Dear Mr. Stephen Meurice,
As a resident of Ontario who owns a dog significantly similar in the eyes of the law to a “pit bull” I have a bone to pick with your newspaper. According to your staffer Barbara Kay being a “pit bull” owner makes me a criminal and a liar. I am made out to be an immoral and untrustworthy person because Ms. Kay does not like my choice of dog? I take exception to the implication, and find it somewhat slanderous.
We have already established that I am a “pit bull” owner in the eyes of the law. Does not seem to matter that my dog’s lineage is actually Lab/Husky, or that she weighs twice as much as the average “pit bull” but there you have it. I am a “pit bull” owner according to Bill 132. I am also active in the fight to overturn the “Pit Bull” Ban in Ontario, and have been for many years. Your Barbara Kay would have everyone believe that I am a monster because I am willing to fight for the rights of my dog. A person who’s every word is a lie designed to protect my “dangerous dog.” She says it every chance she gets even in articles that have nothing to do with “pit bulls” or “pit bull” owners. Such as her recent opinion piece on a Chihuahua in Windsor that was designated a “dangerous dog.” quoted here below:
“There is a reason that the Windsor bylaw is so lacking in the kind of specific that would actually target and diminish the depredations of truly dangerous dogs. Advocates for fighting breeds like pit bulls campaign fiercely to persuade city commissioners that “all dogs bite” and one should “blame the deed, not the breed.” They use the language of human rights (which can only apply to individuals, not to line-bred dogs), saying it is “discrimination” to single out one breed over others. They can be quite relentless in their organized campaigns, and often wear down city commissioners, who buy into their myth that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a “bad owner.”}”
What praytell did “pit bulls” or their owners have to do with an opinion piece on the dangerous dog desgination being bestowed upon a Chihuahua that had a bite history and bit again? To the best of my knowledge is it not in the best interest of the public to muzzle and restrict a dog that has bitten repeatedly regardless of it’s breed? The above was printed on your web-page on October 18, 2012. Yet another attempt by Ms. Kay to take a shot at “pit bull” owners and supporters.
Yes, I am a “pit bull” owner, however, I am more than qualified to be one! In my day to day life, while your Barbara Kay is off writing off the cuff, uncorroborated, opinion pieces about everything her little heart desires, I am a very busy woman. I rescue and rehabilitate all breeds of dogs. I specialize in training difficult rescue dogs, and dogs with bite records. I am a student of dog behavior with twenty years of research study behind me. I am by no means an expert yet, but I do know far more about dogs than the average person, so I am qualified to comment on dog behavior.
I am a freelance photo-journalist, run my own media company, and am well known in my local arts community. I work on charity projects, mentor young people, and help out on as many community events as I can. I am neither criminal, nor liar, and I resent the implication that I am either. The fact that Ms. Kay constantly dismisses “pit bull” owners as questionable people prone to lying for their own ends in every article she writes on the subject is intolerable. She is also prone to attacking “pit bull” supporters via twitter.
Statement made on twitter Oct. 23, 2012 in response to a story of a Bulldog stabbed…
Are you aware Mr…. Editor, that the average “pit bull” owner is female? Or that the majority of female “pit bull” owners are middle-aged professional women? Doctors, lawyers, nurses, politicians, business owners? That they are upstanding members of their community, who do their best to give time to charity work and give back to their community?
In the above twitter comment made by Ms. Kay we see her slander the owner of the slain Bulldog by alluding to a sexually deviant condition known as Hybristophilia (a deviant sexual behavior in which sexual arousal, and attainment of orgasm are contingent upon being with a partner known to have committed an outrage, or crime, such as rape, murder, or armed robbery.) I am not quite sure how the reference applies, but I do know that it is quite derogatory and has no place being said to anyone by Barbara Kay.
As if Ms. Kay’s maligning of “pit bull” owners weren’t enough of a complaint, she adds insult to injury by making completely inaccurate statements as fact. For example a comment taken from an article published on your web-page August 1, 2012 and written by Barbara Kay:
“Each year, about one PB in 100,000 kills someone, compared with one non-PB in about 10 million.”
Truth is, there has not been a fatal bite by a “pit bull” type dog in Canada since 1995, (source: National Canine Research Council) but if we tell her this, we are accused of lying to protect our “dangerous dogs.” Yet, what government bite stats that do exist support our claims, and refute Ms. Kay’s.
The following quote is from the same article published on your web-page August 1, 2012 and written by Ms. Kay:
“These are all myths. Dog-sales statistics show that PBs were never that popular in America; and they were never bred for anything but fighting.”
Truth is, “pit bull” type dogs were originally bred as working dogs, specifically for bull baiting in order to draw a bull’s attention away from the farm hand attempting to castrate it. (source: History of Pit Bulls) Ms. Kay ignores this well known fact and instead uses her “bred for fighting” statement, the one she tends to trot out several times an article when writing about the “pit bull” issue. I might also ask what American dog sale stats have to do with the province of Ontario? “Pit bull” type dogs were quite a popular choice before the ban in 2005. Sales stats couldn’t possibly show them as any more or less popular in Ontario since that date as it is illegal to breed a “pit bull” type dog within the province of Ontario. It is also illegal to sell them, so there is no trade to base stats on.
What Ms. Kay always fails to mention in her clearly biased and easily refuted inflammatory attempts at reporting on the “pit bull” issue is that “pit bull” supporters (owners) want owner responsibility for ALL breeds. We want PEOPLE to take responsibility for controlling the dogs they choose to bring into their homes, no matter what breed they may be. We want education in our schools that teaches the public what their part in preventing dog bites is(regardless of breed.)
We feel that the law should be the same for all breeds, and focus more on the responsibility of dog owners. We feel that restricting good dogs who have done nothing wrong based on what they look like is not the answer. No breed should be banned,or restricted, and the opinion of the experts is that breed bans don’t work. Ms. Kay dismisses those expert opinions by saying that veterinarian’s, behaviorist’s, trainer’s, and the like will side with dog owners because their bias is towards the clients not the truth. She has a clear bias against “pit bulls” and that is her personal right. However, it is not her right to shove her personal beliefs into the minds of others by using her position with the media to spread outright lies and a slanderous image of dog owners as untrustworthy, and undesirable members of society via the pages of your publication.
We are all for both camps having their say. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but the last time I checked the role of the media in society was not to assist a journalist in a hate campaign against Canadian citizens that happen to be “pit bull” owners. The last time I checked it was the job of the media to present the facts in an objective manner, and allow their READERS to draw their own conclusions from the facts presented.
Okay so Ms. Kay writes an opinion column. I can see why you would give her a little more freedom than other mainstream journalists, but her use of that freedom is disrespectful and slanderous to those of us who own “pit bull” type dogs and needs to be addressed.
Barbara Kay has thrown the rule book out the window and has decided to use your newspaper to spew hate and slanderous information about a select group of people and their dogs, I urge you to rein in your reporter before she says something your paper comes to regret. Until such a time as you see fit to do so, there are many Ontarian’s that just simply won’t read the National Post. All of them are “pit bull” owners, most of them are women, most of those women are professional people, and we ask that either your paper report on the “pit bull” issue with a modicum of journalistic integrity or not at all.
(Please understand that I use the collective “we” because “pit bull” owners and supporters all strive for an end to BSL, and do not appreciate being slandered in the media, but not necessarily because I speak for any group or faction as a whole. My views are solely my own, but you will notice, they are backed by links to the required corroborating information.)
Quite frankly I for one think your paper owes we “pit bull” owners an apology, no one deserves to be bullied by the media, and as far as “pit bull” owners are concerned Barbara Kay’s hate campaign against us qualifies as such bullying!
Janette T Hamilton
Ontario “Pit Bull” Owner
Mom, Wife, Business Owner