My name is Janette Hamilton, and I live in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. I am a freelance photo-journalist, and I run my own media company, and I own a dog the Ontario government considers “significantly similar” to a “pit bull”. I have been active in the rescue of animals, dogs in particular, for over twenty years. I have spent the past twelve of those years rehabilitating and training difficult dogs, and what are known as “bully breeds,” to be civil members of canine society before they are adopted out to loving homes. I too have been bitten by dogs, and I understand that it can be a traumatic experience. I can sympathize with anyone who has been bitten by a dog. I am sorry that you had to have that experience.
That having been said, knowing what I know about canine behavior, I can not in all good conscience, allow your support of a breed ban in British Columbia to stand without first attempting to educate you. I think perhaps I may be able to help you understand that whether you realize it or not breed bans do not work. The only thing that can prevent a person from getting bitten by a dog, is a proper knowledge and understanding of dogs.
I suspect strongly Ms. Biniaz, that you have a fear of dogs, but I don’t think the origin of your fear is the bite you received as a young girl. I think you were fearful of dogs before that point, and while you may not realize it, provoked the bite yourself BECAUSE of that fear. The truth of the matter is, if I am right in my suspicions, ANY improperly handled dog in the same circumstances would have reacted in the same manner. Breed had nothing to do with it.
It is clear that the dog’s owner was not in care and control of his/her pet at the time the bite took place. From what I understand this was your family pet, but please correct me if I am wrong. My point here is, it is obvious that no one was “minding the store” when you were bitten. By that I mean simply that no one was watching the animal for signs of possible aggression. Even when a dog is trained it must be “maintained.” The average person, simply does not understand this. Responsible dog owners do, and we “maintain” our dog’s because it is our duty as dog owners to ensure our dogs do no harm.
To put it in perspective let me explain it this way. Most people would not go out into the jungle and kidnap a lion cub and turn it into a pet. (Well, no one in their right mind would anyway, there are a few idiots in every bunch.) Why? Because it is an animal that is capable of killing someone with ease. They are kept in zoos and handled by people who have studied them and understand the dangers and know how to avoid them. Licensed Zoo keepers, educated animal trainers. We do the same with wild wolves, the descendants of today’s modern dog.
Does it not stand to reason, that we should also require a person to have some education and knowledge of the animal they choose to bring into their home? Does it not also follow, that because we CHOOSE to do so, we should be held responsible for that animal and the impact it could possibly have on the lives of others? Responsible dog owners think so, and we are asking our government to do the same.
What I am asking of YOU Sahar, is that you weigh the situation properly by talking to the people that know these dogs best. The people qualified to tell you the truth of the matter in their expert opinion.
I understand that Cesar Milan has extended an invitation to you to visit his pack. I sincerely hope you take him up on the offer. I wish now to extend a similar offer. Visit with me here in Ontario, the land of BSL. Meet Niki (my “significantly similar” dog) and her pack. Sit down with me and let me walk you through the myriad of reasons why breed bans don’t work. Allow me to help you make an informed decision on the correct course of action our provincial government’s should be taking on the dangerous dog issue. I would be happy to do so!
Don’t DISCRIMINATE against these dogs, EDUCATE yourself on the issue of dog bites and dangerous dgs. Learn what BSL really means and what it will bring if allowed to be brought to legislation in British Columbia. Make a fully informed decision, or step down and give up your crown.