Media Release - May 1, 2014Written by Yvette Van Veen
Ontario Dog Walk Reminds Of Missed Opportunity for Increased Safety
Dog lovers in Ontario are set to converge Saturday on Queen’s Park for The Million Mutt March to End B.S.L.. While many might recognize the event as a call to action to repeal breed banning in Ontario, event organizers from the Ontario “Pit Bull” Co-op and B.S.L. Advocacy and Awareness say there is a bigger message. They say that each year the ban continues is a missed opportunity at enacting effective strategies to reduce dog bites.
In 2005 the Ontario Liberal Government amended the Dog Owner’s Liability Act. As part of this controversial bill, the government passed a ban on a variety of rare breeds and mixed breed dogs with similar physical attributes.
The Million Mutt March will be out in full force reminding citizens and government officials that more effective solutions exist. Those opposed to breed bans contend that every tragedy confirms that the “Pit Bull” ban is not working. Says Angella Robbins, one of the Co-op’s spokespersons….
“Noted industry experts warned the government that breed bans would not work. More importantly, experts provided an alternate solution based on the successful City of Calgary model and the Courtney Trempe inquest. How long do we have to wait - how many tragedies do we have to read about - before the government hears what experts have said all along?”
Highlights of the Calgary model include a dramatic decrease in dog bites. Protesters of the ban want that same level of safety here in Ontario.
The Calgary model first seeks to prevent incidents through licensing, leash enforcement and education. No breed is exempt. Calgary holds all dog owners accountable and responsible. They do all this with zero taxpayer funding. By contrast, Ontario’s system focuses on punitive measures, applied selectively and inconsistently after an injury has occurred. Robbins goes on to point out...
“The Co-op’s goal is encourage laws that work. This means that all dog owners, regardless of breed, would be held to the same standard. Our focus is injury prevention. We are average Ontario families, dog owners, mothers and fathers with children of our own. Many of our members do not own banned breeds. We have one thing in common. We care about safety and equal treatment under the law for all dog owners.”
One thing is certain, the only issue is safety. The Breed Ban in Ontario is a sad story that illustrates what could have been. Had the Provincial Government embraced a Calgary style model instead of a ban, Ontario could have already been experiencing a dramatic drop in dog bites.
According to dog behaviour consultant Yvette Van Veen….
“The children are victims. The dogs are victims. The taxpayers are victims. The responsible owners falsely accused are victims. Simply put, breed bans do not work.”
As each year passes, event organizers and participants continue to remind Ontario residents that it’s not too late. The sooner we adopt a successful model, the sooner we can start seeing a drop in dog bite incidents.
Co-founder Ontario “Pit Bull” Co-op
rockapuppy @ yahoo.ca
Founder BSL Awareness
lynnmydogz @ gmail.com