Global Anti BSL Walk 2017 Barrie, ON

IMG_3513This past Saturday I headed out to Heritage Park in Barrie, Ontario for the Global Anti BSL Walk. I grabbed my camera and left the dogs at home. I figured I wanted to capture as many pictures as possible during the walk, and that Nikki, as old and pudgy as she is would prefer to be left home on such a warm sunny summer afternoon. She like all short haired black dogs, does not do well in hot weather.

To say we were a small group is almost an embellishment. Soon after we met in the parking lot we realized there were only four of us, and two dogs, and there weren’t going to be any more than that. Just the four of us and two dogs, and our resolve to fight something we think is wrong. We’ve been fighting for so long we know each other and each other’s dogs even though the only thing that connects us is the fight against BSL.

Out in the non dog world, when only four people show up for a “global” protest of something, they stare at each other for a while until someone says “forget it. Let’s call it a day and go have a beer!” Not us! We headed out for a walk with the aggressive unmuzzled Jack Russel/Chihuahua, and the muzzled marshmallow of a pit bull in search of anyone who would talk to us about this draconian legislation.

While at first I was disappointed that more people hadn’t come out to represent for their dogs, (I’m used to the large groups that attend Toronto rallies, and I guess I expected the same sort of response here in my hometown.) it wasn’t long before I realized that despite our small numbers, the two dogs were the perfect pair to illustrate the ridiculousness of this legislation. The pit bull (the BANNED breed) was shyly greeting people, at times even hesitant to approach them, and he never once gave out a growl, a bark, or showed any signs of aggression whatsoever. The small cross breed (a dog people deem “safe” because it isn’t a pit bull) spent his time snapping and snarling at anyone who even dared to look in his direction. The small breed dog owner warned people off as they approached, the pit bull owner welcomed them in encouraging them to meet her dog.

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Brixx the mild mannered pit bull is only muzzled because the law says he has to be.

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Billy G is considered a “safe” dog by government standards, but shows aggression toward everyone he meets.

These two dogs could not have illustrated more perfectly that we can not base a dog’s bite probability solely on breed alone. Here we had a pit bull, a dog which according to the Ontario government is genetically predisposed to aggression, a breed BANNED for the “safety of the public,” and he was as calm as a lamb, friendly, and at times shy, but never once aggressive in any way. The small cross breed dog on the other hand…well, he hated everyone, and had multiple incidents of aggressive behavior when approached. These two dogs clearly illustrated that breed has nothing to do with aggression.

Throughout the afternoon I watched as several people along the waterfront walked around the muzzled pit bull with caution and approached the smaller dog only to be stopped in their tracks by a snarl and a warning from the dog’s owner that he didn’t play well with others. This confused a few people and gave us an opportunity to talk to them about Ontario’s BSL and why it doesn’t work.

These two dogs in fact are the personification of the reasons why BSL does not work. The small breed dog owner is a perfect example of why we always say that responsible dog ownership is the only way to prevent dog bites. She knows her dog’s temperament, and she is conscious of where he is at all times, and always ready to warn strangers off when they try to approach her dog. She controls access to a dog she knows is volatile. She’s a responsible dog owner.

We have known for years that what we need in place of BSL are Dangerous Dog Laws that put the responsibility on the dog owner, and not on the dog. On Saturday our canine companions helped us to get that message across to everyone we met on our walk. DEED not BREED!

In just over a month BSL will have been in effect in Ontario for twelve years. That’s twelve years that innocent dogs have been restricted in public and demonized in the media. Twelve years for the government to realize that this legislation has done absolutely nothing to prevent dog bites from happening. Twelve years in which we the pit bull community have watched our dogs die off until few are left. When will this madness end?

If you would like to learn more about the fight against BSL in Ontario hop on over to the Ontario Pit Bull Co-op page on Facebook.

Until Next Time Remember,

WE ARE THEIR ONLY VOICE!

Namaste’

Everydogsmom

In the Case of Omar Khadr….

The most polarizing discussion taking place amongst Canadians these days is the case of Omar Khadr. Canadians are at odds about the federal government’s recent settlement payout to Khadr, but many of those people are sadly misinformed and show no inclination to actually examine the facts of the Khadr case.

I must say I am rather saddened by how uninformed Canadians are on the subject, but that hasn’t stopped them from having an opinion, or from attempting to shove that opinion down the throats of those who have examined the facts, and come to the opposite conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind people with a differing opinion, they have a right to freedom of speech, this is Canada, and our Charter of Rights affords us certain freedoms after all. What I have a problem with, is people who form an opinion based on their personal feelings about what they THINK they know instead of on the actual facts of the case.

You see the $10.5 million paid to Khadr was actually a settlement in a lawsuit against the Canadian Government. In 2004 Khadr filed a $20 million lawsuit against the federal government for violation of Khadr’s Charter Rights. It was a suit the federal government had no hopes of winning, so they settled (saving Canadian taxpayers $9.5 million in the process.)

Many Canadians seem to be laboring under the misconception that we paid a terrorist for his crimes. That is not the case, we paid a Canadian citizen because our government left him incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay where he was tortured and mistreated until he confessed to crimes he may not have committed. When you add in the fact that Khadr was in fact legally a minor at the time of his incarceration, you realize that our government abandoned a Canadian CHILD to be mistreated by the US military.

Whatever Khadr may or may not have done while forced to fight has no bearing on the lawsuit settled by the federal government. While many people say they don’t care if Khadr’s human rights were violated because he is a killer and should have no rights, that is not the way the world works. Khadr has never been proven guilty in a court of law because Khadr has never been given a fair trial for the “war crimes” he is accused of. The Supreme Court has agreed (on three separate occasions) that Khadr’s Charter Rights were violated, and had Khadr’s lawsuit against the federal government gone to a hearing Khadr would have won. Anticipating this the federal government settled with Khadr for a lesser amount. From a legal standpoint, a smart move.

Of course, as soon as you label someone a terrorist, people decide that person should not have rights. The problem with this philosophy is that putting a label on someone is not the same as proving them guilty. We believe that an accused is innocent until proven guilty, but no one has ever proven Khadr’s guilt. Forcing someone to agree to a plea deal in order to receive decent treatment is not proving their guilt. It is basically the act of creating a guilty person so you don’t have to actually prove their guilt in a court of law. This method works particularly well if you are given years in which to abuse and torture the accused into submission.

So, those who hate the liberal party (and are somehow ignorant of the fact that this case is a leftover from the Harper era), those who were unaware the Canadian Charter of Rights existed, those who form an opinion based on nothing more than reading a headline, and those who can’t be bothered to consider the actual facts of the case are “enraged” by the governments settlement with Khadr. That is no surprise, people who are uninformed tend to take sides quickly without knowing all the facts, or caring to know all the facts. Sticking to their uninformed opinion is easier if they completely ignore the facts and substitute their own version. These people need to grow up and learn that the legalities of a situation and the moralities of a situation are NEVER the same thing.

As for Omar Khadr, I hope that he can move on from here and become a productive citizen. We may never know if he is guilty or innocent of the crimes of which he is accused, and given that fact we as Canadians need to move on, and allow Omar Khadr to do the same.

Use Your Powers for Good…be kind to others!

11700585_728597287249221_3642230714094415372_oWhen Frank Nelson (Glowing Hearts Community Give and Get Barrie Ontario) learned he was dying of cancer he decided he wanted to spend the time he has left helping strangers in need Frank, like many of us has noticed that while technology has connected us to everyone, it hasn’t done much for the dwindling sense of community Canadians once enjoyed. Pop culture is always telling us it takes a village to raise a child, as far as we’re concerned it takes a village to ensure that we all have what we need, we are losing our village so to speak. People are no longer possessed of the community spirit. Frank Nelson is trying to change that by bringing our community together to help each other,

I got the chance to speak with Frank yesterday when my husband and I dropped off a trunk load of canned and dry dog food for Frank and other local organizations to distribute to those who need it to feed their pets. During our chat we discussed Frank’s plans to bring Give and Get Centers to a few other cities in Ontario. I can understand his drive. We are given two jobs in life, to cause no intentional harm to others, and to leave the world a better place for our having been here. Frank Nelson is well on his way to accomplishing both.

At times in my life I came across people who helped me when I had no one to turn to. Having left home at 16 I had many low points in my life, and it always seemed that when a situation seemed hopeless along came a guardian angel that provided me with exactly what I needed. When I established myself later in life there was no way to repay those people for their kindness, so instead I paid it forward by helping others whenever I could. Frank Nelson is working on the same sort of principle, paying the small kindnesses forward is something he is passionately serious about.

As I watched Frank for a while interacting with the clients of the Give and Get, I realized he truly is at his happiest when helping others. At a time when most people would be focused on themselves Frank does as much work with those who need him as he can. He truly is a remarkably selfless person, and I look forward to working with him in the future. My husband and I will continue to drop off pet foods whenever we can, but Frank has inspired me to get involved on a deeper level, to do more. I don’t know what that will mean going forward, but whatever skills I possess are at his disposal.

If you would like to know more about the Community Give and Get Centre or Frank Nelson here’s the link to the Centre’s Facebook Page

Please remember; Use your powers for good…be kind to others!

Until Next Time

Namaste’