(First published in my past blog “Walking Niki” on July 25th, 2012 This is being republished here as part of a merging of three different blogs about dogs into one.)
I never dreamed when I took my husky/lab cross Nakita in as a pup that she would become a controversial dog. I mean, she IS the sweetest girl on the planet, but she’s no pit bull! (Besides it is kinda hard to be labeled as something that doesn’t really exist!) Well, that is unless you’re Dalton McGuinty. According to HIS governments definition of pit bull, just about every other family pet out there these days is a pit bull. Anyway back to my Niki, the short haired, barrel chested husky/lab cross. As I was saying I never thought she would become a controversial dog, after all I know her breed mix and knowing dogs as well as i do, I see no pit bull type characteristics in her. I was not worried and do not muzzle my Nickers when I walk her here at home in Barrie. No one ever says “hey that’s a pit bull” (well almost no one!) so walking her without it has never been an issue, or at least I didn’t think so.
Then I attended my first anti BSL walk. This was not quite seven years ago when I was still ignorant to exactly what BSL meant for dogs like Niki, and Niki was still a young dog. One of those women whom I now secretly call my gurus of all things BSL related chanced to be walking beside me. She very calmly explained to me that she thought I should have Niki muzzled. “Why?” I asked. “She’s not a pit bull.” That is when it was explained to me that because Niki looked more like a lab than a husky she could be mistaken for a pit bull. I was skeptical at best, and thought for a while she was just being an alarmist. Then I started to notice the muzzled dogs around me, in particular the black ones, and suddenly I saw what she meant. My Niki despite her breed mix, looked very much like several of the muzzled “pit bulls” around her to anyone who didn’t know dogs! Yep, in the eyes of the Right Honorable Premier McSquinty and his cronies Niki was a pit bull, something they had decided to refer to as a “significantly similar” dog! I still had no plans to muzzle her when walking her, after all, her vet had her registered with his office as her true breed mix. (I could “prove” she wasn’t a “pit bull” we would be okay, or so I thought, but that is a story for another day.)
As I do with everything, I began to learn more about BSL and the more I learned the harder I fought against it. I am still fighting, (for my dog,) for every dog that has lost it’s life because of the legalized witch hunt that is BSL. Sometimes when I talk to people about BSL they say “why do I care? I don’t own a pit bull.” “Neither do I” I say, “but the government has decided my dog is one because of the way she looks.” That ALWAYS gets their attention!
Niki is not the only reason I fight against BSL. I fight BSL because while it exists ALL dog breeds are in danger. If we allow laws that discriminate against one breed, we leave the way open for more breeds to be added. Which breed will be next? Will it be your dog’s breed? How many more dogs will die in the name of “safety” of the public? Breed discriminatory legislation must be abolished, and the responsibility for the actions of a pet must be put upon the owner not the dog. Dogs learn what they are taught, therefore bad owners make for dangerous dogs. It really is that simple!