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EDITORIAL: Burnaby right to keep pit bulls muzzled
Burnaby has chosen to keep pit bulls muzzled.
And that’s a good thing.
After a vigorous debate at City Hall, where council heard from many speakers who didn’t want the pit bull-type breeds singled out, council chose to keep the 11-year-old rule to keep pits muzzled in public, and also raised the fees and fines for pit bulls and other “vicious dogs.”
Critics said educating dog owners is the better route. As with the gun control debate, they argued, it’s not the dog but how effectively it’s been reared by its owner.
Some questioned the dog-bite statistics, saying it was unfair to compare individual breeds to pit bulls, which is in fact a broad term that applies to several breeds such as Staffordshire terrier, American Pit Bull terrier and the American bulldog.
Most pit bulls in this city are well-raised, friendly, playful and gentle.
But the heart of the matter is the size and strength of the pit bull jaw.
All dogs have the potential to bite, and something as simple as accidentally stepping on the paw of an older dog could prompt a vicious reaction.
We think little of the small, high-strung dog who makes a run at our heels as we walk down a path at the park, only to be pulled back on its leash before it takes a nip.
If that dog were 40 pounds with a mouth like a vise that opens up almost to its ears, we would think differently.
City council rightly pointed out that, despite the large turnout of people opposed to the city singling out the pit bull, there is a silent majority among city residents who support the city’s approach.
Today, however, it’s not unusual to visit a park and see a pit bull without its headgear.
As with any bylaw, the question is whether it will be enforced.