Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Three cheers for a Mississauga Councillor

The dog she is referring to is Rambo, seized by animal control Christmas Day.
To catch up on the latest article from the Mississauga News, hit this link.
Rambo was allegedly identified as a "Texas red nose pitbull" by animal control. Hmmmm the AC are getting really sophisticated with the so called breed identification, aren't they? Not only is the dog being identified as a 'pitbull' which we all know doesn't exist, but they are getting all fancy on us and labelling Rambo as a "Texas red nose". As I said in an earlier post, what about a Visula/JRT?
In a quote from Carolyn Parrish; "The more I look into this law, the more foolish (I think) it is," said Parrish, a former member of parliament who admits she supported the dog control law at one time.
"It's not based on facts, science or common sense."

I was really starting to wonder if I had gone mad. It nearly brought me to tears to read this statement. Thank goodness someone in government has some common sense! Three cheers for Carolyn. I always liked Carolyn long before she was elected a councillor in Mississauga. 
Parrish goes on to say; "Given the imprecise definitions of a pitbull (which is not a specific breed) in the Act and the fact that parts of the definition have been struck down and are still under appeal".  Parrish said, "she believes Rambo can be proven not to be a pitbull and is not dangerous". 
I am now standing on my chair and waving my hands in the air.. is it a dream? If so, I hope I do not wake up.
Carolyn, hats off to you.. I would like to thank you for standing up and speaking your mind. I knew we could count on you. We have been shouting from the rooftops for over 4 years, but it has been like shouting at a brick wall.
John Stewart, who is a journalist at the Mississauga News, hats off to you.  You have been one of the first journalists to do your research and print truthful articles. I am grateful there is a journalist who cares about the truth. Thank you!
McGuinty, Bryant, Delaney and all other provincial Fib MPP's, wake up! If Carolyn is coming out, we all know she is speaking what most others are thinking, but don't have the ball$ to say. The fear campaign is OVER. You may as well drop your weapons. The 'ticking time bombs' are on a roll!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

An important point municipalities are missing

In a news article yesterday in the Mississauga News, the dog owner whose dog (Rambo) was picked up Christmas day, is facing a hard choice. She has had the ultimatum presented to her of either signing the dog over to the city for destruction or face a legal battle with the city to prove her dog is not a DOLA (Dog Owner's Liability Act).
To read the most recent article in the Mississauga News visit this link.
Quoted from the article is a comment from Dulio Rose, the cities manager of animal services.
"When the Province passed this, nobody wanted it," Rose said. "We're still not quite sure what it's all going to accomplish."
Rose said he sympathized with the young woman, who "faces two crappy options from where she stands.
"We're not happy about having to do it, but when the Province passes a law for public safety, we must follow it," said Rose. "What we're doing, we have to do. The law is very clear and we really can't do otherwise. It's unfortunate that (the dog) got out, but sooner or later, we would have turned up at her door."

The key points in the above statement are:
* We (the animal control department) must follow the law.
There are NO provisions in DOLA or otherwise, pressuring animal control, SPCA's or anyone else for that matter to identify a cross bred dog as a 'pit bull'. This is a choice made by the city to label a dog as something unprovable and place the onus on the owner to prove otherwise. The statement 'sooner or later, we would have turned up at her door' indicates a possible planned sweep, hauling dogs off the couch simply because they may fit the loose description. A description that also fits hundreds of breeds and crosses thereof.
* The province passed the amendments to DOLA for public safety.
This was the spew that come from the AG when the legislation was introduced and passed in the legislature, however this law had nothing to do with public safety since the three purebred breeds are all rare breeds ( ie. the American Staffordshire Terrier representing roughly 30 in the whole province) and the term 'pit bull' refers to a catch all shape or type of dog. Would common sense not point toward negligent ownership?
* "When the Province passed this, nobody wanted it."
Rose is right, the municipalities in Ontario did not in fact want the ban put in place due to the implications of enforcement. The province denied municipalities the funding or resources to enforce the law and the majority of municipalities and cities did not want to enforce the law, seeing it for what it truly is. Discriminatory, unenforceable and counter-productive to public safety.
There are literally hundreds of cases very similar to this case in Mississauga. Many of the cases have not included so much as a bylaw infraction, but complaints from neighbours or anyone with an irrational fear or axe to grind calling in a 'pit bull' sighting.
The sooner we (Banned Aid) overturn this ban, the sooner Ontario dog owners will stop being persecuted for the shape or type of dog they choose to have in their own home.
You can make a donation to the Banned Aid legal challenge by clicking on this link. We need your help!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Not looking good for Mississauga dog

In a follow up article in the Mississauga News, January 8, 2008 09:43 PM - Despite the pleas of animal lovers far and wide, the City of Mississauga is taking the proper route of action in the way it is handling the Rambo case. Here is a link to the full story.
I would like to give kudos to the reporter at Mississauga News for not choosing the sensational side of things.
It is interesting to note there were many letters and emails most criticizing the legislation that will ultimately be the demise of Rambo.
The most profound statement in the article, in my opinion anyway, was this;
The legislation came about because of regular reports of pit bulls attacking other dogs and people. Ultimately, too many came to fear the dog.
To my knowledge, this statement has never before been revealed by mainstream media. This statement slices to the very core of this issue!
How is it that a legislation can be based on regular media reports? Of course, when all people hear are stories about alleged 'pit bull' attacks, they are going to equate these are the only dogs that actually attack. Would it not make sense then that if this is the only type of dog you hear about in the news, they should be something to be feared?
So, the logistics of this situation may be reduced to this. Main stream media regularly report of 'pit bulls' attacking. People become fearful of 'pitbulls'. Remember this is a long media campaign, not just in the past few years. Every dog has had it's day..  The government them pick up on the fact that 'pitbulls' are something people are fearful of, so let's create a legislation that targets an undefinable type of dog through a ban. The public will then in turn be fooled into thinking public safety was being threatened but the government has taken the public under it's mighty wing and provided protection from dog attacks.
That my friends is the foundation behind breed bans! No science, no data, no fact and certainly no sense! The Mississauga News nailed it. Rambo and his owners are yet another victim of this unfair, unjust ridiculous legislation.
Did the owner have fault in this situation? Yes, I believe she did have fault in acquiring a dog that was a prohibited dog (born after Nov 29, 2005). Yes, she did fail to contain him, therefore he was picked up by animal control. Remember, had this dog been of a different shape or coat type such as longer hair, wire hair etc., this owner would at worst had a fine and pound fee. Likely the animal control officer would have been in the Christmas spirit and both owner and dog would have been home for turkey dinner, getting off with a warning. Unfortunately for Rambo, he fit someone's description of something that 'they at Queen's Park' don't want around anymore...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Could someone please explain what a "pitbull" is?

I have several questions - this story supplies an example of some questions I would like answered. A definitive answer from the Liberal party of Ontario would be great, but I won't hold my breath!
First, here is the article printed in full along with a link to the original article. I will post my questions and comments following the article.
Owner pleads for dog on death row
2008-01-02 15:09:22.000
A young Mississauga woman is pleading with Animal Control officials to spare her "docile" pet pit bull cross after the dog was caught running free on Christmas Day.

Gabriela Nowakowska, 20, says authorities have indicated 10-month-old Rambo will be destroyed unless she can prove he is not a purebred pit bull.

She insists the dog poses no threat to the public.

"I trust that dog more than I trust myself," says Nowakowska, after Rambo was picked up by animal control officers following his escape from her Kingsholm Dr. backyard in the Dixie Rd. and Dundas St. E. area. He made his get-away through an open gate.

"They can't just take his life. He's harmless," a tearful Nowakowska said in an interview outside the city's Central Pkwy. W. pound.
A letter she received from Mississauga Animal Control gave her until today to satisfy the pound that her dog is not 100 per cent pit bull.
Nowakowska has visited the animal shelter, travelling by transit or cab, almost every day since her dog was seized to plead with officials to release her pet.

On New Year's Day, when the facility was closed, she posted a letter on the door, pleading for more time to prove her dog is a harmless mixed breed (half pit bull). She attached a petition signed by 20 friends and family members indicating the dog is not vicious.

She has a letter from her veterinarian supporting her case.

Meanwhile, staff at the pound refuse to let her see her dog because they feel that could provoke an anxiety attack for the animal.

Rambo has received a reprieve on his death sentence until Animal Control manager Dulio Rose returns next week from vacation.

In August of 2005, the Ontario government passed Bill 132 that bans pit bulls. Since then, aspects of the Dog Owners' Liability Act, including the definition of a pit bull and the reverse-onus clause requiring owners to prove their dog is not a pit bull, were struck down on a court appeal.

A ruling on how to proceed with the law — whether it should be struck down entirely or reworded — is still pending.

"If I didn't love that dog to death, I wouldn't be doing this," Nowakowska said of her crusade to save Rambo.

Dr. Agnes Cetera of the Applewood Veterinary Hospital said, "we would like to help her (Nowakowka) but we cannot prove right now" that the animal is not a pit bull. It was seen only once, when it was four-months-old.

"You often cannot tell when you see the puppy," the vet said.
Now that the dog is grown, it does look like a pit bull, Nowakowska conceded. One of the original definitions in the legislation, and one which infuriated critics, was that a pit bull was defined as any animal which exhibited typical characteristics of the breed.

In his argument against the law in court, lawyer Clayton Ruby said even veterinarians cannot say for certain what constitutes a pit bull.
"If the vets can't tell, who can tell?" he said. "That's vague legislation. The constitution requires more than that."

Dr. Cetera said she believes, "the animal should not be punished for mistakes people make in training the dog. I don't believe destroying the dog is the only option."

Nowakowska understands why public officials would be concerned about vicious dogs.

"But it's really about how the owner treats and trains the dog. There's no reason to take the life of an innocent dog that's harmless."

- What exactly is a 'pit bull'? Is it similar in definition to the 'tooth fairy'? 
*Definition-- 'Pit bull' - a slang term for a shape of mongrel dog.  
'Toothfairy' - a slang term for a shape of fairy who happens to leave money for lost teeth.

- How does one prove a dog is "not 100% 'pitbull'? Oh, that is easy.. .No registration papers = a mongrel dog.  There are many breeds that could be in the ancestry of a dog and there is no way to prove this ancestry.

- Section 19, the reverse onus portion of the law was struck as unconstitutional; therefore that would mean it is up to the Crown, or in this case the City, to prove the dog's ancestry. How are they going to prove the dog's lineage? There is now a dog's life on the line and an owner who may or may not decide to take legal action against the city. The stakes were just raised on this silly 'pick the breed game'.

- The veterinarian said "you often cannot tell when you see a puppy", referring to breed ID. Oh, so I assume this particular vet feels she can determine beyond a doubt the combination of breeds in a mixed breed dog.

I think not! Picture this, a cute looking Jack Russell terrier meets up with a Viszla down the street. They have a little wine... well you know. Sixty-three days later along come some very cute, short-coated puppies. Get it? These pups go on to new homes and someone who makes a mistake and leaves the gate open. A dog is picked up by Animal Control and the next thing you know it's a 'pit bull' 

Is a vet now qualified to identify the breeds of the sire and dam of this dog, not to mention their parents and so on back for at least five generations? Is it even safe to state the parents were purebreds? What if they were mixed breed dogs as well? What are the chances of that? Pretty darn high, I would think.

Guess what folks, this situation happens frequently! There are hundreds of cases across the province, as we speak. There have been over 2000 dogs killed in the province of Ontario for looking a certain way. They may or may not have done anything wrong (in human terms that is).. they may have just been seen by someone who thought they saw a 'pitbull'!

- Who exactly is qualified to definitively identify breeds of a cross bred dog? Nobody! There is no scientific, objective way to identify the breeds that constitute a mutt. I maintain, if my butt is on the line in a court of law, and my dog's life is at stake I certainly do not want ANYONE playing some silly guessing game of 'pick the breed of the mutt' - especially in view of the sometimes hiliarious breed attributions made by these kinds of witnesses.

- I do have one answer to a statement made toward the end of the article. It was stated in the article "one of the original definitions in the legislation which infuriated critics, was that a 'pit bull' was defined as any animal that exhibited typical characteristics of the breed."

This statement is the understatement of the year!

Why do you think 'CRITICS' would be infuriated by this definition? Because THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PITBULL! How does anything exhibit typical characteristics of something that doesn't exist?

Now there is a question for all you science buffs.