Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

"Let's ban pit bulls" - Globe and Mail editorial

badger
August 31st, 2004, 08:26 AM
Let's ban pit bulls

UPDATED AT 8:29 AM EDT Tuesday, Aug 31, 2004

Another savage pit-bull mauling, another round of anguished hand-wringing. At 3 a.m. Saturday morning, a 25-year-old Toronto man was attacked by two pit bulls as he took them for a walk. "They started tearing into his feet and were working their way up his body," is how one police officer described the scene. "We had to stop them before they reached his vital organs or neck."

The miracle: No fewer than six neighbours rushed from nearby residences after hearing the victim scream for help. One tried to ward off the bloodthirsty dogs with a stick. Another used an old mattress as a shield.

The horror: Even after police shot the dogs, they kept trying to dispatch their chosen victim. One dog had to be smothered under the mattress, as well as shot, before he succumbed. For pit bulls, such behaviour is nothing new. When they're in a killing frenzy, they're virtually unstoppable. They suffer bullets, police batons and baseball bats without slowing. In some cases, their jaws don't unclench even in death. They must be pried off a victim, like the jaws of a steel trap.

Through it all, the earnest nostrums keep coming: better education for dog owners; special licences for owners of "temperamental" breeds; steeper penalties for owners of dogs with a history of unprovoked attacks; mandatory leashes and muzzles in built-up areas.

But there's another solution that would be more effective. Ban the breed.

Make their breeding, sale and ownership illegal under provincial law. Tear up Ontario's toothless Dog Owners' Liability Act, for example, and rewrite it with teeth. Insist that all pit bulls already in the community be registered with police. Insist that they be neutered. Insist that they be leashed and muzzled at all times when not enclosed in their owner's home, with harsh penalties for violators. Insist that, when existing pit bulls die, they not be replaced. Make the breed, to the greatest degree possible, extinct. Wipe them out.

Barbaric? So are the attacks. The latest is no isolated incident. It's part of a long-established pattern of horrible maulings by animals bred to fight and kill. The most famous Toronto case is that of Bandit, who in the summer of 2003 bit a three-year-old in the head, causing wounds that required 200 stitches. But Bandit -- who hasn't yet been put down, thanks to a misguided effort by the Toronto Humane Society to save his life -- is one of many. This summer, pit bulls or pit bull crosses have been involved in a series of serious attacks against other animals and people in Windsor, Ont. In Chatham, a mailman's ear was bitten off. There have recent been pit-bull maulings in New Zealand, South Africa, California and Texas.

Why are these beasts living among us? According to dog experts, pit bulls were just another innocuous domestic breed until the beginning of the last century, when they were selectively culled for their fighting ability. This culling continues to this day, illegally. As a result, pit bulls are hardwired to attack on a hair trigger, and to fight to the death. Though some pit-bull owners may be ordinary dog lovers, many are not. Many are hooligans, criminals and thugs who use the dogs as a tool of intimidation. The breed has become a fixture of organized crime, in particular, narcotics dens.

Enough. Ban them.

LavenderRott
August 31st, 2004, 09:28 AM
Why are these beasts living among us? According to dog experts, pit bulls were just another innocuous domestic breed until the beginning of the last century, when they were selectively culled for their fighting ability. This culling continues to this day, illegally. As a result, pit bulls are hardwired to attack on a hair trigger, and to fight to the death. Though some pit-bull owners may be ordinary dog lovers, many are not. Many are hooligans, criminals and thugs who use the dogs as a tool of intimidation. The breed has become a fixture of organized crime, in particular, narcotics dens.

This paragraph kind of sums it up, don't you think. Again Ban the deed, not the breed. Hooligans, criminals and thugs don't care if their dogs are illegal, they own them anyway. The only people hurt by breed bans are honest, law abiding citizens who have made every effort to make sure that their dogs are safe to be around.

It seems, on days like this, that the fight is getting harder. The press is winning, making all of our large dogs look like killing machines that have no place in society. Maybe I should just keep buying my lottery tickets so that I can buy that island in the sun. Then I could have my dogs and not worry about someone coming to take them away. (It would have to be an island close to a large civilized country - have to have my cable connection!)

Babs
August 31st, 2004, 02:15 PM
Kinda reminds you of the Holocaust, doesn't it?

Disgusting. Makes me sick that this came from the Globe and Mail. I once thought this was a noteworthy newspaper that researched material before going public.

sammiec
August 31st, 2004, 02:25 PM
I hate this paper, as well as the National Post. They are so biased it makes me sick. They NEVER show the other side, they are more blood thirsty then The Sun. It sickens me. This guy is a tool; he's probably never even met a pit bull. He's just another person that believe everything that they read.
You're very right LavR, that paragraph does sum it up, but the idiot doesn't understand what he just wrote.
Banning the breed with further the problem that already exists. This people do not see that IF they are banned they will become EVEN MORE appealing to these egotisitcal, irresponsible, and dangerous people.
They cannot seem to understand that IF these dogs are raised and trained properly, fixed and UTD they are just as lovable as a cocker spaniel - oh wait, those guys are notorious biters...but that's not appealing to some thug pushing drugs is it? :mad:

Babs
September 1st, 2004, 12:25 AM
I wrote the Editor and requested a retraction request, or at the very least, a correction.

.........................................

Dear Editors,

I am thoroughly disappointed that an esteemed newspaper such as yours would publish biased, unresearched and uninformed material as was found in today's Comment Section, "Lets ban Pit Bulls". While I appreciate that you wish to provide a venue for the public voice, I am concerned that your Editorial Team is not thoroughly researching facts found in the information of these pieces. Because you reach a nationwide audience daily, and the material found in your paper is assumed by most Canadians to be based upon fact, I believe it is your responsibility to ensure that all material published is truthful, and unbiased so as not to incite terror.

Given the dire situation as it stands today, I am taking the time to let you know how many Canadians like myself feel about your journalistic approach to dog bite stories. As I write this letter, many informed and concerned Canadians are finally taking a stand against reporting similar to this article published in your Comment section. We are contacting the media, government officials, and collaborating as a team to correct the mess that bad reporting like this has has been terrorizing Canadians with.

The responsibility your paper has to the public is immense. All "News" that you publish impacts the perspectives and opinions formed by the public. Because I know that your paper wants to publish factual material, I encourage you to read and act upon the following corrective material to this Article, and any that relate to it. In addition, I implore you to perform more thorough research before publishing nonsense. Certainly in this case, many lives are depending on it.

I have also taken the liberty to provide the following factual informative news lead to other agencies. It will be interesting to see who will be the first one to pick up the Torch of Truth, and investigate these stories further.

The topic of Breed Specific Legislation, (BSL) has become one of the hottest news topics lately. As a direct result of the growing number of news articles involving dog bites naming Pit Bulls, interest is mounting in cities throughout Ontario to pass breed specific legislation as a solution to reduce the number of Dog Bite incidents.

It is believed the mass hysteria originated through the spread of biased media reporting that projects generalized, misinterpreted dog breed attacks.

I have been conducting research for the past few months on this issue. I have been in contact with officials in Ottawa at the Canadian Federation of Human Societies (CFHS). I have made inquiries to Health Canada trying to find dog bite statistics in cities like Kitchener where BSL has been imposed for a few years.

What I have discovered is astonishing.

- Despite both my efforts and those made by the CFHS, Health Canada Dog Bite Reports from specific cities like Kitchener, where BSL has been in force since the late 1990's has not been made available. This begs the question... "why not?". It would appear something is being hidden, but perhaps not by Health Canada. The CFHS believes that Health Canada may not have accurate, or any reports provided by Kitchener since BSL was introduced. Officials at the CFHS have stated that very little, if no follow-up has been performed by officials to track bite incidents in Kitchener since the BSL was passed in the late 1990's. It is as if the problem was given a band-aid, and then forgotten.

This evidence is not surprising. They banned Pit bulls in England, yet the numbers of dog bites have increased by 25% in the year 2002-2003. They banned them in a small town in California and over 12,000 Pit Bulls were put to death, and yet the numbers of bites didn't change. This is probably also the case for Kitchener, and why the facts have not been made readily available.

- Esteemed Veterinary professionals have stated that it is impossible to correctly identify the breed of a dog, without knowing its breeding origin. Not even through DNA testing can this information be identified. Very few individuals are qualified to make an educated guess, and this very rarely includes Veterinarians because generally, they do not specialize in specific breeds. Police Officers have absolutely no qualifications necessary to identify dog breeds, and have mistaken breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier, calling them Pit Bulls during investigations of dog injuries. More information on the innacuracy of identifying breeds can be found at http://www.goodpooch.com/MediaBriefs/GPpitbulls.htm

- Many Media reports cite that Pit Bulls have "Locking Jaws", or "Powerful Jaws unlike other breeds". Neither of these points are based on any factual evidence, nor are they true. Pit Bulls are no different physiologically from any other type of dog. Dr. I Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, "To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms of 'pounds per square inch' can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles with no foundation in factual data." Furthermore, Dr. Brisbin states, "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of 'locking mechanism' unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier."

As a concerned humanitarian and animal lover, this issue touches me deeply. I personally see BSL as nothing more than a hysterical, holocaustic and generalized human act based on their fear of short haired dogs. BSL is not a solution. Dogs will continue to bite provided irresponsible ownership is permitted. The more breeds that are banned, the more hybrids that will be bred. It is inconcievable that some day all dog breeds will be banned... but with BSL in force, this is entirely possible for the future.

This public terror and hysteria surrounding Pit Bulls is the direct and absolute result of uninformed, unresearched and generally bad reporting by trusted sources. The fact that most dog bite news involving Pit Bulls could in many cases have been several other breeds of short haired dogs is even more disconcerting. In one recent case, the featured Pit Bull was actually a Jack Russell Terrier.

For your own amusement, see how quickly you can identify the Pit Bull image located on this page: http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html. It took me 13 tries before I could identify the right dog, and I've been following Pit Bull BSL for months.

The unfortunate result of this mass hysteria is that now we have elected city officials who will make decisions based on Public Opinion. Naturally, to keep their elected positions they need to do what the public wants. If that Public Opinion has been formed upon one-sided and inaccurate information, then legislation that will ensue is not only unfair, it is ignorant, unethical and unhumanitarian.

The media needs to report both sides of the story, and there is indeed a story here that needs to be investigated and revealed before major decisions are made. Specifically:

1) Why are statistics not being followed up on in Kitchener?

2) Why can't Health Canada provide City-specific statistics where BSL has been imposed?

3) Why are members of the Police and the Media allowed to incorrectly and assumptively state the breed of a dog without having prior authoritative consultations before publishing news about breed-specific dog attacks? Why aren't they looking for the story behind the owners of these dogs... where the true problem lies?

4) Myths about Pit Bulls like "Locking Jaws" and "Powerful Jaws" need to be dispelled. Here are a couple links with solid facts regarding Pit Bull Myths: http://www.austinlostpets.com/kidskorner/2October/pitbull.htm
http://members.aol.com/bstofshw/facts.html
http://www.badrap.org/rescue/myths.cfm

I would appreciate if you could publish a retraction of this and all related articles that are not based on fact, but instead are reflections of the terrorization imposed by uninformed media. I truly hope that you are interested in pursuing and publishing the truth by following the stories behind the points I have mentioned within this email.

Sincerely,

Concerned Animal Rights Advocate

Cinnabear
September 1st, 2004, 12:28 AM
Excellent Babs. :) Hopefully they'll print it with a retraction.

Babs
September 1st, 2004, 12:31 AM
Doesn't hurt trying, but knowing human nature... people hate admitting they're wrong :(

I've contacted City, The Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star with similar letters. City being the exception in that they're the only ones who so far, have not published biased material and instead, have published several opinions.

I'm hoping that the "fight to stay on journalistic cutting edge" will inspire at least one of them to follow up, and publish the truth.