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!