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The BSL Cover-up

Babs
September 3rd, 2004, 12:45 PM
For the purpose of privacy, I am removing names of individuals from this post. If you absolutely need sources, please PM me and let me know what you need them for.

I sent this email to the journalist with the Toronto Star who wrote the postitive article on behalf of Pit Bull owners.

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Dear Antonia,

I would like to congratulate you on your journalistic approach with the Pit Bull scandal, namely your article, "Pit bull owners on defensive". It is refreshing to find a journalist who is interested in reporting factual truths behind news events.

I have another lead for you, which is somewhat controversial in nature. While the topic of Pit Bulls may be losing interest, the topic of Municipal cover-up would likely spark public interest, specifically with Ontario now considering BSL as an option.

I have been working with several dog experts regarding the BSL phenomenon for months. Before Ontario picked up the idea, it has been a mounting problem across cities throughout the world for quite some time as a band-aid fix to ease the minds of the public in terms of dog safety, because it is easy to implement, soothes the public, and instant.

Some of us have been in contact with officials in Kitchener, Ontario, and in Winnipeg, Manitoba, cities where BSL was instituted some years ago.

The facts we have learned not only prove that BSL doesn't work, but that these cities are keeping the results of their failure quiet. Some officials claim they know it doesn't work, but because allow it to remain because has solved the panic in the public eye. Dog bites still continue, some of which are very severe.

In Kitchener:

A few weeks ago, I spoke with the Program Director with the main Canadian Federation of Humane Societies office in Ottawa. Currently the CFHS is working on preparing material to fight Breed Specific Legislation. Her feelings were that Kitchener has not exercised any due diligence in terms of following up or tracking the success of BSL since its implementation. In fact, neither the City or the KWHS could provide me with annual dog bite statistics for the years between 1995-2004. Quite obviously with our findings, Kitchener has not performed any follow up, and has kept very sloppy records.

After speaking with an investigator with the Public Health Office in Kitchener, she claims that the only purpose they have for gathering dog bite statistics is to track the spread of rabies. These reports are based solely on animal bites that are reported, and the answer they are most interested in is whether or not the animal was a dog. They never ask what breed the dog was, they simply report it as a "dog bite". According to the investigator, this reporting process is a shared effort with the Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society, who operates outside of the CFHS. By outside, I mean they are an "unregulated branch", according to the Program Director at the CFHS in Ottawa. The Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society is however, provided funding by the City for it's regulatory activities.

So I called the KWHS, and spoke with an official who among many things is responsible for dog bite statistics. While this official can give me figures for 1995 and 1996, the official told me they would have to search for the numbers covering 1997 to present. I find this a little bit strange, considering 1997 is the year K-W instigated the Pit Bull Ban (one would think they would be very interested in tracking the success). In 2003, the official estimates that there were approximately 12,500 licensed dogs in KW. Of those, approximately 40 of them were grandfathered Pit Bulls, down from several thousand in 1995. The official also admits that for every dog bite report that they investigate, there are probably 50 more bites that go unreported, some of which can be severe.

When I asked him why the KWHS felt this breed was considered for the ban, the official mentioned there had been 2 serious incidents involving Pit Bulls in the mid-90's that prompted the City to move towards a ban. The City now contracts (pays) the KWHS to regulate investigations and seizure of Pit Bulls. While the official agrees that this breed is prone to "mauling", it was also admitted that many other breeds of dogs are capable of similar behaviour in attacks. I was stated that the fact that there have been no serious dog attacks is a fluke, and that another incident with a different breed could happen at any time. I was also informed by this official that there is a strong belief that the real problem lies with the lack of control over puppy mills where inbreeding and mass breeding of unstable dogs is a large problem, combined with the lack of criminal penalties for serious injuries caused by dogs.

In summary, the KWHS official has told although Pit Bull attacks have gone down, it is because there aren't any Pit Bulls to fill the statistics. Grandfathered animals who have not passed the annual "Good Canine Citizen Test" have been confiscated from the city limits either by "humane euthanasia", or to a rescue organization located outside London, Ontario.

As we all know, that rescue centre was recently shut down by London Officials who stated it was breaking zoning laws. (It was PITRESCUE's centre, a poster on these very forums). The lady who operated the facility had been doing so for several years, and was an esteemed member of the breeding community. She was given 7 days to have all of her animals removed from the premises. Kitchener now has one less facility where they can send confiscated dogs, although they try to relocate them to other HS shelters. Due to the unpopularity of the breed right now, this is posing to be difficult.

Kitchener still receives reports on dog bites, some of which are still very severe. Specifically he stated that "in 2003, there were 10 serious bites reported, but probably more".

In Winnipeg:

This information was collected by a gentleman who is also appearing on Television interviews regarding BSL. He has not named his sources within the forum environment where he shared the information, but here is what he has learned so far:

It was not serious bites that went down from 30 to 2 as has been widely reported in the media, it was total number of bites for the entire year by pit bull type dogs.

Out of 174 bites in 2002, 39 were German Shepherds and 37 were Rottweilers. That's 44% of the bites from TWO breeds. So it's fairly obvious that the focus has simply shifted from pit bulls to two of the other favourite targeted dogs, thus proving again our "slippery slope" point. This information came from a June 2003 presentation to Edmonton city council when they were talking about repealing BSL (which they didn't do).

Tim Dack, who is the head of Animal Services in Winnipeg, publicly admitted in 2003 and also yesterday morning on one of our radio stations that they now have a problem with Rottweilers and Rottweiler-crosses. More on this below because it's not just Rottweilers as he is indicating.

It appears that pit bull owners in Winnipeg are a) crossing pit bulls with boxers, mastiffs, Rottweilers, and other dogs and then calling them boxer-crosses, mastiff-crosses, etc. and b) calling their existing dogs boxer or mastiff crosses.

There are some very serious issues which I CAN'T discuss here yet that raise BIG questions as to how often pit bull type dogs are being identified as a different breed and EVERYONE involved knows otherwise, but they all turn a blind eye. This may be from the good heartedness of animal-loving control officers who don't want to put a dog down or take it from its owner, but it sure as hell screws the statistics!!

There is also some indication that, if a dog has not threatened anyone, but has been identified as a pit bull, that the moment the owner says it isn't, the city gives in because they don't want to regularly take cases to court and LOSE because it will undermine the bylaw and possibly end up causing it to be repealed.

Apparently, there HAVE been some VERY serious bites caused by other dogs in Winnipeg, but there seems to be very little in the way of consistency in defining AND reporting a serious bite.

P.S. - unrelated to K-W or Winnipeg, one of the callers into the TV show last night is a dog trainer. She said publicly on TV that she has knows of situations where doctors at hospitals DID NOT REPORT serious damaging bites by what would be considered the country's average family pet dogs because the family didn't want to lose their dog and involve the police because "the dog was just protecting its bone", etc.

So what we are dealing with is a massive cover-up by cities where BSL was implemented. Now that the Province is considering it, they too could fall prey to the lies and deceit that Kitchener-Waterloo and Winnipeg deals with regularly. Based on comments by the Premier and Michael Bryant, it is clear that their opinions have been strongly influenced by the media angle that is targeting the dog, rather than the owner. There had been very little investigative reporting done on Kitchener-Waterloo, or Winnipeg regarding their experience with BSL, and certainly no reporting regarding the failures.

What we keep hearing from officials time and time again, is that implementing a working system intended to reduce dog bites is costly, time consuming and thusly "difficult to implement". It involves strict regulation of dog breeding -- designating registered breeders and eliminating "backyard breeding" and "puppy mills", ensuring publicly adopted animals are intact (neutered/spayed), annual registration/licensing checks of all dogs, and modifications to the Criminal Code of Ontario to include stiff penalties when someone's dog bites a person.

As it stands today, I have not yet found a case where someone's dog has killed another person, or animal, where the owner has been charged. This provides opportunity for criminals to train a dog to become aggressive and use it in the place of a gun. After they don't get charged for murder when the dog attacks and kills, and a dog can easily be replaced. If it isn't a Pit Bull, there are several other varieties of dogs to choose from, any dog type is capable of killing, and statistics have proven that all breeds have killed.

If Ontario goes through with the Ban, the only thing they will accomplish is the destruction of tens of thousands of dogs, several of which will be helpless puppies within days or weeks of their birth. They will rip long-time family friends from small children who do not understand why their best friend is being taken away, never to be seen again. Criminals will move on to other dog breeds, like the Rottweiler, Doberman or German Shepherd instead.

I hope this information has been of value to you. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely...

mastifflover
September 3rd, 2004, 12:54 PM
Excellent and very well written. I hope she follows up on this. You go get em were all here if you need more help

LavenderRott
September 3rd, 2004, 12:56 PM
Babs

Please join the new forum and post this information. We have a few lurkers and information like this is very important for those of us that fight BSL.

Luba
September 3rd, 2004, 12:57 PM
I'd like to know IF ever and it hopefully will NEVER happen!! If they do impose any breed specific ban province wide OR if they impose BSL ..will the province/municipality pay for breed typing blood tests to determine what breed/s are in a specific dog.

I mean seriously we can all look at a dog and 'GUESS' it's breed but thats not specific enough.


We all know how many dogs get mislabled even by animal control/humane society/ spca workers!


So, are they gonna test each and every 'possible' dog ?? Never happen!

Babs
September 3rd, 2004, 01:05 PM
Genetic testing (DNA) cannot identify breed. Experts have already proven this.

That being said, and because PB owners know this, most are now calling their dogs "Mastiff" and "Boxer" crosses in cities where BSL is enforced. Because the city doesn't want the expense or trouble of taking cases to court, they ignore these situations and move on.

BSL just won't work.

Luba
September 3rd, 2004, 01:21 PM
Really, because Trescanis said that they can.

So is this false information...I'm just going by what Trescanis said (a poster on this forum)

Perhaps if he/she is reading can shed some light on this.

Babs
September 3rd, 2004, 02:03 PM
Many people confuse DNA Profiling with determining the breed of a dog. In reality, DNA testing is most useful for pet identification (DNA Profiling), and helping breeders and owners determine potential problems, or tracking of heritage. The key to success of tracking heritage or breed, is that you must have samples of Parental DNA tissue. DNA information carries through bloodlines, not necessarily through breed lines.

Taken from the AKC website, DNA testing provides excellent information, specifically for breeders, to determine the following:

Parentage Verification
Inherited Disease Screening
Coat Color Prediciton
DNA Banking
DNA Profiling

That being said, because so many dogs are not the product of breeding facilities that regularly perform testing and keep DNA data, it is like finding a needle in a haystack when it comes to determining dog breeds, especially in mix situations.

Unless the DNA data is on file somewhere, and the facility doing the testing has access to such data, there is no way to accurately pinpoint the breed of a dog by DNA testing.