Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chris Bentley tows party line...

A fellow Ontario dog owner wrote a letter to Attorney General Chris Bentley in March of this year. She finally received a response. I think you will be interested to read his reply letter, which I have permission to post for you all to see.
Here's the letter that was sent to the Attorney General:

Mr. Bentley, you may not have been the AG when the terrible Bill 132 was created, but you did vote for it and ultimately, you and all liberals are responsible for the death last week of Munchie, a chocolate lab cross that was ruled a pit bull, even when a world respected, Canadian Kennel Club accredited judge said he was not.
Ontario is no longer a nice province to live in, since you and your fellow Liberals came into power. Ontario is referred to on many blogs as the "killing fields of Ontario"... Travel advisories are going out on dog club web sites, not to travel to Ontario. Dog clubs are already showing signs of decreasing enrollments in their shows, some clubs have had to cancel dog shows that they have held for years. Tourism is being affected. Dog shows bring in money to the area.
I am asking you, as a citizen of Ontario and a concerned one at that, to take a real look at bill 132. It is a terrible law, many innocent dogs have lost their lives, many families have had their beloved companions torn away from them. Many people in Ontario do not realize that their dogs may be tagged pit bulls. When a CKC judge, Miss Mike Macbeth, who is respected the world over, when her opinion is ignored, then who has a hope if some Animal Control person says, "It's a 'pit bull'?
Mr. Bentley, bring in a law that deals with aggressive dogs, no matter what breed, one that deals with the behaviour not just a "look". Put money into education, teach children how to approach a dog, how be behave when approached by a dog. Teach children to respect animals (that might be hard when we have a government that does not understand this, but there are a lot of good people out there that do, get them on board). Look into the numbers, in Canada there has only been one death attributed to an alleged 'pit bull' in the last 25 years. Now I agree that even one death is too many, but what about all the other deaths that were not caused by 'pit bulls'. Do those people not count?
Instead of going after 'pit bulls', animal control must start to enforce the leash laws, making people responsible for their dogs, no matter what breed.
Bill 132 put too much power in the hands of Animal Control and took away security from the citizens of this province (reverse onus, if someone says a dog is a 'pit bull' or a menace, with no definition of either, then police, peace officers, etc. can enter a person's home with out a warrant, and it is up to the person to prove their innocence).
The time to act is now Mr. Bentley. Bill 132 was never an election issue, the citizens of Ontario were never asked their opinion, were never asked to vote on it, it needs to be revised, the breed specific part needs to be changed, instead of banning a look.
This is the response from the Attorney General:

Dear Ms. ******:
Thank you for your e-mail of March 14, 2008 regarding the Dog Owner's Liability Act (DOLA).
In examining the issue and preparing amendments to DOLA, including a ban on pit bulls, the Attorney General (Michael Bryant) and officials consulted with a wide variety of groups and individuals. Opponents and supporters were given ample opportunity to provide their opinions all of which were given the utmost consideration. While the sincerity of those opposed to the pit bull ban cannot be doubted, the priority is increasing the public safety of the people of Ontario.
There are now fewer pit bulls in Ontario, and consequently fewer opportunities for a vicious attack by a pit bull. Toronto's Animal Services has reported that the number of pit bull bites has dropped dramatically from 2005 to 2007.
No one disputes the fact that dogs of all breeds and types can attack.
Please be assured that the amendments toughened the penalties for the owners of any dog (not just pit bulls) that poses a danger to the public, by doubling fines up to a maximum of $10,000, and allowing for jail sentences of up to six months for individuals who own dangerous dogs that bite, attack, or pose a threat to public safety. The legislation also allows fines up to a maximum of $60,000 for corporations who own such dogs. Furthermore, the legislation now allows the courts to order that dog owners who breach the legislation pay restitution to victims.
We set high standards for responsible dog ownership in the province of Ontario, and we are building safe, strong communities for all Ontarians.
Once again, thank you for writing.
his sig here
Hon. Chris Bentley
Attorney General

I think the Attorney General should provide the data to support his statements!
We asked for a provincial dog bite registry to be set up but the idea was voted down at Committee and to date such data have not been collected. Mr Bentley is blowing smoke, in my opinion. (I wonder if he has ever considered a career in MSM?)
I also wonder if he has been told that Mr. Charney (lawyer for AG's office) said distinctly in court on June 28, 2007 that "There is NO SUCH THING AS A 'PIT BULL'...".
Some additional points to ponder:
- Roughly 4000 dogs have been killed in Ontario since the ban was enacted - because of their appearance.
- The population of all three banned purebreds in Ontario is less than 1,000 and only one purebred is among the dead.
- I'd ask Bentley how many 'pit bull' (assuming he can define that) attacks were in public pre-ban and how many occurred post-ban.
- Obviously, attacks on private property have nothing to do with public safety - not that there have been many of those either and not that there ever were.
- Then I'd ask him whether dog bites in general have decreased, remained stable or increased since the ban went into effect.
- Bryant logic (very different from regular logic) dictates that private property incidents are also going to be improved because, as he so eloquently stated, "no more pit bulls, no more 'pit bull' attacks".
- In other words, according to Fiberal propaganda, if pit bulls attack more than other dogs and if 'pit bull' attacks are more damaging than those from other dogs, then the simple act of eliminating pit bulls will
a) reduce the number of attacks and
b) reduce the severity of attacks.
That has been their entire argument from day one. It's a specious one but that hasn't prevented the government from using it to score political points with the general public through fear-mongering.
Of course, this is all just hypothetical, since we already know that this information, when it exists at all, is not only difficult and time-consuming to accumulate, but is basically meaningless once gathered
a) attacking dogs are often identified as the breed of the day regardless of actual breed makeup, sometimes by animal control when both the victim and the owner have identified the dog's breed makeup as something else;
b) attacking dogs are often identified by the victim (in the heat of the attack);
c) minor bites by dogs perceived as the breed of the day are almost always reported while the same bites by other dogs are almost always NOT reported.
h/t Chicobandido and Caveat for your comments...

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