GUEST COLUMNIST: Banning the ban on dangerous breeds

What’s my favorite example of irony? I’d have to say it’s that a country oozing infinite pride over its purported acceptance of diversity is participating in the mass persecution of a specific race. The race? Pit bulls.

In 2005, the Ontario provincial government  banned this dog breed. Pit bulls living in Ontario prior to the enactment of this law were, and continue to be, subjected to discrimination, suspicion, and unreasonable restrictions not forced upon any other “dangerous” dog breeds.

Pit bulls born in or brought into Ontario after the legislation was passed are killed. End of story.

This law has yet to prove, after six years in action, that it is effective. More importantly, it has yet to prove that it is not fundamentally anti-Canadian. As Canadians, there is no reason that we should allow this atrocity to continue. We must put an end to this unrighteous genocide.

Pit bulls are not the vicious baby killers our society makes them out to be. Until recently, they were one of the most beloved dog breeds. Yes, they were originally bred for their ferocity toward other dogs. But they were also bred for their gentleness towards humans. In Britain, they earned the nickname of the “nanny dog.” When trained properly, these dogs are repeatedly praised as one of the most loyal and loving breeds around.

The law in Ontario disregards both pit bull facts and common sense. It ignores the fact that, when brought up properly, pit bulls are as likely to attack as any other breed of dog. Instead, it automatically assumes that pit bulls in Ontario are on the brink of attacking everyone all the time, and kills them.

On top of this obvious slap in the face to the legal system (what happened to innocent until proven guilty?), the law often manages to ensnare other breeds and kill them too. Since pit bulls are a part of the “bully breed” category, any of these dogs, and any dogs that appear to be part of the category, are automatically suspected and victimized.

Under this law, my dog, a Boxer/Lab cross, would be dead by now. She might be stupid, but she’s not a killer. Unfortunately, she happens to look like one. Many Ontario pet owners have lost their dogs to this same type of misidentification.

Breed Specific Legislation is not only spectacularly misguided, but also totally useless. An accurate description of what’s happening in Ontario is that the government takes tax payer money, poisons it, then force feeds it to the pit bulls. The dogs die, the money is dissolved by stomach acid, and supposedly everybody wins.

The fact that these deaths have been proven by the SPCA to have had no effect whatsoever on lessening the frequency of dog bites in the province is an unfortunate side note better left far away from the public eye. Yes, you read that right. Ontario is killing pit bulls to stop dog attacks, and it’s not working. But they carry on anyways, hoping for a different outcome. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of insanity.

Aside from making Ontario look like a lunatic, this law is also insulting to Canadians in general.

A nation that prides itself on forward thinking, acceptance, and diversity is systematically annihilating a specific group based on inaccurate facts and ridiculous stereotypes.

Many European countries that had these laws are now repealing them because they do not work. For a country that is supposed to be on par with them, we must in this instance appear backwards in reasoning and medieval in practice.

Are pit bulls dangerous? Yes. But no more so than any other badly trained dog. They are the innocent victims of an ineffective witch hunt that only manages one thing: wasting money.

It’s time we Canadians put a stop to this nonsensical thinking. Write to Ontario MPs and encourage them to switch to Calgary’s method of dog control, a model that punishes the deed, not the breed, and has resulted in the city’s lowest level of dog bites in 25 years. Support Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo, who is working to repeal the BSL legislation with Hershey’s Bill. Take five minutes, go to stopk9profiling.com, and send a form letter to the Ontario government expressing your feelings about this genocide.

We do not have to live in Ontario to help heal the black eye it is putting on the face of Canada. Put pressure on the Ontario government, help the dogs, and help Canada actually earn the qualities it so far only pretends to have.

Courtney Reynoldson is currently studying history at the University of Victoria. Her family lives in Merritt.


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