Sunday, February 1, 2009

Montreal suburb Cote St. Luc contemplating breed ban

I am really starting to look like a Pug with banging my head off my desk and all.

When can we begin to insert logic and science where emotion and hysteria now reside? Why, when faced with a question of what to do; when the heat ramps up over dog 'incidents' (as they refer to them as in the article) the old news, passe, outdated and incorrect method of breed bans are considered an option?

The City of Côte St. Luc will be introducing a new bylaw to "regulate" the ownership of certain dog breeds that have acquired a reputation for aggressive behaviour.
During city council's January public meeting last week, the announcement for an impending new bylaw "concerning dogs" was among a series of notices tabled with measures to control graffiti and air guns.

Ok, now first of all, there is NO SUCH THING as an "aggressive breed" since aggression is a learned behaviour and cannot be bred "in" to a breed.
Will someone plueeeze explain to me why it is different or somehow "ok" if any other so called "friendly" breed/mix rip someone to shreds but I don't see any others than the usual targets added in. What about breed id"s? There is NO SUCH THING as a 'pitbull' folks! It is a short haired mutt that are being targeted and identified as such.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is always added in along with of course the American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Now, population wise, there are roughly 30  purebred American Staffordshire Terriers in the whole province of Ontario. I have one, the last one brought in before the ban took effect in August 2005. I am a member of the American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Canada, of which we have 16 members across Canada.

From the dog and litter registration numbers for the year 2008 the numbers of dogs registered for Canada by breed (these are CKC numbers) were as follows:
The numbers did not vary much over the 2006, 2007 and 2008 yrs.

Labrador Retriever       6495
Golden Retriever          4102
if you add all the "retrievers" together since clumping breeds together seems to be a popular thing to do the number is 11247 just for the year 2008.

Boxer                        1130
German Shepherd Dog  3254
Shetland Sheepdog      1798
if you were to add all the "shepherds" together the number is 3918 and that does not include other registries beyond the CKC. There are many other breeds listed by other registries.

The number for American Staffordshire Terriers (remember this is Canada, they are only prohibited in Ontario therefore it is legal to breed them in the rest of Canada)
American Staffordshire Terrier    11
Staffordshire Bull Terrier            64
I do not have the number for the American Pit Bull Terrier since they are not CKC registered. We estimate there are roughly 1500 registered dogs with all three breeds combined in the whole province of Ontario! That is not recent, but dogs that are purebred that are alive born before Nov 29, 2005 that are registered purebreds as the named 3 recognized breeds.

It is not rare at all to see short haired, whippy tailed, muscular, blocky headed dogs on the streets of anywhere Canada. I see them all the time. Nearly every time I go out in my town where I live I am guaranteed to see at least one walking along happily beside its owner. I will also guarantee you, I am the only person in the whole town where I live and surrounding area that owns an American Staffordshire Terrier. The closest person geographically to me that owns one, is over an hour drive away. I know this because I know nearly all the people in Ontario that own a purebred AST.

So where do you think all these "mutts" with s
hort haired, whippy tailed, muscular, blocky headed dogs on the streets of anywhere Canada come from? If you think they originate from any of the 3 named breeds included in the ban in Ontario, you are out to lunch! I guarantee you, the other people who own the purebred AST's are like me, in that they do not whore their dogs out to mate with other breeds or mixes of dogs resulting in crosses of American Staffordshire Terriers.
If you cruise the shelter sites and see the breed id's on the available dogs, you will spot many American Staffordshire Terrier crosses. The dogs are 100% absolutely MISIDENTIFIED! Now I suck at math, but do the math people.

Would it not make sense that Boxers and Labs, for instance, are quite popular dogs. Have you ever seen a Boxer/Lab mix? You likely do not know. If you have, you likely won't know because unless you were present for the breeding and in a controlled experiment where the bitch was kept isolated for the remainder of her estrus cycle and no other gentlemen callers came knockin' you still cannot prove the lineage. With that in mind, both parents would need to be registered with a registry such as the CKC or you could not prove the breed of the parents either. Looks don't cut it when your dogs life is on the line. All is fun and games when you are playing guess the breed at the shelter.

Pause... put thinking cap on.. pull it tight down around your ears.

Why are we banning American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers? Why would one contemplate banning anything really? Is it not a better strategy to educate people and enforce existing laws? There are already licensing and animal control laws in place, that include leash laws.

Let me take a wild guess.. because it is the trendy think to do! Because Ontario did it? Because it appears to "look proactive with the ignorant public"?

An excerpt from the mayor:
In an interview, mayor Anthony Housefather said Côte St. Luc will be referring to certain specific breeds in its bylaw.

"We will be targeting breeds," he said, "because we believe that there have been sufficient incidents in communities surrounding us that we've read about to warrant a concern.

Whoa! Knowing what we now know now with how many of the purebreds exist in Canada... where is the proof? Is it possible that 4 (yes 4) of the rarest breeds in Canada are responsible for "sufficient" incidents in Cote St. Luc?
The number 4 comes from Bull Terriers also being suggested to their list.

The group's definition of a Pit Bull included Pit Bulls, Terriers, Staffordshires, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, or "a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to any of the aforementioned dogs."

To give you a bit of history, Michael Bryant (former AG of Ontario who so proudly spouts his responsibility for banning "pitbulls" in Ontario) was overheard laughing and spouting he didn't include Bull Terriers cause Don Cherry owns one.
Newsflash, Don owns a purebred American Stafforshire Terrier and has for years. He at one time owned Bull Terriers but switched long before the ban in Ontario was a twinkle in Michael Bryant and Dalton McGuinty's eye.

Ok, back to the numbers..
Bull Terrier registration 2008      155
Still quite rare... my thinking cap is getting really tight now. How about yours?

Quote from Mayor Housefeather:
"There are municipalities across North America that have pro-actively adopted this bylaw and we feel that there are certain breeds that really need to be regulated. And we also noted that it would be unfair to simply ban those breeds."

If I may respectfully correct you,  targeting breeds, dogs or dog owners period is UNFAIR. Not only is it unfair it is discrimination! How about dealing with the more developed brain (so we think); dog owners? Wow, what an epiphany. Again, Calgary gives a model that has been in place for 2 decades and has high compliance of licensing and low rate of  "incidence".

"Some people already have dogs of that breed or people may really desire to own one," he added. "But we don't feel it's unfair on public property to say that those types of dogs need to be muzzled. And the question is what breeds those will be and council will determine that."

Well, either you have rocket scientists for councilors, or you are dead wrong. Nobody, not a purebred dog judge, animal control officer, scientist or anyone for that matter can identify a cross bred dog period. The purebreds are so rare, you may not even have one in within your city limits! Who are you targeting and what breed of dog again? The picture seems to be getting a little clearer now..

Last summer, a group of dog owners who are regular users of the City of Côte St. Luc's dog run asked council to take measures that would ban Pit Bulls from the run. Raising the issue during a meeting of council in July, Barry Klar said he was speaking on behalf of a delegation of dog owners who frequented the Mackle Road dog run.

"We the undersigned are in favour of creating a ban in which Pit Bulls will be prohibited from frequenting the dog park located on Mackle Road in Côte St. Luc," he said, reading the preamble from a petition gathered by the dog owners.

The group's definition of a Pit Bull included Pit Bulls, Terriers, Staffordshires, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, or "a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to any of the aforementioned dogs."

Klar said a pit bull ban was necessary at the Côte St. Luc dog run because "we have many small dogs" and "many small children who frequent the dog run and it's a concern for all of us and we're very fearful of a tragedy."

Wait, wait wait.... I think someone has finally hit the nail on its ugly head! FEAR is at the root of this! Oh my dogness, I think I have had an epiphany. Fear is something that has been nurtured for many years, in fact since the beginnings of man. It is a survival instinct hyper developed in some humans. Fear of dog, fear of big dogs, fear of black dogs, fear of young thugs, fear of people who look different, fear of falling, fear of succeeding, fear of dying, fear of terrorists, fear of God, jeepers.. name one thing not feared, of course exaserbated by the pro-fear mongering main stream media ahhhhhhhhh my head is exploding.

>Sigh<, I am sorry for your fear, but for dogs sake can we please try to follow some logical examples which are plainly laid out for you. The road to success is paved with gold. Jurisdictions only need to make a commitment to do the right thing. Implement a plan that works and targets those owners who are irresponsible. It is unnecessary and unfair to target people who are guilty by association. Hmmm sound familiar (Homeland Security)? Dogs are living, breathing, thinking, feeling animals. They are more alike as dogs than they are different by breed. They cannot be compared to some benign object or be lumped together by breed or lack thereof any more than people can be lumped together by race or compared to loose cannons. (my benign object of choice)

The last line of the article is:
Since 1990, the City of Winnipeg, Man. has had a by-law banning Pit Bulls.

Oy, talk about failure. You may as well invest all your money with Merril Lynch or Nortel.

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