Breed Bans Are Not the Answer

394766_257527517692341_1582781538_n

Walking my Husky/Lab cross Nakita on the beach just before she became a “pit bull” in the eyes of the law…

August 29th 2016, for many of you it’s just another Monday, but for dog owners in Ontario today marks the 1th year of BSL in our province. For eleven years we have come together and protested the banning of our dogs. There are some that will say “but it’s just banned dogs, and I don’t have one of those so why do I care?” But here in Ontario there are many mixed breed mutt owners that understand their dogs will never be safe while BSL exists in our province.

Many people don’t understand why we are “making such a fuss.” They figure if that breed is banned just get a different breed of dog, what’s the problem? The “problem” is this…

a) Pit bull is not a breed, it never has been. (to see how a dog can be erroneously labeled a “pit bull” read this.)

b) The government definition of “pit bull” is vague and can encompass many dogs of many different breed mixes.

c) The government definition of pit bull covers just about every blocky headed medium sized short haired mutt in the province.

Are you seeing the problem yet? No? Still don’t get it eh? Let me put it another way…

If someone told you that the government had just introduced a ban on all blue eyed brown haired babies, because they were the most likely to grow up and become gang members, would THAT be okay? Would it be okay for the government to then go door to door and round up all the blue eyed babies for euthanization because they were inherently prone to become criminals? Would you just hand over your brown haired blue eyed baby?

“Well that’s different!” you say. “There is a big difference between banning dogs and banning humans!” But really, is there? Both are living, thinking, feeling beings. A dog feels pain, just as a baby does. A dog feels attachment to their “owners” just as a baby feels attachment to their “parents.” Both a dog and a baby are innocents unable to speak for themselves.

The fact is that we can not treat animals in this manner any more than we can treat humans this way. BSL amounts to nothing more than legalized genocide of animals based on their physical characteristics at birth and not on anything the animal has done wrong. Those in power who introduce BSL to a region are no better than mass murderers. Saying that ANY one breed of dog is inherently vicious because of the actions of a few, is like saying all Mexicans are illegal immigrants or all black people are gang members. We know the stereotypes aren’t true, but yet we allow them to cloud our thinking just as BSL clouds our thinking about pit bulls, and hatred is born.

Believe me, there are a lot of pit bull haters out there, some of whom have never actually met a pit bull, but were told that pit bulls are killers, and believed the hype. In fact it may not surprise you to know that many of the same people who HATE pit bulls hold prejudices against other races and religions of humans as well. This is not to say that ALL pit bull haters are racists, but fact is, the majority of white middle class pit bull haters are also race elitists.

I hear you screaming “you can’t say that! You can’t accuse all people who hate pit bulls of being racist.” Why not? Is singling someone or something out due to it’s birth origin or skin color (looks) not racism? Last time I checked that was the very definition of racism. You’re just shocked because you have never heard anyone called racist for hating a certain type of animal. Would you prefer that instead of calling pit bull haters racist I called them breed elitist? It wouldn’t matter, it amounts to the same thing.

The fact is that no matter how many false statistics pit bull haters throw at us, we understand that not every single animal born that fits the government definition of a pit bull is a bite waiting to happen. The fact is that here in Ontario BSL has done absolutely NOTHING to stem the tide of dog bites, in fact, the number of injuries attributed to dog bites has risen since the onset of BSL in Ontario. Why? Because banning breeds is not the answer, and it never will be. The problem lies with people. People who do not know how to properly interact with dogs get bitten, it is that simple.

One thing we consistently hear when dog bites happen is “he just suddenly attacked with no warning.” This is a false statement, dogs do not “attack for no reason” there is always a reason, but the average person doesn’t see the warning because they do not know what to look for.

I have been working with rescue dogs for 25 years. I have been bitten by dogs, but NEVER by a “pit bull type” dog. I find the bully breeds to be a lot more patient with humans and their bumbling ways of interacting with dogs. I have been bitten by Chihuahuas, Poodles, Dachshunds, and small mixed breeds, and find them to be quicker to bite than most large breed dogs pit bulls included.

“But you’ve never encountered a dangerous dog!” I hear you say, and you’d be wrong. I live with three large breed dogs. One was slated for euthanasia after being declared a dangerous dog when he nipped an Animal Control Officer who mishandled him during initial rescue. Another slightly resembles the government definition of a pit bull, and the third is a tenacious girl with herding blood, who doesn’t let go when she latches on to something. All three could be deadly if they so chose, but I respect that fact and we live together with a mutual respect for each other. I don’t hurt them and they don’t hurt me.

Respecting the fact that my dogs COULD hurt me gravely if I gave them reason to is what keeps me from getting bitten. I have learned to watch for body language that tells me what mood my dog is in. I know when someone approaches them whether or not things are going to go well. If someone is approaching that they are unsure of, I see it in their body language and can prevent that person from getting too close and causing problems. That is MY job as a dog owner. My dog trusts me to stop anyone from approaching that they have a problem with. As a result, my dogs have never bitten anyone, because no one has been allowed to give them reason to bite. Their breed, has never come into the equation.

This may be the 11th anniversary of BSL in Ontario, but pit bull owners and people who understand the perils of BSL will continue to fight against BSL in favor of dangerous dog laws that put the responsibility on the dog owner. It is high time Ontario politicians admitted that BSL was a mistake, and rectify that mistake by introducing laws that really do help prevent bite incidents.

Breed bans don’t work, and they never will.

Until Next Time Remember,

WE ARE THEIR ONLY VOICE!

Everydogsmom

They Kill Pit Bulls…Don’t They

With Montreal poised to introduce a breed ban any minute now, I feel the need to speak out to Montrealers who own mixed breed mutts with blocky heads. Perhaps as you look at your dog you believe that this looming breed ban has nothing to do with you, you’re wrong, and here’s why…

spotthepitbull

Can you spot the pit bulls in the above poster? Does your mutt look like any of these dogs? It is a known fact that 74% of animal workers can not properly identify a pit bull, that percentage is higher for the general public. Blocky headed dogs are often mistaken for pit bulls. This of course is of no consequence if you live in a place with no BSL, however if you live somewhere that is subject to breed bans and you own a blocky headed mutt, BSL affects you.

All it takes for your dog to become subject to BSL is to have someone misidentify it as a pit bull. Right about now I hear you saying, “Well they would have to be stupid to call Rex (or Fido or Rin Tin Tin) a pit bull. He’s a lab cross!” Truth is that even purebred Labrador Retrievers have been labeled as pit bulls, and most people misidentify mastiffs as pit bulls.

Where the problem lies, is in the government definition of “pit bull.” which is as follows:

“pit bull” includes,

(a) a pit bull terrier,

(b) a Staffordshire bull terrier,

(c) an American Staffordshire terrier,

(d) an American pit bull terrier,

(e) a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those of dogs referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d); (“pit-bull”)

It is the last part of the definition which causes the problem. Section (e) describes just about any short haired blocky headed mutt in existence, which means that many dogs will get caught up in the breed ban if they physically resemble any of the dogs listed above.

“That’s no problem for me!” you’re thinking, “My vet knows my dog isn’t a pit bull, so he’s safe.” Wrong again, once your dog has been labeled a pit bull, it is very difficult to have that label removed. You can go to your vet, and your vet can write you a nice note stating they do not believe your dog to be a pit bull, the authorities will then demand that you produce registry paperwork that proves your mutt is not a pit bull. Problem with that is that your mutt has no registration papers because the CKC only registers dogs with a provable bloodline, and your mutt has no provable blood line. Are you seeing the problem yet? Do you understand now that your mutt is not safe from the restrictions of BSL?

Breed bans do no good. The idea of labeling a specific breed or breed mix as inherently dangerous is absolutely ridiculous. It is the same as saying all Muslims are terrorists or all Mexicans are illegal immigrants. It paves the way for canine genocide.

If Montreal does indeed go ahead with it’s plans to introduce a breed ban, thousands of innocent dogs will get caught up in it, and many will lose their lives simply for their looks. Does that sound right to you? Do you understand yet that you are NOT immune to BSL and that it’s introduction will affect you?

Be afraid Montreal pet owners, be very afraid. They’re killing dogs for what they look like, and YOURS could be next!

Until Next Time Remember

WE ARE THEIR ONLY VOICE!

Everydogsmom

A Senseless Death

harambe_2897586aThe whole world is arguing on social media over the fate of Harambe the gorilla who was shot and killed when a four year old boy climbed into the gorilla enclosure and fell into the mote at the Cincinnati zoo this past weekend.

Many are arguing that the shooting of the 450 lb. captive gorilla was a drastic response, that Harambe’s death could have been avoided, and the situation resolved without killing the animal.

I will admit, when the story first broke I felt the same way. I was angry that the zoo had chosen to kill the gorilla rather than  opt to tranquilize it in order to rescue the child. I was angry that yet again, a parent’s negligence in looking after their child had caused the death of an innocent animal.

Then I watched the full video, and I realized, that I was wrong, zoo officials could have made no other choice. When faced with the decision to save a child’s life or shoot an animal, the life of a child, especially one so young will win out every time. There is no “Life of Pi” scenario where a four year old is involved.

I was wrong because I had failed to take all aspects of the situation into consideration. I should know better, I understand that animals do not think or respond to things the same way as humans do. However, as much as I love gorillas,  I fully admit I know nothing about them other than the obvious, they are large powerful animals that could rip a man apart if they chose to do so, and you probably shouldn’t test the theory.

While I might not know a thing about gorillas, I do know a thing or two about aggression in caged animals, and I can completely understand how an aggressive gorilla protecting it’s territory can put a life in danger When you watch the raw footage with full audio and hear the mother yelling, the child wailing, and the crowd screaming you realize that all the elements are in place for this situation to go very, very bad, very, very quickly.

Although some people may have interpreted the gorilla’s behavior as protective of the child, what they fail to take into consideration is the gorilla’s strength. Even if Harambe was attempting to protect the child in some way, (and I’d really like to believe that was the case) he could easily have killed the child while dragging him along behind. The only option in order to save the child, was to shoot the gorilla. I don’t like it, but facts are facts.

Many people are saying they should have tranquilized Harambe, but those people clearly don’t understand how a tranquilizer dart works, or they would understand why that wasn’t an option, and you and I would be discussing something else right now. A tranquilizer dart delivers an intramuscular injection dosage of tranquilizer when it hits it’s target. Intramuscular injections are not immediately effective as the drug must be absorbed into the blood stream in order to have an effect, and this takes time. The impact of a tranquilizer dart carrying a payload large enough to drop a 450 lb. gorilla is not light. Upon impact the animal will become more agitated and erratic in it’s behavior, thus putting the child in further danger.

While I dislike zoos immensely, the zoo is not totally to blame for Harambe’s death. They are charged with keeping zoo visitors and animals safe, and they failed at both jobs, but the blame is not theirs alone. The child’s parents failed as well. They failed to responsibly supervise their child, and their negligence almost caused his death.

How does a four year old stumble into a gorilla enclosure while visiting the zoo? Is it really that strange to expect that someone might actually be watching him, might stop him from climbing over a fence and falling into a pit full of wild animals? I used to think it was just common sense, but I guess sense isn’t that common anymore.

Harambe’s death was senseless, a thing that could have been avoided if only….if only that mother had have been watching her child…if only…

R.I.P Harambe, I am sorry humans failed you.

Until next time remember,

WE ARE THEIR VOICE

Everydogsmom

The Day I Stumbled Upon “Dog Beach”

Sometimes my husband and I go for drives in the countryside on weekends just to get away from the rat race for a while. Most times we take along a dog, or two, or three, unless of course the weather, as it was today, is too humid.

We decided to head out to Wasaga Beach, Ontario, and once there I decided to go for a walk on the beach with my camera. We walked for a while me snapping pictures as I went. First we happened upon this;

IMG_2146

Don’t know who left this behind but it was a pretty sweet sand sculpture.

Then a little further down the beach, I was greeted by this sign;

Facebook-20160529-111014

This sign actually made my day!

I was actually excited about a sign! Why? Because I have been looking for a legal place to take my dogs swimming for years, and here it was! Just beyond this fence was Dog Beach! Of course you know I had to walk the full length of dog beach…just because. This is what I saw;

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So what did I learn this weekend? There IS a place I can take my dogs swimming, and I am totally taking my big guy there next weekend! But more than that, families are getting outdoors with their dogs…and they are loving it!

If you live in Ontario and would like to take your dog swimming at Dog Beach, pack the car and head up to Wasaga Beach Area 3. (Use the 22nd street entrance)

If you were on the beach when I strolled by with my camera, the pictures I took of your dog can be found here: My Day at Dog Beach feel free to download any pics you find of your dog.

Until Next Time Remember

Your Pet is Your Responsibility!

Everydogsmom

 

Finding the Pets Left Behind…

As you know, we have been monitoring the situation in Fort McMurray. Today I have happy news! Stories of animals caught in the fire zone who have been rescued and reunited with their families! With each animal that is found and reunited comes a sense of hope for other pet owners still waiting to hear news of their pets.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Along with the happy stories of reunions there are many posts of people still searching for their pets. Rescuers on the ground are doing a wonderful job, but rescuing these pets left behind is a monumental task. They are treating these pets with kid gloves, any that are safe where they are and pose difficulty in shipping are being cared for in place until proper climate controlled transport becomes available.

Below are pet owners still searching for their pets. If you are on the ground in Fort McMurray working with these animals and recognize any of them please get in touch with their owners…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For a more comprehensive list of lost and found animals go to the Fort Mac Fire – Pet Rescue group on Facebook. You’ll have to request to join, but it is a great place to start if you are looking for a pet lost during the evacuation of Fort McMurray.

We will continue to update as often as we can.

Until Next Time Remember,

WE ARE THE VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS!

Namaste’

Everydogsmom

Rescuing the Abandoned Animals of Fort McMurray

The eyes of the world are focused on Fort McMurray, Alberta as wildfire still rages across the province consuming everything in its path. With over 88,000 people displaced by the fire we’ve heard many stories of heroism in the face of danger. Canadians are banding together to help the victims of the fire expecting nothing in return. But there are other victims of the fire who have gone virtually unnoticed, they are the forgotten victims of every disaster, I am talking about the animals of Fort McMurray. Those who through no fault of their own got left behind during the mandatory evacuation of the city.

I know many people are wondering why so many people fled leaving their beloved family pets behind. Some have even said that the people of Fort McMurray don’t care about their pets. Nothing could be further from the truth. Evacuation orders came down so quickly that many people were caught off guard.

jadapolem.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo

16 year old Jada Polem rides her Quarter horse Mya out of Fort McMurray in order to save her.

One woman describes being caught downtown away from her home when ordered to evacuate. By the time she got back to her neighborhood it had been cordoned off and police were letting no one enter the area. She was told to leave despite the fact that her dogs were home alone and she wanted to get them out. Another woman managed to load her family and three dogs into her vehicle but was forced to abandon her pet pig because there was no room to transport him out of the hot zone. Others were forced to leave their pets behind because they were told emergency shelters would not admit animals. 16 year old Jada Polem rode her horse Mya out of the hot zone in order to save her, but sadly for many taking pets with them was not an option they were given.

Whatever the reason people were forced to abandon their pets, they did not do so willingly as is evidenced by the number of requests for rescue received by the small but determined group of people who set up a Facebook page to help get animals out of the hot zone. The local Fort McMurray SPCA spent last weekend rescuing pets…in secret. Why the secrecy? For reasons we have yet to find an explanation for the group was given the go ahead to enter the hot zone but was banned from publicizing their rescue efforts for 96 hours.

We could tell you all the stories of heroic rescues, but you can find those on your own. What we would rather discuss today is the fact that every time there is a disaster, the animals are overlooked. In times of emergency pets are viewed as insignificant baggage by government run rescue agencies. The lives of our pets are deemed unworthy of saving.

While I understand the rush to save human lives, I fail to understand how animals are deemed unimportant, and viewed as possessions that don’t matter. Quite frankly, if I am ever in a situation such as this my animals will not get left behind. I will find a way to get to them and get them out of harms way. After all they are my family.

marshallfound

An RCMP officer captures wayward pet pig “Marshall” who got left behind during evacuation of Fort McMurray.

But Canadians are not content to leave the animals of Fort McMurray to fate. Local kennels have stepped up to take in animals free of charge and many people are opening their homes to take in those who did not leave their animals behind. “Rogue” groups of rescuers are breaking into homes to get animals to safety at the request of fire victims. The woman I mentioned earlier has been reunited with the dogs she was forced to leave behind, and the pet pig who wouldn’t fit into the car has been found and rescued thanks to a cop with a watermelon.

Although there are many family pets still trapped in the hot zone, efforts are under way to save as many as possible. Whatever happens, one thing is clear, this country seriously needs to review their policy on family pets and disaster protocol. No living thing should get left behind when an evacuation is called for.

For anyone reading this who still has pets in the hot zone, the Facebook group set up to co-ordinate pet rescue can be found here. It is a closed group so you’ll have to request to join. The Fort McMurray SPCA can be reached through this Facebook page, and have a form to fill out if you are requesting rescue for your animals.

We here at Everything Worth Knowing will continue to monitor the situation as best we can. We ask one last thing of our readers…if you’re the praying type, please pray to whatever God or Goddess you worship for the safety of the animals of Fort McMurray.

Those wishing to donate to the animal rescue efforts can start here. We will provide more links as we find them.

Until Next Time Remember,

WE ARE THE VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS!

Everydogsmom

United We STAND, Divided We FALL

When I retired from hands on rehab training of difficult rescues due to health concerns a couple of years ago, I knew that I could not leave the animal rescue/advocacy world completely. After all, I had spent literally half of my adult life working with rescue dogs, and that desire to help these animals does not just disappear because your body decides it wants to quit. So I shifted my focus and began speaking out on the issues that face animal rescuers on a daily basis, and what if anything can be done to solve some of them. I have learned a lot in my twenty five years, most of it the hard way, and that knowledge has made me more convinced than ever that education is the key. Awareness is everything, and I could help by spreading that awareness, and trying to educate people to the truth of what is happening, and how to stop it.

I realize that might sound arrogant to some people. Some would read the last paragraph and think “oh so she knows how to fix everything does she?” The answer to that question would of course be no, because no one knows everything, but I do have a pretty good idea of what might set things off in the right direction.

One consistency I have noted in my years of working with rescue dogs is the infighting that goes on between rescue organizations. Very rarely do we see rescues work together for the good of the animals. I’m not saying it never happens, just that when it does it’s the exception not the rule. This “infighting” is counter productive and wastes valuable time that could be spent working with animals in need, destroys good rescue organizations, causes general havoc, and it needs to stop, for the good of the animals. The same thing goes on between advocacy groups, even when they are fighting for the same cause, and that is part of the problem.

“United we stand, divided we fall” isn’t just a quote from some guy no one can remember, it is true. Those who tirelessly work to try to make a difference would stand a far greater chance of success if they all worked together towards a common goal. The problem is human nature and ego get in the way. People’s inability to set aside petty differences, or the desire for being “known” for what you do get in the way of working with anyone else to do it. When that happens, animals suffer.

A perfect example of this is the current case with the OSPCA in Chatham/Kent Ontario. The #Chatham21 are 21 pit bulls the organization is applying for destruction orders on. The dogs were seized when a suspected dog fighting operation was raided in the Chatham area, and are now in the custody of the OSPCA who is seeking the order to destroy the dogs despite offers from qualified rescues outside of the province and south of the border to take responsibility for the rehabilitation of these dogs. The OSPCA claims that they do not have the legal right to transfer custody of the se dogs to any other agency. It is the opinion of other advacates and rescuers in Ontario that if they can apply for an order of destruction they can apply for the right to transfer custody of the dogs. The OSPCA refuses to do so.

Were the OSPCA willing to work with other qualified rescue operations the lives of these dogs could be turned around, but the OSPCA is not known for co-operating for the good of the animals. In fact, in recent years they have been legally stopped from committing mass euthanization of animals for questionable reasons. (OSPCA plans mass euthanization over ringworm outbreak at Newmarket shelter) in that case as well other organizations came forward saying they would take responsibility for some of the animals in order to ensure they were treated, but the OSPCA refused to release any of the animals to another organization. (Ringworm is a treatable disease) It was later determined there had been no outbreak.

Is it glory the OSPCA is seeking? What is it that stops this organization from working with others for the good of the animals? Most Ontario rescuers and advocates believe there is a darker motive for the OSPCA’s refusal to work with other rescue groups. That motive is MONEY.

In an ongoing case involving the OSPCA 71 dogs lives are being held for ransom. The OSPCA is refusing to return the dogs until the owners of the rescue they were seized from pay half a million dollars for their “care” while in the custody of the OSPCA. The organization threatens to kill the dogs if this “bill” is not paid. (OSPCA demands $500,000 from rescue operation to get their seized dogs back)

It’s bad enough that we can not get rescues to work together, but when an organization with a government contract starts seizing animals from other rescue agencies and holding them for ransom there is a serious problem. The only way to solve that problem is for the rest of Ontario’s registered rescue organizations to band together and demand oversight of the OSPCA. After all, remember “united we stand, divided we fall!”

Have a Great Weekend Everybody!

Namste’

Everydogsmom