Friday, November 19, 2004

Pit Bull Ban

"Pit bull" is a bit of a misnomer. There really is no such breed. Generally, "pit bulls" are a cross between a "bulldog" breed and a terrier. They are also known as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

Most "pit bulls" are not aggressive by nature. They tend to be gentle, playful and loving. However, there are those that have been bred and trained to be aggressive. Even then, they are more aggressive toward other animals, not people. " read more...

I have been raging about this for some time now, but never thought to share it until last night, when I started to think about all of the "roadside zoos" and privately owned exotic animal menageries in Ontario - realizing how backwards and hypocritical this potential law is.

For you out of towners, Ontario is proposing a provincial ban on pit bull ownership to come in to affect sometime in the next few months (which will allow a grandfather clause for currently owned pit bulls).

Now, there have been a rash of attacks via pit bulls over the past year. I believe there have been a half a dozen serious attacks to date in the GTA. And while I don't deny that pit bulls can do much more damage when they bite (due to their powerful jaws), they are no more disposable than any other creature humans have selectively bred for a means to an end.

According to a report I found by Debbye Turner, pit bulls are only one of many dog breeds which have been known to behave aggressively.

Potentially aggressive breeds:

Llasa Apso: can be cranky with kids
Toy poodles: bite out of self defense
Dachsunds: not very patient
Rhodesian Ridgebacks: very dominant breed
Miniature Pinschers: "big dog" mindset in little body
Pekinese: intolerant
Chihuahuas: prefer adults, not tolerant of kids
Chow Chow: one-person dogs, bite without warning
Giant Schnauzers: very dominant breed, will even challenge adults
Old English Sheep Dog: very protective of owner
Cocker Spaniel: very protective of owner
Rottweilers: very protective

As you will notice, a few of these dogs listed are larger breeds and could easily kill a small child - why aren't we also including these breeds in the ban?

Pit bulls did not spring from the earth. All dogs have been selectively bred over several thousands of years, groomed for specific temperaments thought to be desirable.

Furthermore, why is it we think is acceptable to "get rid" of an animal just because they cause human suffering or loss of income (as in the case of trigger happy ranchers, etc.)? This is anthropocentric and short sighted. Once again, making human concerns "separate" from those of the rest of nature.

And what about pet dogs like the Jack Russell? They were bred to kill rodents and other small creatures deemed pests by humans. I have witnessed Jack Russells attacking chipmunks and killing them by the dozens. I have witnessed small dogs being freely allowed to roam unleashed and kill whatever happens across their path. I'm sorry, but if I were the mole, I would like to see an end to these dogs, too.

And cats. I am a cat owner who does not let my cat outdoors. I do not believe domestic cats were meant to be a part of the native ecosystem and I refuse to let mine out to kill songbirds and other wildlife that happens across our yard. Have you seen a cat corner a bird or rabbit? It is brutal and, I'd venture to say, pretty vicious. I'm sure the rabbit would love to see a ban on domestic cats.

Where do you draw the line? Why is it that we can so easily demand the elimination of an animal we helped to shape. It is the classic story of Frankenstein.

There are some organizations, such as Zoocheck Canada, that have been tirelessly working to create provincial legislation to prohibit the ownership of tigers, bears, and other wild animals, and still nothing has been done by our government. It's absurd that someone can still own a tiger in Ontario, but may not be able to adopt a pit bull. Come on?! There have been dozens of "pet" tiger attacks in North America over the past decade. Why is nothing being done?

Rather than using a ban to solve of a human created problem, can we not take reasonable steps to protect the community with education, regulation, and stricter animal cruelty laws? Isn't this ultimately our responsibility to them, the pit bulls?


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