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Positive (?) editorial from Der Star ...

Faceless
April 17th, 2005, 12:38 AM
THE TORONTO STAR

Apr. 16, 2005. 01:00 AM

Fighting to save `a lovely little dog'

BOB HEPBURN

Julie King describes herself as "just a 905 soccer mom" who never wanted to become an activist fighting politicians, organizing demonstrations at Queen's Park and lobbying the media.

"Please reconsider and give us a chance, even if it is just 10-15 minutes, to attend one of your upcoming meetings and introduce a breed that may become extinct in Ontario," King said recently in an e-mail to me.

King was writing in protest of the Star's editorials that supported Ontario's coming ban on pit bulls. In particular, she was upset one editorial had specifically mentioned Staffordshire bull terriers, one of the dogs cited in the legislation. King and her family have three Staffordshires.

"An important side issue that was missed by most people, including your editorial board, is that the Staffordshire bull terrier is a lovely little dog that does not belong in any breed ban," she wrote.

Since the pit bull ban issue arose last summer, the Star has been besieged by readers either trying to convince us to change our editorial stand or to reaffirm our support for the Ontario government decision to ban the dogs.

Since our initial editorial, we have declined to meet with advocates on either side of this emotional issue.

But Julie King was different. She wouldn't give up. So I agreed to meet her at the home of neighbours Holly and Tony Marshall, who also have a Staffordshire. I wanted to learn how she became involved in a grassroots campaign to fight the ban and how the campaign is being conducted.

The ban goes into effect Aug. 29, with a 60-day phase-in period. Under the law, owners must have their existing pit bulls spayed or neutered, and leashed and muzzled while in public. It also sets fines of $10,000 for owners of dangerous dogs and allows for jail terms of up to six months.

Ontario Attorney-General Michael Bryant introduced the legislation, the first province-wide measure in Canada, after a series of vicious dog attacks.

One pollster says the ban is supported by up to 90 per cent of voters.

As Maggie, a dog that "drools and snores," slept in Tony Marshall's lap, King tells of how she first learned of the ban when she saw a headline in the Star that read: "Pit Bull Terror."

"I couldn't believe it," she says, "because Staffies are so gentle. There's never been a problem with them in Canada, and yet they wanted to ban my dogs, to make me feel like a criminal when I walked down the street."

Interjects Holly Marshall: "We've had people scream at us for walking our dog. I'm afraid I might lose Maggie just because some neighbour says there is a problem. I've gotten physically sick at times because it makes you feel as if you have an attack dog."

King contacted the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada and offered to help. Now she spends 30 hours a week trying to save the dogs and to get the entire ban tossed out.

"Who am I? I'm a mom and a small business owner — and I'm facing the entire government and the media. It's like David and Goliath," she says.

She spends her days writing letters to friends and opinion makers. She helped organize a protest last November at Queen's Park where 36 Staffies and their owners met politicians. She sends e-mails to Bryant and has talked to his staff, but never has received a response directly from him.

King has read all the official transcripts and prepared summaries from public hearings held across the province, showing who was for the bill, who was against and what were the main arguments made by experts and government agencies to back their positions.

Passionately, she argues the real problem is irresponsible owners, who should face stiffer fines and penalties for dangerous behaviour by their dogs. She also says there is no such animal as a "pit bull," and that the legislation's weak definition will make enforcement difficult, if not impossible.

But she is losing the fight.

"The government had public relations savvy; we didn't," she says. "We didn't know how to tackle the issues."

Still, she and other Staffordshire owners aren't giving up. With other groups, they have hired prominent lawyer Clayton Ruby to challenge the law on constitutional grounds as soon as it goes into effect Aug. 29.

Until then, Julie King is planning more protests, trying to raise more funds — and writing more letters.

twodogsandacat
April 17th, 2005, 12:57 AM
Complaints have been filed. The poll? Whom and Where. They are guilty of irresponible journalism if they can't produce that poll.

Losing the fight? Hey it hasn't started yet. When the law is in effect then it can be challenged. Let there be no doubt that it will be.

Overall - not a very good article.

Prin
April 17th, 2005, 02:04 AM
Since our initial editorial, we have declined to meet with advocates on either side of this emotional issue. Well THAT's good journalism. Biased to one side and then don't meet with ANY side?

By the way, what is a "905 soccer mom"? Do you really segregate by area code or is that just a lame stereotype? Like did the rich 'burbs get their own separate area code or what?

chico2
April 17th, 2005, 09:37 AM
Prin,actually you are right,we people living in an area around Toronto do have a seperate area code,416 is the Toronto area-code,I am a 905'er but certainly not a"soccermom" :D
I was reading the editorial and I thought it was a good description of the Staffordshire Terrier and his/her temperament.

babyrocky1
April 17th, 2005, 11:22 AM
I appreciate that Julie King is doing so much for the staffie bull, but sometimes it can seem devisive to the general struggle. We are already in such a minority that if we don't sound as if were 100% together on this it only weakens us. If people who do not even have a so called pit bull type dog are on our side [against the whole ban} then I think all of us who own dogs that will be affected need to be careful not to try and separate our particular dog from the ban and close our eyes to the rest of them. On the other hand, anything that questions the validity of part of the ban immediately discredits the whole ban, especially since the whole issue of the staffie bull," the nanny dog", was certainly brought up time and again in committee. I also thought that Julie King spoke against the entire ban earlier so it could just be the slant that this particular journalist took.

babyrocky1
April 17th, 2005, 11:27 AM
The poll must have been taken in the Liberal caucus and they still couldnt get 100%.

twodogsandacat
April 17th, 2005, 11:54 AM
I appreciate that Julie King is doing so much for the staffie bull, but sometimes it can seem devisive to the general struggle. We are already in such a minority that if we don't sound as if were 100% together on this it only weakens us. If people who do not even have a so called pit bull type dog are on our side [against the whole ban} then I think all of us who own dogs that will be affected need to be careful not to try and separate our particular dog from the ban and close our eyes to the rest of them. On the other hand, anything that questions the validity of part of the ban immediately discredits the whole ban, especially since the whole issue of the staffie bull," the nanny dog", was certainly brought up time and again in committee. I also thought that Julie King spoke against the entire ban earlier so it could just be the slant that this particular journalist took.

The SBTCC is part of the banned aid coalition. They will fight the fight for all the banned breeds (???). They are raising their own funds, which they are contributing to the cause. There is no way that they could raise enough to fight this on their own. The pooled resources of all these groups are necessary...Clayton Ruby isn’t cheap and this is definitely a case of needing the best.

Still as you said this inclusion weakens the bill and as a sci fi fan I know that once the shields are weakened...that spaceship is about to blow up before the next commercial.

Also with the recent dog attack in York Region (Rotti X) an interviewee said that Rottis should be added to the bill. If this isn’t enough to scare any responsible Rotti, Doberman and any Mastiff owner into contributing I don’t know what is. They will be next despite what Bryant says.

We must all stick together. Pit owners, mixed breed owners, those that have dogs that ‘may’ look like a pit mix to the ignorant.

Alison saw a drooling Mastiff in a car the other day. As she walked into the pet store she asked who owned the Mastiff. A woman spun around defensively and said “I do”. Alison looked at her and realized that they too may be feeling the heat. “He needs a bib” Alison said.

A Dob at the pet store left the car the other day as the owner of a greyhound approached the front door. That dob was up for a fight but the owner managed to grab him. As people switch to other breeds there will be calls for the expansion of BSL.

Alison doesn’t believe half of what I tell her as far as our dog is concerned. She doesn’t believe the bill will affect her (us). When I tell her that the majority of co-workers say ‘but you don’t own a pit’ she says ‘see’. When I tell her that one says he is part pit she says ‘but he’s an idiot he couldn’t tell the difference between a Beagle and a Coon Hound’. Her words not mine but she normally sees the good in people while I see the potential for the worst – I know there are some very vocal idiots. Wait until the bill is law…we will see a lot more converts to the anti BSL side as owners of mixed breeds start to get harrassed on a daily basis.

Now, more than ever, we must focus our efforts. Please see the link to the SBTCC's Anti-BSL Action plan above, and consider donating directly to our legal defense fund or purchasing items through our legal defense fund store (above). The SBTCC is a member of the Banned Aid Coalition, which will be mounting a constitutional challenge to the changes to DOLA introduced by Bill 132. Attorney Clayton Ruby has been retained to oversee the challenge.
Source: http://www.staffordcanada.com/

babyrocky1
April 18th, 2005, 09:16 AM
I personally dont think that Bryant himself, or the province, will ban more breeds. Only because he is a coward and likes to pick on the smallest minority possible, but I do think that the "popularity" of this thing, and I shudder when I use the word has created a climate, evident by other incidents, where they quote observers saying breed X should be included in the ban, has alot of people thinking that banning breeds is the status quo. More breed bans may be coming but I think that Bryant will expect municipalities to do the rest of the dirty work.
Yes I agree other dog owners will and are coming onside but without a successful legal challenge it may not be enough. At first I thought that when the media started to report other breeds of dogs getting into trouble that people would see it as we do, not a problem with a dog BREED. I thought they would finally see what a flawed law the bill was, but it does seeem as though they react more like they feel the bill doesn't go far enough. :( :(

babyrocky1
April 18th, 2005, 10:02 AM
...and another thing, speaking of fund-raising, I am still trying to get some people on board for this thing in August. I do have a few folks from the board, but my vision of this is not a small event I think that considering it is Augustthat the space is booked for [just before the August 29th implementattion date] we will have an excellent opportunity to get alot of press, however, if we get press and don't have a sophisticated, well organised event, we will look bad! It would be better not to have it. I can ask people I know from the Arts community and I havedone that, but the genesis of this should come from the "dog people" Others may donate work but this should be, in my opinion, very political. The art show should just be a componant. We still need some sort of musical and performing arts or even just a dance, social event, to co-oincide with the art show, and I was thinking that we could ask one of the groups who do the Safety with kids and dogs workshops to do a thing with us, as part of the whole event. We would come across looking like were "walking the walk" Show people what we are for! They already know what weare against. SUGGESTIONS WELCOME

seeker
April 19th, 2005, 10:42 PM
More like 90% were against it . Like some one said we are not losing the battle ,the battle can't even begin until bill 132 goes into effect on Aug 31.

seeker
April 19th, 2005, 10:46 PM
...and another thing, speaking of fund-raising, I am still trying to get some people on board for this thing in August. I do have a few folks from the board, but my vision of this is not a small event I think that considering it is Augustthat the space is booked for [just before the August 29th implementattion date] we will have an excellent opportunity to get alot of press, however, if we get press and don't have a sophisticated, well organised event, we will look bad! It would be better not to have it. I can ask people I know from the Arts community and I havedone that, but the genesis of this should come from the "dog people" Others may donate work but this should be, in my opinion, very political. The art show should just be a componant. We still need some sort of musical and performing arts or even just a dance, social event, to co-oincide with the art show, and I was thinking that we could ask one of the groups who do the Safety with kids and dogs workshops to do a thing with us, as part of the whole event. We would come across looking like were "walking the walk" Show people what we are for! They already know what weare against. SUGGESTIONS WELCOME


What about a "save the dog" concert of some sort ? There must be someone on here that knows someone in show biz .
Try to get Don Cherry involved .

babyrocky1
April 20th, 2005, 07:36 PM
A Save the dog event is just what I mean. I think we should actually use Pit Bull in the title of the event though, just because in August it would grab headlines again and since one of the primary functions would be to raise awareness and hopefully get some facts into the news for a change. The other function of course is to raise money for Clayton Ruby. If someone is or knows people who can do something musically that would be great. I think what needs to happen now though is for us to form an organizing committee. Do you guys think that I should be posting this somewhere else on the board? Or should I maybe post it outside of this site somewhere. I havae called Tammy from advocates from the underdog but theres not much she can do for Toronto, they are very busy on there own end and have done at least two successful fundraisers. It seems like a waste not to do soemthing when the space is here for free.(I did have someone from here volunteer to be the DJ but I havent heard from you, so if your still interested please pm me!) :thumbs up

seeker
April 20th, 2005, 07:49 PM
Advocates is part of the Bannedaid Coalition . Maybe bannedaid could do something in this area with "our" help . They might have other ideas too.
But maybe just posting ideas here will spark someone to come up with a brilliant plan.
Come on people , IDEAS even if you think they are silly .

Schwinn
April 21st, 2005, 11:04 AM
A pittie kissing booth?

seeker
April 21st, 2005, 07:29 PM
A pittie kissing booth?

We have a female , she is 11 years old and all though her life has been reffered to as the "lickin' dog by any kids that have visited . She never stops once they let her . We could line the kids up like they were going to visit Santa.

babyrocky1
April 21st, 2005, 07:46 PM
my dog kisses so much youd need a booth to get away from him LOL But that would be a cute photo! A pittie in a kissing booth I mean.