Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

breedban speech to London council

lezzpezz
November 12th, 2004, 06:09 PM
Here is what I plan on spewing out at the meeting on Tuesday re: BSL and muzzling. It is from my heart, contains mucho facts and is what I think and may differ from some of you on this chatboard. Please feel free to add/suggest/comment good or bad and I will not be offended in the least. I really appreciate any comments as I do not want to appear to be a buffoon in front of the entire city. But it would not suprise me in the least if that was the case :p

It is long, and I may not get a chance to read it all, but I would appreciate it if you could point out the highlights that I SHOULD be stating and we can slough off the rest.

Thank you ever so much.

By the way, I am not nervous about speaking publicly, because I am so passionate about this. That alone will get me through.

Here it is....enjoy!!

My name is Leslie D. and I am the proud owner of 3 large and very friendly dogs. I am appalled and deeply distressed by the potential of the City of London to pass the four-breed specific ban as well as the proposal to muzzle all dogs, regardless of breed, if they have been accused of "charging" someone or are "perceived as menacing". Who decides what "charging" or "menacing" is?

In Bill 132, the proposed pit bull ban legislation being ever-so-rapidly forced through legislature by Attorney General Michael Bryant, there is no definition of "menacing". Nor is there a reference or definition to the word "menacing" in the City of London Dog Licensing and Control Bylaw, PH-4. So, who actually decides if and when a dog is actually "menacing"? Is the decision to label a dog "menacing" granted by simply taking the word of the neighbour with a grudge that calls in a false report of a "menacing" dog, because the dog has barked through the fence at this person? Do the accuser and the dog owner now have to square off in court, wasting the time of taxpayers, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, veterinarians, animal control officers and the police?

Why are innocent dogs and owners being bullied? I have made the acquaintance of many breeds of dogs, and personally know a few charming pit bulls, especially Sadie, who plays on a daily basis with my dogs and others in the neighbourhood, and is accepted as part of the family by my cats! Of all of the hundreds of dogs I've met, most of them must be living in loving and caring homes as they show no signs of aggression and are well adjusted canine members of our city. I have rarely come across a dog that has attempted to bite, especially an unprovoked one, even in the 5 years I worked at a veterinary clinic. The two dogs that did bite were a ****er spaniel that had a brain disorder and could not control her fear, and a lab puppy that was found abandoned in the woods tied to a tree after Christmas. The vet quarantined him and deemed him to also have a brain abnormality and, unfortunately, was the dog was not adoptable. I have had small dogs take a nip at me while working in the clinic, but this was out of fear of being in an unfamiliar place with strange smells and sounds. I find dogs, for the most part, to be just plain nice animals that have been gentle in my presence and under the control of the owner.

I believe that is the true crux of the issue: under the control of the owner. Yes, there are dogs running amok in the city. I see them every single day. That's a leash law issue that is barely and rarely enforced at present, due to lack of resources. Adding more staff to enforce this will likely cost taxpayers more, but may go a long way toward being part of a solid solution to some of the problems we face.

And yes, there are aggressive animals. That's where the muzzle by law should be in put into effect as currently outlined in bylaw PH-4, and appropriate penalties handed out to the owners of such dogs. But please do not punish the good dogs who wear their leashes, tags and collars and the owners who make every effort to comply and raise a healthy, polite pet.

In a recently published story in the National Post (Nov. 9) Psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and author of many books on dog behaviour, Stanley Coren, says that a lot can be done to reduce the incidence of dog bites, entirely apart from the dog's breed. A well socialized dog is unlikely to bite. The simple action of taking a dog to a basic obedience class reduces the likelihood that the dog will bite by 90%. A one hour class for children on "bite-proofing" has been shown to reduce the risk that a child will be bitten by a dog by over 80%. Combining dog obedience and child education can thus produce a 98% reduction in dog-bite injuries without banning any specific breed of dog.

Surprising and salient facts.

In the book entitled "Fatal Dog Attacks," by Karen Delise (published by Anubis, 2002), there is a study of all of the fatal dog attacks in the U.S. between 1965 and 2001. The total number of victims is 431. In total, 37 breeds/types of dogs have killed a person in those years in the U.S.A. On this list of breeds/types which have killed are such unexpected breeds as the Westie, Irish Setter, Sainte Bernard, the benevolent Newfoundland, Brittany Spaniel, Airedale terrier and even a Pomeranian-cross. Each of these have killed once. The diminutive Dachsund - yes, the weiner dog - has killed three times.

More surprising, yet staggering facts.

Don't you not find it alarming that the Attorney Generals' decision to ban pit bulls was reached without input from the public, recognized canine organizations, veterinary organizations, canine experts, health authorities, Statistics Canada or even law enforcement? Will the City of London have the smarts to consult with such professionals before making any rash quick-fix solutions geared at appeasing the now-fearful constituents , or will they ram these bylaws through, as Michael Bryant is attempting to do?

And what about the older dogs who have never been subject to wearing a muzzle? How will an owner, especially an elderly person or one unfamiliar with muzzle use, manage to make the now uncooperative dog wear it? And what of the negative aspects of wearing some makes of muzzles? With some designs of muzzles, a dog cannot exercise and will overheat if forced to be muzzled for too long; a dog cannot drink, pant to cool down and breathe properly, vocalize, or vomit if it is sick while it is wearing a muzzle. It can be inhumane if improperly worn and should be used only for the absolute proven offenders, as the bylaw stands now.

I do not believe that London should impose any breed specific ban as it has been proven to not work effectively. In Edmonton, steps have been taken to remove the imposed ban as of May, 2003, as under the current bylaw the existing restrictions are not fully effective, for several reasons. First, it is not possible to identify the breed mixture of a crossbreed dog with sufficient certainty to satisfy a court of law. Second, enforcement action on the animals that act aggressively in offleash areas or in neighbourhoods is possible only if the dog can be caught or the owner remains on the scene. Third, there is no evidence that the overall number of dog attacks in a community diminishes when a specific breed is banned.

Timmins Ontario has recently decided against a breed specific ban and has presented some fair and sensible recommendations that will not only appease the frenzied public, but addresses aggressive dogs of all breeds and those that own them.

Will London have the smarts to consult with agencies such as the Humane Society, veterinarians, handlers and breeders, and other professionals in the animal industry before making any impetuous decisions that may cause the relocation or even death of a faithful family companion? If London decides to impose these 2 bylaws, it is not only cruel and heartless, but will cause the annihilation of innocent pets and it akin to genocide.

lezzpezz
November 13th, 2004, 11:58 AM
Just so you know, with the assistance of a few editors, I have pared down and reworded my presentation. If you are interested, I have reposted it below. It is somewhat shorter and more factual. Thanks!

My name is Leslie D. and I am the proud owner of 3 large and very friendly dogs. I am deeply
distressed the City of London is considering not only passing the four-breed specific ban, but
also the proposal to muzzle all dogs, regardless of breed, if they have been accused of "charging"
someone or are "perceived as menacing". The concern I have is who decides what "charging" or
"menacing" is?
In Bill 132, the proposed pit bull ban legislation being ever-so-rapidly forced through legislature
by Attorney General Michael Bryant, there is no definition of "menacing". Nor is there a
reference or definition to the word "menacing" in the City of London Dog Licensing and Control
Bylaw, PH-4. Who actually decides if and when a dog is actually "menacing" and will it be the
same every time? Is the decision to label a dog "menacing" granted by simply taking the word of
the neighbour with a grudge that calls in a false report of a "menacing" dog, because the dog has
barked through the fence at this person? Do the accuser and the dog owner now have to square
off in court, wasting the time of taxpayers, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, veterinarians, animal
control officers and the police?
Why are innocent dogs and owners being bullied? I have made the acquaintance of many breeds
of dogs, and personally know a few charming pit bulls, especially Sadie, who plays on a daily
basis with my dogs and others in the neighbourhood, and is accepted as part of the family by my
cats! Of all of the hundreds of dogs Iíve met, most of them must be living in loving and caring
homes as they show no signs of aggression and are well adjusted canine members of our city. I
have rarely come across a dog that has attempted to bite, especially an unprovoked one, even in
the 5 years I worked at a veterinary clinic. For the most part, dogs I have encountered are gentle
well mannered animals and under the control of the owner.
That is the real heart of the issue: under the control of the owner. There are dogs running amok in
the city. Thatís a leash law issue that is barely and rarely enforced now, due to lack of resources.
Adding more staff to enforce this will likely cost taxpayers more, but may go a long way toward
being part of a solid solution to some of the problems we face. Where would the funding for this
come from?
There are aggressive dogs. Thatís where the muzzle by law should be in put into effect as
currently outlined in bylaw PH-4, and appropriate penalties handed out to the owners of such
dogs. But please do not punish the good dogs who wear their leashes, tags and collars and the
owners who make every effort to comply and raise a healthy, polite pet.
In a recently published article in the National Post (Nov. 9) psychology professor at the
University of British Columbia and author of many books on dog behaviour, Stanley Coren, says
that ďa lot can be done to reduce the incidence of dog bites, entirely apart from the dogís breed
. A well socialized dog is unlikely to bite. The simple action of taking a dog to a basic obedience
class reduces the likelihood that the dog will bite by 90%. A one hour class for children on "bite-
proofing" has been shown to reduce the risk that a child will be bitten by a dog by over 80%.
Combining dog obedience and child education can thus produce a 98% reduction in dog-bite
injuries without banning any specific breed of dog.Ē
Surprising and salient facts.
In the book entitled "Fatal Dog Attacks," by Karen Delise (published by Anubis, 2002), there is a
study of all of the fatal dog attacks in the U.S. between 1965 and 2001. The total number of
victims is 431. In total, 37 breeds/types of dogs have killed a person in those years in the U.S.A.
On this list of breeds/types which have killed are such unexpected breeds as the Westie, Irish
Setter, Sainte Bernard, the benevolent Newfoundland, Brittany Spaniel, Airedale terrier and even
a Pomeranian-cross. Each of these have killed once. The diminutive Dachsund - yes, the weiner
dog - has killed three times.
More surprising, yet staggering facts.
Do you find it alarming that the Attorney Generalsí decision to ban pit bulls was reached without
input from the public, recognized canine organizations, veterinary organizations, canine experts,
health authorities, Statistics Canada or even law enforcement?
And what about the older dogs who have never been subject to wearing a muzzle? How will an
owner, especially an elderly person or one unfamiliar with muzzle use, manage to make the now
uncooperative dog wear it? What of the negative aspects of wearing some makes of muzzles?
With some designs of muzzles, a dog cannot exercise and will overheat if forced to be muzzled
for too long; a dog cannot drink, pant to cool down and breathe properly, vocalize, or vomit if it
is sick while it is wearing a muzzle. It can be inhumane if improperly worn and should be used
only for the absolute proven offenders, as the bylaw stands now. Has anyone considered
alternative control devices for leashed dogs, such as the Halti, or the Gentle Leader. Both of
these provide the user with excellent restraining capabilities and are comfortable for the animal,
allowing proper uninhibited breathing,, drinking, vocalizing etc. although they are not intended
as bite deterrents. That is up to the handler to control the dog wearing the device.
I do not believe that London should impose any breed specific ban as it has been proven to be
ineffective. According to the Dog Legislative Council of Canada, steps have been taken in Edmonton to remove the imposed ban as of May, 2003, as under the current bylaw, the existing
restrictions are not fully effective, for several reasons. First, it is not possible to identify the
breed mixture of a crossbreed dog with sufficient certainty to satisfy a court of law. Second,
enforcement action on the animals that act aggressively in off leash areas or in neighbourhoods
is possible only if the dog can be caught or the owner remains on the scene. Third, there is no
evidence that the overall number of dog attacks in a community diminishes when a specific
breed is banned.
On Nov. 12, 2004 , the Timmins Press published an article stating that the city of Timmins has
recently decided against a breed specific ban, and that council has presented some fair and
sensible recommendations that will not only appease the public, but addresses aggressive dogs
of all breeds, and those that own them. Councillor Gary Scripnick says that council
recognizes that dogs can bite people if the circumstances are correct and that dogs cannot be
punished for that. London should take a good look at this bylaw during this decision-making
process and draw from it some commonsense, positive ideas and consider the possible
implementation of a similar bylaw.London must also consult with agencies such as the Humane Society, veterinarians, handlers and
breeders, and other professionals in the animal industry before making any impetuous decisions
that may cause the relocation or even death of a faithful family companion. If London decides to
impose these 2 bylaws, it is not only cruel and heartless, but will cause the annihilation of
innocent pets. This should be a very careful and well thought out process as many
people will be deeply hurt at the loss of a much loved pet.

Thank you

Mom_Of_Two_Dogs
November 13th, 2004, 04:02 PM
Sounds excellent :) Way to go!

Mistruzzi
November 13th, 2004, 09:04 PM
I would also bring pictures of your pit(s) with your cat (together) or pictures of your pits with kids if you have any( pictures with kids that is) and show them after your presentation or do a slide show.