I live on a wonderful street in White Rock. It’s full of nice neighbours and kids outside playing in yards, who get to enjoy growing up in a friendly and safe community.
Unfortunately, there’s been a change in our neighbourhood: a pit bull terrier moved in next door. I don’t have a problem with my neighbours, the dog’s owners, but I do have a problem with the threat that this dog breed poses to everyone on our street, as well as everyone who visits our street.
In 2015, pit bulls accounted for 84 per cent of dog-attack fatalities in the U.S. You don’t have to dig very far to find plentiful research confirming that dangerous dog breeds are a public safety hazard requiring regulation.
Last year in Henderson, N.C., six-year-old Joshua Strother was mauled and killed by his neighbour’s pit bull. Joshua is one of 28 others who lost their lives in pit bull attacks in 2015 – ranging in age from an 11-month-old infant to an 87-year-old man, both killed by family dogs.
When dangerous dogs are unregulated in our neighbourhoods, we are all at risk.
Provinces such as Ontario and Saskatchewan have dangerous-dog legislation in place for a reason. The research, accompanied by tragic stories, is there, and it confirms the very real threat that these dogs pose to our communities.
In fact, White Rock has its own history with the pit bull breed. In 2013, a four-year-old girl was attacked while at a friend’s home and was left with a large scar on her face. And no, the dog wasn’t owned by a criminal or a negligent owner; the girl’s mother described the owner as a good and stable person.
Despite calls for a ban, our community doesn’t have any regulations in place, not even for muzzling or secure enclosures unless the dog has shown aggression.
My question is this: do we really need to wait for a tragic incident like the fatal pit-bull attack in Montreal on June 8 before we enact legislation on dangerous breeds?
Three weeks ago, Christiane Vadnais lost her life to a pit bull. I don’t want a child on a White Rock street to be next.
Andrea Hedley, White Rock