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From the NCCPD - emails to MPs

DogMa
November 14th, 2004, 10:18 PM
To All Dog Enthusiasts:



The National Capital Coalition for People and Dogs is launching a mass e-mail campaign. Every few days we will send out an e-mail to everyone on our electronic mailing list. The e-mail will provide the names of several MPPs, their e-mail addresses, and a sample lobby letter.



We are asking everyone who receives this e-mail to send an e-mail with either the sample text or their own comments to the targetted MPPs over the next few days. We also ask that everyone send our e-mail on to friends, relatives, and people on their e-mail lists who are dog enthusiasts and who are threatened by Bill 132. Of course, that is all dog owners.



For those who believe it is only people with the banned breeds who will be impacted by this Bill, this legislation goes well beyond breed banning, see http://www.nccpd.org/breed_ban.html, Ramifications of Bill 132 – Clear Language.



Everyone who owns a dog or will own a dog will lose some very basic civil rights. In addition, once any breed is banned, it opens the door for more breeds to be included. Italy currently has 92 breeds on its banned list, including the Corgi. Certain parts of Germany has 16 forbidden breeds.



We need to take a stand now.



The debate on Bill 132 will commence on November 15th. It will only take a moment to cut and paste the text below and send an e-mail to each of the following Liberal MPPs (please note that it does not matter if you are in their constituency or not):



Phil McNeely (Ottawa-Orléans)
E-mail: pmcneely.mpp@liberal.ola.org

************

Madeleine Meilleur (Ottawa-Vanier)
E-mail: mmeilleur.mpp@liberal.ola.org

************

Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre/Ottawa-Centre )
E-mail: rpatten.mpp@liberal.ola.org

************

Norm Sterling (Lanark-Carleton)
E-mail: norm_sterling@ontla.ola.org

************

Jim Watson (Ottawa West-Nepean/Ottawa-Ouest-Nepean)
E-mail: jwatson.mpp@liberal.ola.org



Sample Text (Please address each e-mail to the individual MPP)





I have been following the discussions in the Ontario Legislature on Bill 132. On November 4, 2004, Mr. Bryant stated, [...] these are dangerous dogs. They hurt people. They hurt kids. They hurt families. They hurt other pets. They’re dangerous. They cause damage.” Mr. Bryant would like Ontarians to believe that the threat to public safety with respect to the existence of the breeds he has identified has reached such epic proportion that legislation is needed now to protect us.



The truth is that any dog can be dangerous. Fortunately, most are not. The truth is that any dog can hurt a person. Any dog can hurt a child, a family or another pet. The amazing fact is that despite the number of dogs that live with people, very few are so dangerous that they pose a threat to those around them.



Epidemiological studies on dog bite incidents indicate that the majority of dog bites occur in the home or in the backyard. They do not occur on public property. In addition, most dog bite incidents involve the family dog or a dog known to the family, children under the age of 10 (primarily boys), occur during the summer months and between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. Bill 132 will not change these findings.



Mr. Bryant also asks, “and is it the case that these dogs are a breed apart? The answer to me is in the affirmative. There’s been a lot of talk about the studies that are out there.” Canine DNA is indistinguishable in that one breed cannot be identified from another breed. What can be determined is that the animal in question is a member of the species Canis Familiaris. The breeds he has identified to be restricted under this bill are not unique nor are they any different, genetically, than any other breed. They do not have more powerful jaws, a different brain, or any other feature that would make them different from other members of their species. At the moment, they are more popular within certain segments of the population and those segments include people who are not law-abiding citizens.



Dogs, like people, have different temperaments and personalities. Assessment should not be on breed, but on temperament, assessed individually, not as a group. That would be the same as saying all blue-eyed people are more compassionate and less likely to lose their tempers in public. Temperament is the measuring stick against which humane societies, breeders, trainers, animal behaviourists, therapy dog organizations, the RCMP, rescue organizations and veterinarians evaluate a dog.



What Mr. Bryant has demonstrated to many of us is a textbook case of the moral panic hypothesis driving legislative change in action. The current rhetoric is designed to create moral panic surrounding a certain breed or breeds of dogs. The truth is, dogs pose no greater threat to public safety than they did one year ago. Mr. Bryant would like us to think otherwise.



Let us follow the progression of the introduction of pit bulls as a threat to societal values and interests in Ontario.



1. August 30, 2004 – Mr. Bryant announces during a press conference that pit bulls are dangerous and asks what the people of Ontario thought about a proposed pit bull ban. He claims, “over 5,000 e-mails later the answer was pretty clear. [..] There are people who don’t go to certain parks, don’t go down different streets, don’t go into certain neighbourhoods because there’s a pit bull in the area.



The truth is, Mr. Bryant does not indicate how many of those 5,000 emails were against a pit bull ban (I know my email to him was opposed). He does not indicate if those parks, streets and neighbourhoods are located in areas where there are higher crime rates, drug dealings, etc. Mr. Bryant is not telling the whole story, just the part of the story that supports his position that this legislation is required. Bill 132 is a bill to amend the Dog Owners’ Liability Act and to increase public safety in relation to dogs, including pit bulls, and to make related amendments to the Animals for Research Act.



2. The media refers to this proposed bill as a pit bull ban, simplifying it, stylizing it and presenting a distorted picture of reality.



The truth is, it is not a pit bull ban and should be referenced as amendments to the Dog Owners” Liability Act (DOLA) and the Animals for Research Act (ARA). The public needs to understand what this Bill proposes. The Liberals have not presented it for what it truly is. They have not identified the changes to the Animals for Research Act nor indicated which sections are being changed and what the changes mean.



3. Historically, legislation driven by the moral panic hypothesis is a distorted law. It is often designed to keep the party in power and to oppress another segment in society.



The truth is, the segment of society this bill is aimed at is the estimated 30-35% of Ontarians who share their hearts and homes with dogs. This is discrimination against all Ontarians whose lifestyle choice includes a dog, regardless of breed. And I don't like the Liberal Government creating such an environment.



4. Distorted law is likely to produce innocent victims. At best, it will present enforcement difficulties, and may give rise to constitutional challenges. Twelve US states have declared breed-specific legislation unconstitutional. Mr. Bryant doesn’t seem to think that this is significant and states, “I’m pleased to rise today to lead off this debate in this Legislature. It is the first Legislature in Canada to consider a province-wide debate. No state has yet done that.”



The truth is, in the twelve states where breed-ban legislation was implemented, the legislation was declared unconstitutional. This proposed Bill is an example of the Liberals trying to enact legislation that will conform society to the beliefs of the Liberal party, that pit bulls are dangerous. It has been pointed out to Mr. Bryant that there is a lack of evidence that indicates pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs or behaving in such a way that is more threatening to public safety than they were prior to the onset of the moral panic caused by the media, etc. Yet he dismisses this information by quoting an obscure study. He does not identify how old the study is or if it underwent peer-review.



5. Mr. Bryant, likely unbeknownst to him, supported Mr. Cohen’s definition for moral panic hypothesis when Mr. Bryant indicated his reliance upon the opinion of those in the media as follows:

Globe and Mail editorial, October 18, 2004:

The London Free Press:

The Toronto Sun

The Toronto Star

The Peterborough Examiner

Hamilton Spectator

Brampton Guardian



The truth is, Mr. Bryant admits being too busy to meet with a number of stakeholders who are knowledgeable in this area, specifically the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).



On October 28, 2004, Mr. Tascona stated, “Today, in the same newspaper [Toronto Star], the OVMA President revealed a letter was sent to you, the Attorney General, on September 15. A month later, on October 15, the same day you announced your decision to ban pit bulls, the OVMA received a faxed letter from you stating that your schedule did not permit them to meet with this organization” yet Mr. Bryant has the audacity to suggest that the veterinarians be responsible for breed identification.



Yet, in the Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, October 16, 2004, in the article following the Liberals intention to introduce this ban, it was stated that veterinarians would be tasked with making the call with respect to identifying pit bulls and pit bull crosses. See if you can identify the pit bull amongst the photos, http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html . This should give you an idea of how difficult it can be, and therefore how difficult it will be for the public and those enforcing this proposed legislation to actually implement "the characteristics of a pit bull" section of this legislation.



6. Passage of Bill 132 will not have a significant impact on public safety. The problem is not a dog problem, it is a human problem. The Province cannot, as much as it would like to do so, regulate or legislate common sense. The problem would be better addressed through education programs such as those recommended by the jury following the inquest into Courtney Trempe’s death.



7. The Liberals claim that people could still own their dogs. That is true, but should Bill 132 be passed as written, all dog owners will live in fear that their neighbours could complain about their dogs for “menacing behaviour.” and that they could come home someday to find the door forced open and any dogs in the household gone, or dead if the peace officer used “as much force as is necessary to execute a warrant issued under Section 13 or to exercise any authority given by Sections 14 or 15.”



I am not against tougher penalties under the DOLA or the Criminal Code for those who abuse animals or train animals to attack and harm people. I am vehemently opposed to the broadening police powers, I am against breed-specific legislation and I am against loosening the restrictions under the Animals for Research Act.



Please demonstrate you understand that Bill 132 is extremely problematic and that the solution is not regulation, but education. Please demonstrate that you understand the far-reaching consequences of the passage of this Bill. Demonstrate that you understand the confusion this will cause those children whose dogs will need to be muzzled when off the property but can sleep on their beds at night. What the children will most likely understand is that the Liberals made their mommy and daddy put muzzles on the dogs. The Liberal Party can kiss those potential future voters goodbye.



Tell Mr. Bryant and Mr. McGuinty you cannot vote “yes” for this Bill by having the courage to stand up and say “no” to Bill 132. Please do not vote the party line. Show Ontarians the strength that you have to not tow the party line when that line is WRONG.

pitbulliest
November 14th, 2004, 10:27 PM
Excellent excellent post Dogma...I would like to ask for your permission to use certain sentences in emails that I would like to write to the MPPs...you have some excellent points that you brought up that I've been forgetting to mention. Once again, great post.

Do I have your permission to use info and to cross post?

Sheriffmom
November 14th, 2004, 11:49 PM
Dogma,
It was an excellent letter, however for emailing MPPs do you think it could maybe be condenced? From what I understood from your post, (forgive me if I'm wrong... it is way past my bedtime!!) this is supposed to be mass emailed to all the MPPs. If so, I am wondering... will they actually take the time to read the letter in it's intirety? Could we maybe take paragraphs and each send one?
I am not well versed in politics.... so whatever you guys think is best, I'll email it!
:thumbs up

Jono
November 15th, 2004, 02:17 PM
Nice letter, one change though, in the final paragraph it should read 'toe the line', instead of 'tow the line'. Other than that it's great, I'll be emailing the MPP's later on this afternoon.

DogMa
November 16th, 2004, 03:44 PM
Sorry this wasn't clear, that whole post was sent to me by the NCCPD, and the bottom part are suggestions for people to send to the MPs if they don't have their own words.
Please please use any part of it and forward it to anyone else who you think would like to see it.