Thursday, May 26, 2011

Montreal boroughs are considering a breed ban

The Montreal boroughs of Riviere-des-Prairies/Pointe-aux-Trembles and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve are considering a breed ban. 

I wrote a letter to the Mayor, Real Menard, of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. 

       Dear Mayor Menard

First, I would like to say I want to give you the benefit of the doubt that you have been exposed to some facts. There is plenty of information debunking the age old myths surrounding support for breed bans. I am not going to waste my time or yours going into a long winded tirade. The facts support that;1. "pitbulls" do not exist. It is a slang term for a generic shape of dog. 2. The purebreds American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier are extremely rare in Canada. There are CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) breed registry numbers to support this. There are on average only 4 litters of American Staffordshire Terriers across Canada yearly. In Ontario there are less than 1000 dogs (purebreds) combining the American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terriers together. 3. Breed bans do nothing to prevent dog attacks. This has been proven countless times which has resulted in repealing of breed bans in many countries, cities and jurisdictions globally.Propaganda is the only support for breed bans. Dangerous dogs exist in all breeds and cross breeds of dogs. It is not a breed or dog issue it is an owner issue.Calgary has had much success for 20+ years with its Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw. It targets irresponsible owners, has a 95% plus compliance of dog licensing and state of the art facility that hosts the Pound, Humane Society and Animal Control working simultaneously to protect the community. They reward responsible pet ownership and deal with those who are not. The program is revenue neutral and the best part is the citizens of Calgary are onside and support the bylaw because it allows pet owners and non pet owners to live peacefully. We have been living a nightmare of the dog ban here in Ontario for the past 6 yrs. Family pets have been taken from good homes based on how their dog looks. Innocent people have been stripped of their family pet and life savings trying to save their dog's life. The heartache is vast and the results are grim. People continue to be bitten and sometimes severely injured by all breeds of dogs. Breed bans have nothing to do with behavior and everything to do with how a dog looks. Breed bans are a draconian, barbaric legislation that target innocent people and innocent dogs. Real criminals don't care one bit about whether they are breaking the law much less what breed they own. Are there dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners? Yes of course there are and there are ways to deal with owners who pose a threat to the community. Trying to define a cross bred dog (which is impossible) or target 3 very rare breeds does nothing to deal with that threat. 95% of all dog bites occur at home with the family pet or an adjacent property. Most bites happen because of lack of training and socialization of the family pet. Encouraging people to train/contain and socialize their dog goes a long way. Providing an environment that encourages people to be responsible works wonders.It is possible you just haven't been exposed to the facts but somehow I doubt that. The facts are as easy to find as the myths. Do the right thing. Using common sense and fair and equal treatment under the law gets you many more brownie points as a politician than following the propaganda. Do the right thing for Yarmouth and invite Bill Bruce from Calgary to speak to your council. He speaks globally about the Calgary model and how to implement it in your city. Breed bans are purely based on how your dog looks not the behavior. This is the fatal flaw behind such legislation. Thanks for your consideration,

Here is the response from Mayor Menard;

Montréal, le 25 mai 2011 

Madame, Monsieur, 
J’ai bien reçu votre courriel et je vous remercie de prendre le temps de m’écrire afin de me partager vos commentaires concernant les chiens mordants. 
Nous partageons votre souci d’agir afin de protéger les citoyens, en particulier nos enfants, des morsures que peuvent causer des chiens laissés sans surveillance ou ayant un comportement violent et agressif. Trop souvent, nous voyons dans nos journaux un enfant ou un adulte qui a été mordu, parfois défiguré, par la morsure d’un chien. Cette situation est intolérable. Aujourd’hui ce sont les pitbulls qui sont visé, hier c’étaient les boxers. Il y a de plus des maîtres qui élèvent expressément leurs animaux à devenir violents et agressifs. 
Selon le groupe Citoyens Responsables de leurs Animaux de Compagnie (CRAC), 84% des chiens mordants sont maltraités, négligés ou victimes de cruauté; 82% ne sont pas en laisse, 78% ne sont pas des animaux de compagnie et 2,6 fois plus de chiens non-stérilisés sont susceptibles de mordre. L’Ombudsman de Montréal a d’ailleurs effectué une enquête approfondie à ce sujet en 2008 et conclu que les chiens de toutes races sont susceptibles d’avoir un comportement répréhensible. 
Selon ces enquêtes, je ne suis pas convaincu que notre arrondissement doive interdire une race précise de chiens puisque certains s’empresseront alors de dresser à l’attaque d’autres races de chiens. 
Le Règlement de l’arrondissement qui s’applique dans ce cas est le C-10 sur le contrôle des chiens et autres animaux que vous trouverez sur le site internet de l’arrondissement. Il n'y a pas de dispositions particulières visant les pitbulls. Lorsqu'un chien est considéré comme une nuisance, il y a des recours possibles qui peuvent aller jusqu'à retirer l'animal s'il représente un danger public. Le Règlement spécifie ce qu'on entend par "nuisance" et qui peut intervenir en pareille situation. Les chiens doivent avoir une licence; donc s'il y a un problème avec un animal malfaisant, c’est le propriétaire qui est avisé. Les mêmes droits s'appliquent pour tout le monde. 
Vous pouvez compter sur moi et mes collègues afin de suivre la situation de près. Si notre règlement nécessite des modifications, nous prendrons nos responsabilités pour protéger nos citoyens. 
Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, mes salutations distinguées. 

Réal Ménard
Maire Mercier—Hochelaga-Maisonneuve 

I had a friend translate since I am not fluent in French anymore. 


I received your email and I thank you for taking the time to write to me to share your comments about dogs biting.
Too often we see in our newspapers a child or adult who has been bitten, sometimes disfigured by a dog bite. This situation is intolerable. Today it's the pit bulls that are the concern, yesterday was the boxers. There are many masters who raise their animals specifically to become violent and aggressive. We share your desire to act to protect citizens, especially our children, against bites caused by dogs left unattended or with violent, aggressive behavior. 
(CARC), 84% of dogs who bite are abused, neglected or victims of cruelty, 82% are not leashed, 78% are not pets and non-neutered dogs are 2.6 times more likely to bite. The Montreal Ombudsman moreover carried out a thorough investigation on this subject in 2008 and found dogs of all breeds are likely to have bad behavior. Not just one group. 
According to these investigations, I am not convinced that our district should ban a particular breed of dogs since then others will rush to attack other dog breeds.
The Rules of the district that applies in this case is C-10 Control of dogs and other animals found on the website of the Borough. There are no special provisions for pit bulls. When a dog is considered a nuisance, there are remedies that can go up to remove the animal if it represents a public danger. The regulations specify what is meant by "nuisance" and can intervene in such situations. Dogs must be licensed, so if there is a problem with a mischievous animal, the owner is notified. The same rights apply to everyone.
You can count on me and my colleagues to monitor the situation closely. If our policy requires changes, we take our responsibility to protect our citizens.

Madam, Yours faithfully.

Here's hoping the Boroughs take the high road and do the right thing. Fair and equal treatment under the law is the right way. I think Mayor Menard for his response.

Montreal SPCA takes firm stand against breed bans

Hats off to the Montreal SPCA for taking a strong stand against banning breeds in Montreal. 

Pit bull restrictions a deal breaker for new SPCA contracts
MONTREAL - Stray and abandoned animals in three Montreal boroughs risk being sent to the controversial Berger Blanc pound instead of the SPCA if those communities don’t ditch their anti-pit bull bylaws, the SPCA is warning.
Outremont, Lachine and St. Laurent have pound contracts with Montreal’s SPCA, where homeless pets are reclaimed, adopted or euthanized.
But the SPCA is making pit bull bans or other restrictions on the breed in those boroughs a deal-breaker in talks to renew contracts for its services.
The ultimatum comes with Montreal at a turning point on the issue of animal control.

Read more: 

Monday, May 16, 2011

One of Micheal Vick's former dogs gets keys to Dallas

A while back Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway gave Falcon's quarterback and (dog fighter/brutal abuser) the keys to the city of Dallas. Mayor Tom Leppert quickly responded that he did not approve nor did he condone the decision to give Vick the keys to the city.  

The tables turned this week when Mel, an American Pitbull Terrier that was seized and rescued from Bad Newz Kennels (Micheal Vick's kennel), was given an edible key to the city. Mel was adopted by Dallas radio personality Richard Hunter.

Read the whole story here.

Another touchdown for the good guys!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Words of encouragement from Parkdale/Highpark MPP Cheri DiNovo

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo posted a nice note of encouragement today on facebook that I thought I would share with everyone.

From Cheri DiNovo:

Dog lovers: Thank you for your thousands of emails calling for the overturning of Breed Specific Legislation. I feel confidant there's enough support at QP we can win this after October the 6th. Keep up your activism!

Thank you Cheri for your words of encouragement. This has been a long, difficult and winding road. It is difficult for me (I'll speak for myself) to recall what it was like when we dog owners actually had protection under the law in this province. Feels like a distant memory of what it felt like to not have to look over your shoulder hoping you could fly under the radar of ignorance for another day.. Hoping you won't be that person who gets targeted today...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yarmouth put good common sense to work

Kudos to Yarmouth! 

No breed specific legislation, council told

The letters, the emails and the public presentations all carried a similar theme and it is one that the Town of Yarmouth says it has heard loud and clear – do not include breed specific legislation (BSL) in any new town dog bylaw.
At a May 9 public meeting held to solicit input on a draft dog bylaw, Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney said on this point everyone seems to be in agreement.

You may view the numerous letters on the city website.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

City of Yarmouth, NS considering a draconian breed ban plus restrictive pet limit

Provinces and municipal governments must understand the only way to succeed in curbing dog bites is to target the owner not the dog. Dangerous dogs exist in all breeds. It is pointless to target a dog by appearance. The owner must be held accountable for the behavior of his/her dog regardless of breed.

Highlights for the proposed backward legislation include: 

a.. * Limiting the number of dogs, ALL DOGS to 2. If you have more, they must be relinquished to the municipality for destruction. There are no provisions for grandfathering in ‘extra’ dog, nor can you relinquish the dogs to a rescue. 

b.. * there are no provisions for breeders, no provisions for shelters or foster homes. 

c.. * Banning several breeds. 

d.. * requiring insurance for owning a ‘dangerous breed’. 

e.. * requiring a warning sign outside your home to designate you as an owner of a ‘dangerous dog’. 

f.. * If your dog bites, it is automatically designated as a ‘dangerous dog’ no matter what the situation. 

g.. * If you own a dangerous dog you must show that you have an enclosed locked area for the dog, inspection of same can happen at any time without warning. 

h.. * dangerous breeds and dogs designated as dangerous must be leashed and muzzled whenever off their owners property. 

i.. * they can shoot on sight any dog acting ‘fierce or dangerous’.

Locals, please attend the public meeting on May 9, 6:30 PM, at Town Hall Council Chambers, 400 Main Street.

Here is a link to the proposed bylaw.

IF YOU CHOSE to send an email to the city council, please be polite. This town needs tourists and as any one of you might be a potential tourist dollar in the future, you have the right to forewarn them that their town can easily be bypassed should they chose to legislate BSL.

For your convenience here is a list of email contacts for Yarmouth council. ; ;; ; ; 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Step to permit service dogs in Denver not nearly large enough.

Denver took the step to permit "pitbulls" as service dogs but I hope they don't think they are stopping there.. 

If the so called "pitbull" is stable enough to allow as a service dog, they are certainly stable enough to be a family pet! In one's logical mind the decision to allow "pitbulls" as service dogs could be seen to those of us on the outside as a strong step that the Denver city council is working actively to repeal the ban overall, and replace it with fair and equal treatment under the law. A bylaw that targets and punishes irresponsible dog owners of all breeds but rewards dog owners that are responsible. A law that targets behavior instead of LOOKS!

From the Denver Daily News today, it doesn't sound as though that is what they had in mind?

Is the city twisting the truth?

Pit bull advocates say city is only protecting itself with new policy for disabled people

Peter Marcus, DDN Staff Writer

Monday, May 2, 2011

City officials have adopted a written policy permitting pit bulls as service dogs, though no notice was given to the public, and advocates believe the city is twisting the truth to protect itself legally.
Pit bull advocates say the city quietly adopted the written policy because it did not want to raise flags to its noncompliance with federal disabilities law.
The Animal Law Center is already suing the city over its ban on pit bulls, arguing that not providing an exemption for service dogs violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
City officials confirmed on Friday that there is now a written policy. Animal Control adopted the policy on April 5th, according to a court document filed on April 15th in U.S. District Court. 
Animal Control Director Doug Kelley says the city has always allowed disabled people to possess pit bulls as service dogs. He said there simply wasn’t a written policy established.
“We have always allowed pit bulls as service dogs,” he said. “I think what they’re talking about is it was memorialized in writing.”
But pit bull advocates believe the city is attempting to talk itself out of being in violation of federal law. They point out that the question was originally sent to the City Council to take action, but that the City Council rejected the exemption in December by a vote of 9-4.
City attorneys immediately made it clear that because of the lack of an exemption the city was in violation of federal law and at the mercy of any lawsuit filed.
The Animal Law Center filed its lawsuit on behalf of disabled Denver residents and commuters who had been rejected by the city for having a pit bull as a service dog. The law firm had to go as far as to obtain a signed joint stipulation stating that the city wouldn’t go after any pit bulls that are considered service dogs.
Read on...