This past weekend in several cities around the world dog owners, dog lovers and their dogs came out in force to show their support for a repeal of Breed Specific legislation. They called it the million mutt march, and I wish I could have been there to see it myself.
In 2005 when we started this fight getting people to come out and support our dogs was like pulling teeth. Don’t get me wrong we drew dedicated people, there just weren’t many of them and we had a hard time getting the message through. Then we began speaking to owners of other breeds. We told them how THEIR dog was just one stroke of legislation away from being added to the banned breed list. We told them that while BSL exists in any form it is dangerous to ALL breeds of dog. Lo and behold they began to understand, and with each subsequent rally we saw more people and their non pit bull dogs come out to take up the fight.
Then this past weekend images of the march started coming out of Washington DC, and I realized we had been heard! Hundreds of dog owners marched on Washington DC to raise their voices for change. No longer would we struggle to get people to rally together for these dogs. They had heard us and they were on board for change.
For many of you who are still somehow oblivious to this fight let me explain. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is the act of restricting a dog due to it’s breed. BSL is the reason our pit bulls and anything that even slightly resembles a pit bull in the myopic eyes of the law must be muzzled in public. This restriction is not optional, it is the law even if your pooch is the most mild mannered of dogs. In the eyes of many world governments he/she is not a dog but a lethal weapon in the eyes of the law.
Now I am sure that was not news to many of you, but for those of you just learning what BSL really is, how do you feel now? How do you feel about genocide of an entire subset of the dog population? How do you feel about owners of these dogs being treated like criminals for their choice of breed? How do you feel about such a sentence being passed on a dog who has done nothing wrong, who’s only misfortune is to have been born resembling a pit bull?
Let me draw you some real world parallels here:
What if you got up this morning and turned on the news and heard:
BREAKING NEWS: The government has ordered that all blue eyed humans be rounded up and euthanized. Last evening two blue eyed humans broke into the Prime Ministers residence and roughed up his staff. The Prime Minister has declared that all blue eyed humans are a danger to society. Therefore they will be rounded up and incarcerated until such a time as they can be disposed of humanely.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Yet that is exactly how this went down! Here in Ontario a child was bitten by a pit bull and within weeks pit bulls and anything falling into the government’s broad definition of pit bull became hunted outlaws. That was 2005, and we have been fighting for these dogs ever since! It is sad really to know that our governments value animal life so little that the answer is to eradicate the world of pit bulls, or any other animal they deem unworthy. The human race has a talent for destroying that which they do not understand or are afraid of.
To any of you who have read the above and still don’t think BSL affects you, think again. I was naive that way myself that is until MY innocent Lab/Husky cross got caught up in Ontario’s BSL. Her story is here. Truth be told folks, NO short haired blocky headed mixed breed dog is safe! Don’t fall for the media hype, get to know a pit bull, it won’t take you long to see what we are fighting for, and maybe next time you will feel inclined to join in and raise your voice for those who can’t!