossible, from the information gathered, to say how long the attack lasts. However, he said it is likely that at the time the police arrived at 5.40 pm, Mrs. Vadnais was already deceased.
During the attack, Mrs. Vadnais lost a considerable amount of blood, leading to a hypovolemic shock and ultimately cardiac arrest and death. However, it is possible that Mrs. Vadnais' heart disease contributed to the speed of her death.
The investigation by the police officers on the same evening shows that the dog belongs to the neighbor staying behind the scene. When the police arrive at the address in question, there is nothing to report in front of the house: the main door and the two doors of the garage are closed, and no individuals are present on the premises. There is a wooden fence the turn of the ground as well as a cabana. Behind it, the wooden fence is damaged and there's a big hole. An old iron gallery ramp was placed against the fence of wood, possibly to block the opening. This iron fence has been moved to allow access to the fence hole and Mrs Vadnais' residence. Plastic bottles chewed as well as dog feces are on the grass. To the south, on the garage, there is a small metal dog cage whose door is open; which served as door is only a metal panel. A policeman notices that a door behind the home is not well closed; there is a lock, but the latch is unlocked.
Through this door, the policemen enter the dwelling. Once inside, a few steps lead to the basement of the house, where there is a small kitchen. On the ground find pieces of garbage scattered, visibly caused by a dog. The kitchen gives directly in a living room with a television and a sofa. At the back of the show, a door gives access to a room. In the latter, ground cover seems to have been eaten by a dog. There is also a large bowl filled with dog food. The policemen then ascend to the ground floor and complete the excavation of the residence. There has nobody and no dog. By looking at various papers on the spot, police officers can understand that several people remain in the residence. The police are waiting outside the arrival of a resident of the place.
Around 7 pm, an individual arrives on foot and enters the yard. The man is arrested. He confirmed that he lives in the residence and that he owns a brown "pitbull". The police men try to explain what happened with his dog, but the man is in a state of shock; he has difficulty paying attention and understanding. Finally, after a few minutes, he seems to understand and agrees to discuss the situation with the police. This one says he lives in the house with his brother and his parents. His brother went to work for the day and her parents are currently traveling outside the country. It's himself who left the residence last this morning. He was reported to have left around 7 am. He said that before he put the muzzle on his dog and closed the doors. He added that he must muzzle to his dog even in the house since he knows that his dog can be aggressive and he does not want to take any chances. He ensures that his dog does not break anything in the House.
However, it confirms that the waste found on the subsoil floor is made by his dog; they are not supposed to be there.
He further states that he took this baby dog ​​and that he is now 7 years old. According to the man, the dog would have been attacked 3 times by other dogs, about 6 years ago.
Since then, the dog does not trust people he does not know. According to him, there are some years; the dog would have torn the coat of an individual who tried to steal.
(According to police report # 46-151026-010, on October 26, 2015, this same dog attacked two friends of the owner while the owner is away from home. One of them has serious injuries to the forearm, maybe even a fracture, and she is transported to the Hospital of Santa Cabrini. The second person is bitten on the thigh, but the wound is minor. According to the police report, the owner is advised that the dog would be monitored by the municipality involved. It appears that the municipality never performed the required follow-up.)
The man mentions that the dog is extremely anxious and agitated in the presence strangers. According to him, the dog is territorial at home. When he sees the neighbors, he is yelping. The man asserts that he immediately enters the dog to calm him down and that little after a while; he can come out again, since he has become peaceful again. He adds that his dog is well fed and is well cared for. He takes regular walks with him and has exercises. On the other hand, he mentions that his dog is often left in the cage outside the house during eight-hour periods. (NB: Several neighbors say they have never seen this dog walk around the neighborhood.)
The man says that a few weeks ago, an estimator came to the scene for a submission for repair of the fence. According to him, he had an agreement with Mrs. Vadnais so that the cost of the repair is paid half and half. He added that he had no problem with Mrs Vadnais. According to him, she was a "nice lady".
The declaration of the owner where he presents himself as someone who takes good care of his dog is contradicted by the information gathered on the premises as well as by his declaration to the police. Among other things, the dog is left alone in the house for long periods of time, pieces of waste are scattered on the ground housing, chewed plastic bottles and dog droppings are on the grass, the dog is often left in its cage outside the house for eight incidents of aggression have occurred previously and neighbors never saw this dog walking with his master in the neighborhood. All these facts suggest that it was a maltreated dog. In fact, it is likely that this dog has been poorly socialized for a long time, left alone frequently during periods prolonged, under-stimulated, lacking canine companions and Exercise. These factors have probably produced an extremely frustrated, aggressive and violent.
As for the breed of the dog involved in the attack, even experts cannot and often do not agree on the specific breed of a dog. Despite the results of the analysis dog's DNA, we are unable, from the photos of the dog provided, to identify formally this dog as being a "pitbull". In addition, it should be noted that initially, dog was registered with the City of Anjou in 2011, the owner registered it as a "Boxer".
In summary, it seems that a tragic combination of events led Ms. Vadnais to simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Among other things, an absence the owner of the dog, a dog already known to be very aggressive, wearing a muzzle the house door that is not properly closed, a hole in the fence and a hour of the day when no neighbor is around to lend him assistance. One may wonder if this attack could have been avoided if, by 2015, the municipality involved had follow-up and take appropriate actions.

This attack was the object of abundant media coverage. At the same time, the public and politicians have called for legislative action to be taken to prevent future attacks. It is expected that the coroner will take into account recommendations in this area. Prior to addressing the recommendations, the public should be made aware of the scope of the so that it can be informed participants in any legislative discussion. Examination of the scientific literature demonstrates the following facts regarding bites of dogs and attacks:
1) About 50% of dog bite cases occur in children.
2) Non sterilized male dogs are involved in approximately 75% of the bites of dog reported.
3) Deaths due to bites or attacks of dogs, while disturbing the public, are also extremely rare. Across Canada, there are usually one to two human deaths per year due to bites or dog attacks, while in the United States the number is ten to twenty deaths per year. In Quebec, there were five human deaths due to dog bites since 1995.
4) Although deadly dog ​​bites are rare, non-dog bites mortalities are not and are a real public health problem. With estimates in the United States of approximately 4.5 million dog bites per year. Approximately 350,000 people a year in the United States seek medical a hospital because of a dog bite.
 5) The tendency of a dog to bite or show aggressive behavior depends much more of its genetics than race. Other factors such as experience, socialization and training, dog health, reproductive status, behavior of the victim and the specific context, also play a key role.
6) All dogs can bite. Dogs of all breeds can be dangerous.
 7) It is demonstrated that the visual identification of dogs, even by professionals’ skilled animal care, is unreliable.
(8) Although different types of animal control laws have been adopted in many jurisdictions, the effectiveness of these measures in reducing the incidence of dog bite or the severity of the dog bite is not well established.

There are historically at least two legislative approaches to reduce the occurrence of bites by dogs. An approach is "the prohibition of specific breed" ("Breed specific ban "or" BSL "), where certain types or breeds of dogs are prohibited. The BSL legislation does not base the determination of the dog's dangerousness on a conduct. All dogs of a targeted breed are based solely on membership of that breed. A BSL is generally promulgated as a result of a mediated dog attack. In addition, a BSL is usually proposed by the legislature in response to public protest and fear. Courts such as Aurora (Colorado), Miami-Dade County (Florida), Winnipeg and Ontario have enacted the BSL legislation (Ontario since 2005).
The other legislative approach is "neutral race" and rather ownership ("Responsible Pet Ownership" or "RPO"). This approach more the owner of the dog than the dog itself. Calgary, Alberta is a jurisdiction that has adopted this type of legislation. A review of the literature shows that few facts support the BSL approach. An article published in the Toronto Sun (June 21, 2016) even pointed out that in Ontario, the province does not know if the law is effective because no provincial data is collected in material. In fact, a thorough review of the scientific literature BSL legislation is an ineffective way of fighting dog bites. No peer-reviewed academic or scientific report and supporting the BSL is not found.
 In Quebec, two recent reports containing recommendations (requested after Mrs. Vadnais' deaths) are already filed with the Minister of Public Security. The Quebec Veterinary Medical Association (OMVQ) tabled its report in July 2016. The Working Committee on the Control of Dangerous Dogs ("the Committee") filed its report in August 2016. In the OMVQ report, the following points of interest should be highlighted:
(1) It is imperative to ensure the financial and operational feasibility of and regulations that will be adopted.
2) The Government of Québec, cities and municipalities must have the sufficient financial resources to enforce their regulations and guidelines.
(3) It is clear that the application of the regulations, which are already in place, often represents a serious shortcoming. It must be admitted that this fact unfortunately to a non-negligible part of the bite events (animal left free, faulty fence, dog permanently tied up, events known precedents, etc.). It also helps to increase the level of frustration to the authorities, knowing that the rules exist and that they are neglected.
4) The definition of a dangerous dog could be: a dog attempting to bite or attacking, biting or attacking, who is doing something that could the safety of a person or animal is considered "dangerous" and should be evaluated by an expert. The revision of the literature also makes it possible to recognition that it might be possible to broaden the type of conclusions. We thought, in particular, of definitions of Nuisance "," potentially dangerous dogs "and" vicious dogs ".
(5) Many unfortunate events could have been avoided or mitigated by the knowledge and understanding of the people at the time of the facts, but especially in prevention.
(6) It is of the utmost importance that the Government of Québec and the cities and municipalities ensure that the measures that will be adopted in the management of dangerous dogs take into account all the factors of listed risk. It is necessary to act on the animal, on the owner of the animal and on the environment. We need to educate the public, children and pet owners.
7) It is very important to establish methods for listing all cases of bites, especially those requiring medical attention. It is important that the government and the cities develop the means to collect data on owners and dogs in their territory as well as on incidents and bites. It is also important to develop a mechanism standardized and mandatory reporting of bite cases. The declaration of bites should be mandatory as well as evaluating the dog involved in a trained veterinarian. Creating a dog registry with rigorous case monitoring would be ideal to avoid tragedies.
The report of the OMVQ seems to be well done and its conclusions seem to be supported by the factual information developed in the body of the report. We can only agree with its conclusions.
As far as the Committee is concerned, the following points of interest should be emphasized:
(1) The City of Calgary appeals, within its regulations, for accountability of dog owners, hence the requirement for a license for each dog company. Heavy fines are levied for infringements of Regulation so that they are dissuasive. As a result, approximately 90% of dogs were from 2010, which far surpasses most cities in the world. North America.
(2) In Calgary, revenues from licenses and fines Department of Animal Services and its extensive safety programs canine, awareness and education.
(3) In Calgary, the Regulations provide that dogs may be designated as dangerous behavior based on proven behavior and not on the basis of race or of a designated crossing.
(4) In Calgary, through the gradual introduction of various and education and awareness-raising measures of the population, the number of incidents involving dogs gradually decreased by 78% between 1985 and 2008.
(5) Throughout the work carried out within the Committee's mandate, the difficulty of obtaining complete and reliable information and data was an issue important. Adequate information and scientific data would certainly made it possible to better document the problem and facilitate the choice of the most effective measures to reduce the number of bites.
However, no centralized registration procedure for all dogs or mandatory declaration of dog bites exists in Quebec. The census such data would provide information on the frequency, circumstances and seriousness of incidents and to collect all relevant information in order to better upstream, to target interventions and prevent more.
At the end of the Committee's report, three legislative scenarios are described and their benefits and disadvantages are discussed. The three scenarios are:
1) Prohibition of certain breeds of dogs and establishment of a declaration of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog.
2) Identification of the specific characteristics of dogs deemed dangerous or potentially hazardous substances to be framed, including dogs of “Pitbull ", and the introduction of a dangerous dog reporting procedure or potentially dangerous.
3) Establishment of a dangerous dog reporting procedure or potentially hazardous without specification of race or characteristic special.
For reasons that are not well explained or supported by logic, the Committee suggests the adoption of the second legislative scenario. It is disappointing that the Committee this conclusion with little or no evidence to support it in the body of the report.
As a result of these two reports, Bill 128 was recently sent to the national assembly.
The following points of interest should be emphasized:
1) The bill identifies dogs that are deemed to be potentially hazardous and allows the government to modify the list of dogs identified as such.
(2) The bill gives the government the power to prohibit any dog ​​that is deemed potentially dangerous and prohibits any person from owning, acquiring, to keep or raise a prohibited dog, subject to certain exceptions.
3) (Article 6) the veterinary surgeon shall notify the municipality without delay the fact that a dog inflicted an injury on a person or domestic animal.
4) (Article 17) A dog whose breed, type or cross is referred to in Annex I (see below) is considered potentially hazardous (the Government may amend the Annex
I).
5) (Article 19) The Government may prohibit any dog ​​that is deemed to be potentially dangerous under Article 17.
6) (Section 12) A local municipality that has reasonable grounds to believe that a dog constitutes a risk to public health or public safety may require it to be examination of a veterinary surgeon she chooses so that her condition and dangerousness be evaluated.
I (Article 17)

ANNEX
POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DAMAGED DOGS
(1) pitbulls, including American terrier pitbulls, American Staffordshire terriers and the Staffordshire bulls;
(2) the rottweilers;
(3) dogs resulting from the cross between one of the dogs referred to in paragraphs 1 or 2 and another dog;
(4) hybrid dogs resulting from the cross between a dog and a canida other than a dog;

(5) dogs trained for the purpose of protection, guarding, combat or attack.
A careful reading of this proposed legislation demonstrates that much of it raises questions. For example, which dog is "potentially dangerous"? This term is not defined in the Act and, in fact, the definition could be applied arbitrary. In addition, despite the lack of scientific evidence support, the suggestion that certain breeds of dogs are a priori declared "potentially dangerous substances ". Moreover, the law makes it possible to prohibit these dogs while the evidence in the literature show that the prohibition does not contribute to diminishing the amount or severity of dog bites. It is also disappointing that the law proposes mandatory reporting of dog bites, but only to the municipality concerned. This local report will not be useful to the province. A central register is required. Finally, it is of concern that the law does not mention compulsory registration of dogs or programs for public education or bite prevention. In summary, this bill is disappointing for the following reasons:
1) This bill is essentially a "BSL" law.
 (2) The mandatory reporting of dog bites only to the municipality shall be a wasted opportunity. A central register is required.
(3) There is no mention of the need for public education.
(4) Mandatory registration of dogs is not mentioned municipality.
A rigorous reading of the scientific literature and of the two reports recently filed in Quebec leads to the following conclusions:

1) Dog bites are a serious public health problem and, in particular, a problem that affects the health and safety of our children. The majority of Dog bites are preventable.
2) Reducing the incidence of dog bites requires the cooperation of different "partners", including animal control teams, medical and veterinary community, educators, health department’s public, charitable organizations, and local municipal public.
3) Every bill should emphasize the responsibility of the owner of the animal the prevention of dog bites and encourage the public to work with (and not to against) animal control teams that enforce the law.
 4) Any bill should not prompt any type of "BSL", since the "BSL" unnecessary costs and has never proved to be effective in the prevention of dog bites or attacks.
5) Every bill must encourage intensive and continuous public education compulsory, centralized and standardized reporting of bites dog.

CONCLUSION The death of Mrs. Christiane Vadnais is due to an attack by a dog that caused a trauma that resulted in significant arterial hemorrhage, shock hypovolemic. This is a violent death.

RECOMMENDATIONS I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions to centralize reports of injuries inflicted by a dog in a Quebec registry whose data would be accessible for research and prevention. I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions requiring the annual registration of all dogs with their municipality and to provide means to pay for the data reflecting these recordings in the Quebec register of dog bites in order to maximize usefulness for research and prevention purposes.
I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions to encourage the sterilization of dogs, irrespective of race.
I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate Bill 128 provisions to encourage municipalities to form animal control teams, in particular with the aim of raising public awareness of dog safety and better comply with applicable laws and regulations.
I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions to establish objective and fair means of declaring a dog or (or a combination of both) as "dangerous",
Potentially hazardous "or" harmful ", as discussed in the OMVQ report and the development of enforcement measures against these dogs or their owners.
I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety take the necessary steps to that the adoption of any law for the supervision of dangerous dogs should be accompanied through the development of programs to raise public awareness of dog safety and prevention of dog bites.
I, the undersigned coroner, acknowledge that the date indicated, and the places, causes, circumstances described above have been established to the best of my knowledge, in pursuance of my inquiry, in witness whereof I have signed this deed, at Montreal this 28th day of September 2017.
Dr. Ethan Lichtblau, coroner








Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August 29, 2017 Twelve Year Anniversary of BSL in Ontario

Today marks the 12th year of living with BSL in Ontario.. I am no less angry today as I was then. Likely more, if that's possible.
I feel as though I've lost over a decade of my life fighting this insanity. I cannot let it go because I refuse to live where you cannot keep your dogs safe simply based on their appearance and the constant looking over your shoulder fearful that someone may be irrationally fearful of dogs.
I have stood by hundreds of people who haven't been able to protect their dogs. Many have got them back but after much stress, anxiety and money spent on lawyer, time off work etc.
I have seen so many good dogs ripped away from good owners just because of the way the dog looks. The law is based on pure lies and propaganda. We have tried everything. Court, getting Bills to repeal tabled, relentless petitions, emails, tweets and social media pressure. We've met and talked with MPP's from all parties but the OLP won't repeal. They know they screwed up but they won't let it go.
Public safety is the same as it was pre-ban but thousands of dog owners have paid the price through stress, anxiety, depression, paranoia, loosing their pets, wondering if they'll loose their pets or having to fight for their pets lives.
The Ontario Liberal Party has a lot to answer for! I don't know how sick in the head one has to be to believe that hanging on to a bad law and putting people through this is just and right..
The election is coming up again next June. It's long long overdue that the incompetence of Kathleen Wynne and the OLP receive what's coming to them. A giant loss. I hope they lose party status but that may be only in my dreams.
Hang in there fellow dog owners. I still believe a repeal is within reach. We just need to get rid of the nasty OLP! Without getting them out we will continue to mark another year of living under their oppressive bad law.
The only upside to this nightmare is I've met a lot of great people that I likely wouldn't have otherwise met. I've gained some very close friends. I've also lost some very close friends this past year. I feel very strongly that BSL in Ontario was a contributing factor to each of their deaths.
I would like to mention the tireless effort of three people who fought like hell to get a repeal. I wish they'd lived to see it...
In loving memory of;
Selma Mulvey
Laurie Roseborough
Emily Ugarenko
You were all such a painful loss and you are missed every minute of every day..
Thank you for all your hard work, determination and tenacity. We continue onward without you but your influence will always be in our hearts..

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Picture Says a 1000 Words

Picture used with permission 

They say a picture says a 1000 words.. 

This picture was taken in Montreal's NDG Borough. Montreal's new bylaw bans ownership of new "pit bulls" outright or "pit bull" types in the city's 19 boroughs. The new rules made it mandatory for Montrealer's who currently own a "pit bull" to obtain a special permit by March 31, 2017. Anyone who fails to comply can face a fine ranging from $300 to $700.

Here is a link to the bylaw.

The reason I thought this picture was important is because many people think it's only the underbelly of society that is targeted by breed bans. If you're doing what you're supposed to be doing then things are fine, right? 
Well NO! 

What we see most often is people stopped on the street while out minding their own business, walking their mutt (since the purebreds are among Canada's rarest breeds) they get stopped and hassled. 
This woman, looks to be likely middle aged, walking her well behaved dog (it's standing quietly looking up at the officers) and was stopped to ask her if she had the proper licensing for her dog. Did she know she owned a "pit bull"? Was she aware of the restrictions.. etc. 

Imagine yourself in her shoes for a moment. Imagine the fear of what they could do if they wanted to. Imagine what would be going through your mind.. Do you think it would be easy on your nerves to take your dog out for a walk next time? Do you think you might be looking over your shoulder, having the hair on the back of your neck stand up every time your doorbell rang? Wonder when people look at you funny while your're in public if they might report you? Feeling as though you must lead a life walking after dark or not at all to protect your dog's life. 

Now imagine having your dog ripped from your hands and taken from you. Did you do anything wrong? Your crime is you own a dog that appears a certain way. That "way" cannot even properly be defined. It's not up to you what you think your dog's mix may be it's up to the enforcers. 

This particular woman was let go after she was approached and questioned on the street however does this not beg the question.. 
Where the hell do we live? Canada.. land of the free? It would appear not so free when you are simply walking down the street, walking your dog and the "pit bull" Gestapo get to question you and could seize your dog right out of your hands if they please! 

Why? Well that's the $Billion dollar question! 

All credible information including scientific studies (as an example) worldwide point to breed specific legislation as an absolute loser law. It is ineffective, costly, discriminatory and does NOTHING to contribute to public safety! It causes incredible stress, heartache and rips families apart. It removes well behaved family members from their loving homes and kills them or sends them out of province. 

Why are we allowing this to continue in our country? The province of Ontario has had a ban in place since 2005. There is now proposed legislation to ban the three common targeted breeds plus the Rottweiler, for the province of Quebec. There are many towns across Canada that have bans although many have chosen to repeal and replace with solid bylaws that are non discriminatory. 

For your interest here is a chart of CKC registered pups for the decade past in Quebec. The numbers across Canada are in line with the QC numbers. 


Here is a chart for the Rottweiler in QC


Public risk? Uhmm? Are there enough of them to pose a risk? Does it make sense that every second mutt on the street is related to these breeds? Mathematically nope. It doesn't take Einstein to figure that one out.

Please people think about what your government is legislating. Even if you think you aren't involved or a potential target do you really want a government running your city, town, province or country that enacts such garbage? If they can do it to us... you to may find yourself on the receiving end one day. 

***On a side note, thank goodness for the protection gear these officers are wearing.. you never know when a middle aged "pit bull" owner may go all Ninja on you! 



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Questioning DNA Testing in Dog Breed Analysis VS Visual Identification and BSL

Visual breed identification has always been a leak in the foundation of BSL.

Most dogs targeted are mix breed or of unknown lineage.

In Canada the purebreds most commonly targeted are extremely rare. Most recently the province of Quebec has proposed Bill 128 which aims to ban 4 purebred breeds, including the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rottweiller and American Pit Bull Terrier. The first three are all CKC registered so the CKC registration numbers demonstrate the rarity of the purebreds.



A dog is either a purebred or they are not. Under the Canadian Animal Pedigree Act it is against the law to sell an animal as a purebred if it isn't registered with an accredited registry under the Act. It is easy to determine if a dog is purebred or not. Those dogs registered purebreds must be microchipped or tattooed. All other dogs fall into the category of mix breed dogs.

This leaves breed ID in the hands of someone who may or may not have any background with dogs or dog breeds. Even those who have extensive knowledge with dog breeds, accredited dog judges, will be the first to tell you that you cannot identify breed mixture in mix breed dogs by visual identification. Until a couple decades ago, playing the party game “guess the mutt” at the pound or shelter was a fun game but the game became a whole lot more serious once legislation began to pop up targeting certain breeds or more accurately dogs that appeared a certain way.
The notion that dogs are dangerous based on breed or appearance is absurd and there is no evidence to support this notion. It is a notion purely based on myth, stereotype, irrational fear and urban legend. It is not unlike witch hunts. When DNA testing for breeds began to gain popularity there was some hope on both sides that pet owners could prove their dog were not a targeted breed and enforcers became hopeful that they could prove a targeted dog was one of the breeds named in dangerous dog laws. That is not how things have worked out. The DNA breed ID tests are not supported by any scientific publications. If you read the disclaimers, you'll see that they cannot ID purebred dogs and do not certify their results. Aside from the fact that these tests are not reliable and in view of the fact that all dogs are virtually identical, with breed being nothing but an expression of physical (inheritable) characteristics such as size, shape, haircoat, colour, etc, there is one point which everyone has overlooked.
The Ontario law bans three purebred dogs. As I said above purebreds are very easy to identify and they are registered to an owner, their birth information, breed, age, number of siblings, ancestors, etc, are all recorded.
People need to understand that aside from three very rare purebreds, this law does not ban dogs because of their ancestry or breed makeup. Even if it were possible to accurately determine which breeds contributed to a mutt's ancestry, it would be completely irrelevant.
It is all about what a dog looks like, not what he or she is. If you have an unregistered Boxer and some AC officer thinks it is a 'pit bull', you are now a target. Same applies with Labs, Boston terriers, any breeds.
Since all dogs are, by definition, 'substantially similar' to all other dogs, much like humans, all dogs are at risk if officials want to put an owner through. Even more chilling is the fact that there is nothing in the law exempting other purebred dogs. If you have one of the many lookalike purebreds, from American Bulldog to Viszla, you are not necessarily safe.
It's all about looks; ancestry is not germane - unless you have one of the very rare purebred dogs specifically named in the law.
One of the red flags exposing junk science is that the news is released directly to media, bypassing the scientific literature.
For these reasons DNA is not reliable or admissible in court. If evidence is going to be used it better be accurate since guess the mutt has morphed from a party game to a game of life or death to any dog that becomes a target under the law.

Here is an example of a known parentage breeding. These two dogs are littermates. Would you describe them as being the same breed mixture?


With the above being said, if you are an anti BSL advocate you had better not be using DNA testing as your proof that visual breed ID is inaccurate. 

You cannot prove one inaccuracy with another. Statements are either accurate or they are not. You can't be a little accurate or use information that's inaccurate when it suits you or it's convenient. This applies to both sides of the coin.

Point being;
If you are going to create a law that kills a dog based on his/her appearance you had better have some concrete evidence that proves that the dog is dangerous based on appearance or breed only and that you can prove said dog is what you claim they are. Period. This has not been achieved by government on any point since there is no evidence to support any dog is dangerous based on breed or appearance and furthermore it is impossible to prove breed mixture of mix breed dogs.

The foundation of why BSL is so very very wrong on all levels is;

It discriminates not based on evidence but based on myth, irrational fear, inaccurate statements and downright lies. 

It targets dog owners based on the appearance or breed of their dog not behaviour.

It targets innocent dog owners and their dogs in a demographic in Canada where the actual purebreds are extremely rare yet the target pool is very large. This leaves any dog owner a target and left to prove the lineage of the dog. With only roughly 10% overall of the dog population registered purebreds and the demographic of the rare named purebreds in legislation much less and in some cases zero population (as you can see from the graphs above), the ability to prove is impossible. 

The law bans names of breeds that don't exist! IE. Pit bull terrier, pit bull, pit bull mix etc. 

There is a breed named American Pit Bull Terrier but they must be registered with UKC or ADBA to be a purebred. You cannot prove lineage of a random short haired mix breed dog that. As is clearly laid out, simply saying in one's opinion the dog "looks like" is meaningless. Prove it! 

Traditionally the word "pit bull" was a shortened slang term for the APBT breed. It has now become a catch all phrase for any dog anyone feels in their opinion is one. 

This is such an abstract and nonsensical notion. Why do we label dogs at all? Dogs are dogs.. the notion that we are going to be able to predict behaviour, health etc based on the breed makeup of a mix breed dog is irrational. Anyone who makes this claim clearly has no grasp on genetics.

Placing labels on dogs, especially ones that have become negative is pointless, irrational and downright dangerous to the dog. Time to grow up and put some thought into approach. Shelters and rescue need to drop labels to allow dogs ability to not be prejudged based on inaccurate information. 

Governments must stop legislating against dog owners that own dogs of specific appearances. It is ineffective, ruins lives, kills great dogs, is downright reckless and incompetent on the government's behalf. Creating legislation such as this should be grounds for immediate dissolve of any government for knowingly placing law abiding citizens in harms way based on knee jerk, irrational, lazy and incompetent lawmaking. 



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why have 19+ States banned breed specific language?

Talk about being dumped? 

I'll tell what is unpopular; the usage of breed profiling or banning breed/type/appearance of dogs as a plan to control or diminish dog bites/attacks. 

You may ban any given topic, item or idea and banning is never going to be an effective control of said item but that doesn't seem to deter the weak minded from trying. 

BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) became somewhat of a "fad" for lack of a better word, sometime in the past 20 to 25 years. 

There are many facets of BSL that are problematic and downright insane but the good news is this "fad" is falling like a strike in a great bowling game. 

There are now 19 states in the USA that have put in place legislation against the usage of breed profiling or discrimination. Here is a link to more information and a map (missing the confirmation of the most recent Utah) of states to have passed such legislation. There are many more states considering this concept and will likely follow suit soon. 

It cracks me up really, that there are still a few strays (no pun intended) that belch out ignorant articles every time a "supposed" 'pit bull' story hits the news wire. Calling for "Is it time for a ban on 'pit bulls' in Blabla city/town"? Here just vote in this poll to have your say... 

Yeah ok like some shady clickbait newspaper poll somehow links directly to city bylaw or provincial/state law. If our elected officials are basing legislation on clickbait polls; Houston we definitely have a problem!

A recent national US survey (commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society) revealed that 84% of Americans believe that government on any level should not infringe on the right to choose which breed of dog one owns! 

Hang on to your hats kids. This "fad" will die eventually. 


Picture courtesy of Game Dog Guardian







7 Things You Don't Know About Kittens That Will Make You Shake With Fear

This post is a link to an article with an important message at HugAbull Blog

It was written by Leigh Oxley, HugABull volunteer and Online Marketing Professional. 




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Barrie dog owner's ordeal


It is nearly a decade since the amendments to Ontario's Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA) came into effect banning three rare breeds of dogs and any dog perceived as substantially similar to them. The Ontario Liberals, despite overwhelming evidence that breed bans are ineffective, implemented a draconian and discriminatory piece of legislation. This law was aimed at dog owners, based on the dog's appearance as opposed to the behaviour of their dog. All dog owners deserve equal treatment under the law regardless of their dog's appearance, and deserve to be judged by their actions - like everyone else. 

I have been involved with an organization called the Dog Legislation Council of Canada. We formed in 2003 and are nationwide. Part of our mandate is supporting dog owners that find themselves a target of bad laws. We share information, suggest lawyers and guide them through the process. We have helped hundreds of dog owners across Ontario and have had huge success helping with the process of reuniting dogs with their owners.
Recently a dog owner from Barrie found himself a target of the “pit bull” ban. He contacted us (DLCC) and together we reunited his dog Lewis with him and his daughter after a harrowing, week long ordeal.

Richard was putting out the garbage late one Friday night and his dog Lewis bolted through the door before he could grab him. Usually Lewis has a good recall but this night he kept going. Richard went out and searched the neighbourhood (including all the places he walks his dog) until 7:00 Saturday morning.

As soon as the OSPCA opened he called to see if they had picked up a white dog. The person at the OSPCA asked what type of dog he owned. He answered that his dog is a “pit bull” type dog. That started the wheels in motion that would begin a week long nightmare for Richard and his three-year old daughter.



Most dog owners in Ontario have no idea how this law affects them. Some people still don’t know about the amendments made to DOLA in 2005. I realize that ignorance is not a defence, however, the government did nothing to educate people about what the law actually contains. Roughly 10% of the dog population is purebred therefore 90% are mixed breed dogs. That means that 90% of dog owners really have no way of proving what type/breed mixture of dog they own. Sure you can guess visually but visual ID is very unreliable and it’s all fun and games until your dog’s life is on the line!

As a matter of fact even the people enforcing the law don’t understand it. Some cities/municipalities publicly admit they only enforce on a complaint basis (ie. Ottawa) while other jurisdictions actively enforce much like a witch hunt.

The OSPCA told Richard that if his dog was picked up by Animal Control it would not be easy to get his dog back. Richard then called Animal Services and was told that his dog resembled a “pit bull” and that Richard would need to prove that he was not a “pit bull” in order to get his dog back.

Section 19. of the law (which was struck in its entirety as violating the right to trial fairness at Ontario's  Superior Court of Justice but reinstated by the Court of Appeal) states;

Identification of pit bull
19.  (1)  A document purporting to be signed by a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario stating that a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of this Act is receivable in evidence in a prosecution for an offence under this Act as proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the dog is a pit bull for the purposes of this Act, without proof of the signature and without proof that the signatory is a member of the College. 2005, c. 2, s. 1 (16).
Immunity
(2)  No action or other proceeding may be instituted against a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario for providing, in good faith, a document described in subsection (1). 2005, c. 2, s. 1 (16).
Onus of proof
(3)  For greater certainty, this section does not remove the onus on the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. 2005, c. 2, s. 1 (16).

What this means is that a veterinarian’s document of visual breed mixture ID is the only admissible evidence of breed mixture ID in court. It also means that acceptance of that as evidence by the court is not open for debate.

The Animal Control person explained to Richard;
"If you can prove that Lewis is a mix it doesn’t mean you'll get him back. There's a difference even if you DNA test a dog that will make us decide the outcome. For instance, if Lewis comes back as say a “pitbull” boxer mix, there's a huge difference then if he comes back as a boxer “pitbull” mix. The first word “pitbull” is different than the first word boxer."

It is unfortunate that those enforcing the law do not understand that “pit bull” is NOT a breed and cannot be identified. Furthermore those who are in a role of enforcing DOLA are under NO obligation to identify ANY dog as a “pit bull”. Also and this is the most important point:

Once a dog is not one of the three named purebreds on the banned list, his perceived “breed” becomes irrelevant. It then is all about how he looks to an untrained person.

In an excerpt from Hansard during a debate at Queen’s Park:
MPP Peter Kormos made a statement regarding municipal participation during one of the many House debates over the legislation. This is an excerpt from Hansard:
"That provoked me to put questions to ministry staff about exactly what the Bill does: "Does the bill require municipalities to participate in this ill-conceived so-called pit bull ban?" "No; it merely enables them." Oh, I get it: "These are the tools in the toolbox."

The legislation also uses the word “may” which leaves enforcement optional to support the above statement.  Section 4. (1)

Many Animal Services, shelter and humane society workers across the province say that they do not agree with the law but must enforce because it is their job. This is official notice that this is not so therefore the law is a “tool in the toolbox”.

The week continued on to be frustrating, infuriating and very scary for Richard. The option of shipping Lewis out of province, through a rescue, was put on the table. Richard’s response to that option was “Lewis has a great home where he is loved and part of the family. Why ship him somewhere out of province to someone unknown?”

In desperation Richard contacted the newspaper, which in a roundabout way led him to finding some very much needed help. By getting his story in the media he was able to contact the “Pit bull” Co-op, another organization here in Ontario helping dog owners by networking and creating a safe environment for them to socialize themselves and their dogs. He was then referred to us (DLCC). He then sought some legal advice and also arranged for an impartial veterinarian to visually ID his dog.

The veterinarian said the dog resembled a Boxer cross. In her opinion Lewis was not substantially similar to any of the purebreds listed in the law. Lewis was at that point granted a ticket home to his family.

Those are the facts; in a nutshell version of what happened that week in Richard Grenier’s life. The human side of this story is what takes the toll. Yes he got his dog back but here’s the thing. This could happen to anyone. As much as some may sit in judgement and say, how could someone let their dog get out? It can and could happen to anyone.

Richard got Lewis as a puppy from someone selling puppies out of a box on the street in Ottawa. He felt sorry for the pups and wanted to give one of them a good home, plus he and his wife were expecting a baby and wanted to get a dog that would grow up with their child.

Richard says; “When I saw how upset, my daughter was that Lewis was gone it made me mad as hell that someone took her dog. I told her that Lewis ran away and I couldn't find him but I said I'd make sure I found him (even though I wasn’t sure I’d get him back). She cried and was so upset since Lewis has been her dog since she was born.”

“She had a hamster that died a few months back, so of course we had to tell her that it went to some farm in Florida to live blah blah blah. I wasn't going to tell her that about Lewis because I didn't want her growing up thinking that Florida is this awesome place she can go to visit all her pets that moved there. So I told her that Lewis was coming home and I promised her that because that's what I was going to make sure I did for her. I wasn't going to let her down.”



Consequently Richard was told by the OSPCA that they were surprised at how hard he fought to get Lewis back. They said that many owners just sign their dogs over. It is tragic that so many dog owners feel defeated or don’t have the resources or access to help or advice when they need it.

I blame the Ontario Liberals for this mess. There have been thousands of great dogs across this province just like Lewis that have been ripped away from their families and relocated or killed. They don’t all make the paper. Most do not. You will however hear about it every time a mutt dog is identified as a so called “pit bull” gets written up as “news”. The media very quickly caught on that the word “pit bull” is a great buzz word if you want to get “hits” on an article. Few ever bother to follow up or tell people the real story or facts behind the story.

Lewis is just a dog, a dog that went for a romp, but because of his appearance, not his behaviour, he was labeled and slated to be shipped out of the province or killed. Had he been a collie-type of dog he would have been home for his next meal.

Richard had a good analogy for how he felt this law targeted him;
“If I wear a ski mask in the winter does that mean the police can stop and handcuff me because I resemble a bank robber?  I can be arrested or detained until an expert walks in and says nope, that's not a bank robber. How vague is that?”

Here are some quick facts;

There is no evidence to support the belief that a dog is dangerous by breed or appearance nor is there any evidence that banning breeds is effective in the control of dangerous dogs or contributes to public safety at all.

"Pit bull" is slang and therefore meaningless.  It is now used as a legal term but is not used by dog fanciers.

There are effective laws that do not contain any unduly punitive measures at all. The Calgary model is a proven winner!

Attempting to label mongrel dogs by breed is irrational, useless and pointless.
Your dog is either a purebred dog (which means it MUST have registration papers with a recognized kennel club) or it's not.  Simple.  If the dog is not a purebred it is a mixed breed PERIOD.

The slang term "pit bull" is often applied to dogs that are not even remotely similar to each other, or any purebred dog.

If one MUST label dogs, it would be more productive to classify by;
Size
Grooming requirements
Energy level
Training level

Every dog is an individual!

Calling your dog a "pit bull" and promoting him as such only strengthens BSL.  One of the major weaknesses of BSL in Ontario is the fact that the purebreds are as rare as Pharaoh Hounds (American Staffordshire Terrier is the third rarest breed in Canada) so the overwhelming majority of alleged “pit bulls” are mutts.

Nobody can prove the breed ancestry of a mixed breed dog – not by “DNA” or appearance.  The only proof of a dog's breed is a pedigree from an accredited kennel club.  In Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club is the only organization incorporated under the federal Pedigree Act.

Continuing to use the term "pit bull" is inaccurate and unfair to mixed breed dogs and their owners.