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Omigod, look what I read in the paper the other day:

Misguided parents of teenagers in the Ontario Legislature came together in support of a private member’s bill this past week that would lift a ban on such potentially deadly children. These politicians would do better addressing the public’s real problems instead of trying to reverse its protections.

All the arguments made in defence of teenagers were familiar and unconvincing. The problem is “the rage, not the age,” said the co-sponsor of the bill. She correctly noted that any child can assault a person and some younger children are even more aggressive than teenagers.

“We know that tweens are as capable of violence, or more capable of violence, as so-called teenagers,” she said. True — but where a rampaging tween is likely to steal someone’s iphone, a teenager can stab someone or run over someone with a car. Indeed, both these horrors have been perpetrated by teenagers. In these cases, the rage is the age.

Yes, the critics are right: it’s hard to define all possible teenager types. But difficulty in defining a problem is no reason not to address it. And yes, bad parents are largely to blame when teenagers go rogue. So what? Bad people are the only ones likely to use a machine gun to commit robbery. But — in the interest of public safety — we ban machine guns from all, including the good.

In fact, the province’s teenager “ban” is a misnomer. Ontarians are free to have these children, provided the teens have been neutered and kept muzzled in public. Given the danger they present, teenagers can’t be legally bred or imported into the province. That seems a reasonable compromise.

The governing Liberals are correct in defending this province’s existing teenager legislation. The law isn't perfect, but it’s right in putting public safety ahead of the concerns of parents of teenagers.

Okay, I didn't actually read that in any paper but I read something similar. Someone sent me a link to a Toronto Star piece regarding Pit Bulls entitled, Pit bulls are dangerous and Ontario is right to ban them.

If you're familiar with this blog, you already know what I think about that opinion, but I'm going to say it anyway. It's shit. Not dog shit, not horse shit, not bull shit but the worst kind of shit and that's human shit because only humans can attempt to justify and self-righteously support such prejudicial and hypocritical slaughter of innocent family pets.

To highlight the ridiculousness of the piece, I did that word replacement exercise above, replacing "Pit Bull" with "teenager" and "dogs" with "children". I've got nothing against either teens or children - in fact, I've been both, once upon a time - but the word change shines a more revealing light on the reactionary mentality of the piece.

It may be a rather juvenile exercise but no more juvenile than publishing the kind of unresearched, unnuanced, compassion bereft crud I expect from The Sun, not The Star.

So who is the anonymous Star writer of that piece? The way the writer intentionally misleads the reader into thinking Pit Bulls in Ontario only have to suffer being "neutered and kept muzzled in public" and that this "seems a reasonable compromise" completely ignores the fact that perceived Pit Bulls are also impounded, caged, and killed in this province. The writer takes after MPP David "genetalia chewed off" Zimmer in that regard when it comes to ignoring the important details.

Here's a better response to The Star's Pit Bull hating piece. It's written by Steve Barker at Chicobandito.

Dear editors:

After reading the editorial “pit bulls are dangerous” (February 26), I felt the need to respond with a little common sense combined with a few facts.

I would not normally be so quick to tell a group of experts in their field how to do their jobs, but have you forgotten the basic lessons of Journalism 101, specifically research?

If, as you put it, the deed is the breed when a pit bull attacks, then is this also the case when a retriever attacks or a German Shepherd or a husky or a sled dog or a sheepdog or a Rottweiler or a “farm dog” or a Border Collie or a number of other types of dogs? Why do I list these specific types of dogs? Because they have ALL killed children in Canada and because, in the twenty-nine years that we’ve been tracking these things, a pit bull has never done so. I repeat, at least thirty-five children have been killed in this country by at least eighty-five dogs , yet a pit bull type dog has never killed a child in Canada, ever!

As journalists, does this not make you stop, for one moment, and think that maybe, just maybe, breed is not the issue here?

In 2005, Michael Bryant, former Ontario attorney general, stood up in the Legislature and listed nine bite incidents supposedly perpetrated by pit bulls over a sixty-nine day period. He used these specific incidents as his justification for introducing the pit bull ban in the interest of public safety. NINE incidents.

According to the Canada Safety Council, as many as 33,000 people were bitten by dogs in Ontario during that same time period with as many as 5,500 requiring medical treatment and 250 of those requiring hospitalization, yet Mr. Bryant, in his zeal to drum up public support for his discriminatory law, conveniently forgot to mention these during his impassioned plea for public safety. Were all of these injuries perpetrated by pit bulls? Not according to the dog bite statistics from cities such as Windsor, London, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Toronto, and Mississauga. In fact, it appears that pit bull type dogs were involved in incidents relatively proportionate to their population, just like other types of dogs, and they did not cause a higher percentage of hospital visits or medical attention.

Every single Canadian expert in dog aggression and dog behaviour, as well as worldwide scientists in similar fields, including the leading researchers in canine genetics, disagree with your editors’ assessments of these dogs. So, instead of simply buying into the hype and writing an undocumented, unresearched, and unproven piece of fluff in order to create controversy and sell newspapers, perhaps you should put some effort into your analysis and start asking yourselves (and then us) why every dog behaviour expert on the planet, people with far more experience in these fields than you or I, argues that you and the Ontario government are wrong.

A ban on a particular breed or type of dog is the proverbial killing of a gnat with a sledgehammer. Studies from both the United States and Canada estimate that only 0.01% of dogs cause serious injury to a human being. That leaves 99.99% of all dogs (including pit bulls) that somehow manage to live with us without turning on us when we’re not looking. It also appears that, based on the unprecedented number of reversals of bans that are happening worldwide, those types of discriminatory laws were not even preventing the 0.01%.

In the meantime, the ban in Ontario (and yes, despite your claims to the contrary, it is a ban) has caused the deaths of thousands of dogs each year, dogs whose only crime was to possibly look like some ill-defined, unprovable shape of dog that the government has managed to persuade the public (and obviously some members of the media) is dangerous. As a result of this ban, dog owners have lost their houses, their jobs, their life savings. Many dog owners, including myself, have left the province, sometimes at great sacrifice, in order to escape constant harassment and discrimination.

To give you some idea of the ridiculousness of this approach, look at these annual Canadian death statistics, courtesy of Health Canada 1996:

Tobacco: 45,000
Suicides: 3,900
Car accidents: 2,900
Alcohol: 1,900
Murders: 510

Dogs (of all breeds): ONE*
* info courtesy of Dog Legislation Council of Canada and National Canine Research Council

I, and many thousands of dog owners, would greatly appreciate it if the editors of the largest newspaper in Canada would put a little more effort into separating accuracy and facts from hype and hysteria, rather than rattling off a piece of doggy doo to fill the page and create a stir.


Steve Barker (formerly of Toronto, left family and friends behind to move to BC from Ontario)

Thank you, Steve.

Update 12-02-29: There appears to be some disagreements brewing between the wiser, more experienced writers and the sliding towards mediocrity editors at The Star.

Walkom: Why Ontario’s pit-bull ban should end

Thanks to the efforts of MPPs from all three parties, Ontarians are being given a chance — a chance — to see a patently bad law buried.

That law is the province-wide ban on pit bulls, a statute enacted seven years ago on the basis of much demagoguery and virtually no evidence.

The ban’s origins were fear and opportunism.

We should all write Mr. Walkom a bunch of thank you e-mails. And maybe send some flowers.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.