May 21st, 2005, 02:05 PM
The article I am posting is an older one - from 2004 - but I wonder if anyone from the Maritimes saw an ATV News segment that profiled a family who are pleading for the life of their pit bull - a dog who has never been vicious at all and has the support of the neighbourhood. Guysborugh County in Nova Scotia has a very stringent bylaw which bans pit bulls and rottweilers. Under the law, this family will be required to kill their dog b/c no dogs of that breed at all are allowed in the County. They have appealed but do not seem to be sucessful.
This is the older article:
This seems even more draconian than the Ontario law which at least allows the breeds currently "owned" to stay alive!!
I also thought the StatsCan figures for who gets bitten by dogs (based on reports from emergency departments in hospitals across the country) quite instructive:
Injuries associated with dog bites and dog attacks were sustained most frequently by 5-9 year olds (28.5%). Of all injuries related to dog bites and dog attacks, 57.9% were to males. Injuries occurred most often in the summer, 37.7%, and most frequently between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m., (32.7%). Most injuries occurred at the victim's own home, 34.2% or other home, 30.3%. The majority of injuries occurred when the patient had no direct interaction with the dog, 28.9%. Injuries that required advice only or minor treatment accounted for 57.9% of patients, while 36.8% of patients needed medical follow-up after leaving the emergency department and 4.5% were admitted to hospital. Overall, the most frequent types of injury were bites, 73.1%, and the body part most often affected was the face, 40.5%.
May 24th, 2005, 10:10 PM
Tuesday, May 24, 2005 The Halifax Herald Limited
Let old pit bull stay with family
By RICK CONRAD / Petpourri
WHEN Belinda gave Peter the old heave-ho last week, it was comforting to see that at least he had a pal waiting for him back home in Pictou County.
MacKay's buddy Jack, a gorgeous Bernese mountain dog, was there for him in his hour of need, as pictured on front pages around the country.
It made me think of how, even in these personally politically charged times, a man (or a woman) can always rely on his dog (or cat or bunny or gecko) to listen to him - and to pose for a great photo op.
But it also made me wonder how that photo of the deputy leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition looking pensive in his galoshes in a potato field would have been received if Jack had been a pit bull.
You're probably thinking, OK, this is a bit of a cynical stretch. But think a little more about it.
If Peter had picked a pit for a pet, do you think that picture would have had such an impact? Do you think it would have made for a primo photo op at all?
In our society, pit bulls are seen as evil attack machines. Never mind that the breed is no more naturally prone to unprovoked assaults than any other dog. A pit bull raised and loved properly is a huge goof, just like a yellow Lab or a Bernese.
We still love to hate pit bulls, even though numerous other breeds of dogs have been involved in attacks on kids, adults and other animals.
It's a visceral thing, just like our warm and fuzzy reaction to that photo of Peter and Jack (though I think Jack had more to do with the warm and fuzziness of it).
Our irrational fear of certain dogs also allows ridiculous, unthinking bylaws to be enacted, like the one in Guysborough that will strip a family of its loving 13-year-old pit bull.
Just like Peter needed Jack, the Camerons of Country Harbour don't want to lose their loyal family member.
According to a story in The Guysborough Journal (www.guysboroughjournal.com), Zeus has lived in the town problem-free for his whole life.
But this month, the municipality told the family that Zeus has to go.
I could understand if this adorable guy were actually fierce or dangerous or had a history of attacks. But he's lived a cleaner life than most humans.
"He's never hurt anyone. He never leaves the yard," Marilyn Cameron told The Journal.
The family is understandably devastated. Despite help from Coun. Bradley MacLeod and 10 letters of support from residents, Guysborough council is determined to break up Zeus and the Camerons.
Their lives have been topsy-turvied by a municipal bylaw that makes any pit bull, Staffordshire, American Staffordshire, Rottweiler, or mix thereof, canina non grata. These breeds of dogs are considered fierce and dangerous in the town, even if they have had no history of attacks, roaming or being a nuisance. If you love, or "harbour," one of these dogs, the town has given itself the right to seize him and take him away.
Despite spirited and well-argued opposition from folks like Janet Chernin of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada, the town added Rottweilers to the list of banned dogs last year, just because.
At least Rottie families together at the time get to stay together, but not so for pit bulls and Staffies.
Just like Zeus and the Camerons, they risk being ripped from a loving home and placed in a strange place, far away from their lifelong comfort and stability.
It's a classic example of how responsible dog owners and their loved ones are punished by such discriminatory legislation.
And it's a sure way to create a problem where none existed before and turn a once-loving and gentle animal into one scared, confused and potentially dangerous pup.
But hey, the politicians don't care. They won't have to deal with the problem they created because that dog won't be in their municipality anymore, having been either shipped away or destroyed.
Gee, if this is an example of the progressive, thoughtful lawmaking in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, I'll stay away, thanks.
Willard and Marilyn Cameron say they'll go to jail rather than give up their pooch kid.
"They're not taking (Zeus)," Mr. Cameron told the Journal. "I don't believe in this 'genocide' against a breed of dog."
I think it would be great if all dog lovers and small-minded-politics haters told these councillors exactly what they think of this stunningly stupid decision.
Contact information for the warden and councillors is on the municipality's website: (www.municipality. guysborough.ns.ca).
But just to get you started, here's how you can reach out and touch Warden Lloyd Hines, by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (902) 533-2000 (home) or (902) 533-3904 (work).
As Peter MacKay showed us this week, our pets are always there for us. Now, it's time for us to stick up for dogs and responsible owners by letting the politicians in Guysborough know exactly what we think.
Rick Conrad is The Chronicle Herald's education reporter.
May 25th, 2005, 05:39 AM
I'm pretty sure this is the same family I posted about last week.