UPDATE, 22 October 2008

David and Chiva are taking a break from the Tour de Dog but are sure to plan another ride in the near future. A sincere thank you to all of you who helped David and Chiva in countless ways. The Tour de Dog would not be possible without your support. THANK YOU!

View a Photo Documentary of Tour de Dog by Jason Houge

Tour de Dog is past states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and New York.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Thoughts on Breed Specific Legislation

With the right care and attention, I believe ALL puppies can make wonderful and loving pets. With the wrong care and attention, puppies and dogs can be dangerous animals that can fatally wound people.

In one of the latest stops of the Tour de Dog, Ontario, Canada, a breed specific law has passed that aims to eliminate "pit bull type" dogs. This type of legislation is highly flawed and has no statistical data to back it. Thousands of dogs are being unfairly and tragically confiscated and destroyed. When dogs fatally attack people, I continue to hear from experts that it is because the dog is a VICTIM of an irresponsible, neglectful, and/or abusive owner that has trained the dog to behave this way. More emphasis should be on punishing the owners and not the dogs.

Here are a few points you should know about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL):

1) BSL is a highly flawed, shotgun approach that is unjust to many innocent dogs.

2) Currently there is no database that statistically reports the number of dog bites and fatal dog attacks based upon a certain breed and its population numbers. Thus more research is essential before enacting legislative action.

3) Studies estimate that there are over 4.5 million dog bites each year in the United States. Of these millions of bites, only 10-20 will be fatal. Although extremely tragic, this small overall number does not warrant exterminating an entire breed.

4) Well-enforced laws that punish owners of dogs rather than directly punishing the involved and uninvolved dogs is more justified, ethically sound, and overall effective in preventing attacks.

5) Determining the make-up of a dog can be extremely challenging. For example, I do not know what Chiva has in her. My guess is boxer, shepherd, husky, and chow. Enforcement and litigation fees are tremendous and nightmarish.

6) If you ban a pit bull, why won't people looking for an aggressive dog abuse another large breed (Rottweiler, St. Bernard, Doberman, Golden Retriever, etc.). Where will the BSL stop? Will BSL ban 25 breeds that have been involved with fatallly attacking people?

7) Many other factors other than breed type influence why a dog attacked a person. For example, has the dog been abused? Has the dog been poorly socialized? Has been left on a chain for most its life?

8) A 2000 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association states that between 1979 through 1998, 25 different breeds or crossbreeds of dogs were involved in fatal human attacks (not just pit bull types).

9) The law may actually attract people to want the banned breed. If that is the most dangerous and aggressive breed, people who want dogs for the wrong reason will be attached to them.

10) First we should try implementing restrictions on breeds. For example, a course and training that covers responsible pit bull ownership should be mandatory for owners. A special license must be obtained to own a pit bull or other breeds. Banning an entire breed is nothing more than an extreme measure that is unfair to the tens of thousands of dogs of that breed that are not dangerous. The key is keeping the dogs away from irresponsible and abusive owners.

11) Pit bulls and pit bull type dogs make wonderful pets. I know many people who own pits, and they are as loving as can be.

My message to those concerned about BSL is the following:

We must continue to educate the public and to press politicians so that more people are aware that BSL is an unfair and ineffective form of animal control. Moreover, we must educate the public on how to responsible own a dog as well as to prevent dog attacks and bites in the first place. Get informed and get involved. Voice your opinion and have the statistics and facts to back it. For more information and sources, please take a look at the links below:

HSUS Statement on Breed Specific Legislation
Community Guide to Dog Bite Prevention
Information on Ontario's Dog Owner's Liability Act

Thank you to those who continue to comment about BSL. My goal is to have this website where people can voice their opinion regarding issues pertaining to animal rescue and control. Please continue to share links and to voice your thoughts.



Anonymous said...

Thank you very very much for blogging on this issue while passing through Ontario!
Safe trip home to you and Chiva.


[quote]Appeal of Ontario's pit bull ban to be heard in court Sept. 15 and 16

2 hours ago

TORONTO — An appeal of Ontario's legislation banning pit bulls in the province will be heard in the Court of Appeal next week.

In late March, the provincial government claimed victory after the controversial law survived a constitutional challenge. But a judge did change the law in two ways by ruling the ban on "pit bull terriers" fails to refer to a specific type or breed of dog.

Superior Court Justice Thea Herman also ruled against letting the province rely on vets to identify those dogs captured by the law.

Lawyer Clayton Ruby, who led the challenge, argued the ban is unconstitutional and too broad because it bans all pit bulls.

He says the two earlier victories were "not enough" and appealed Herman's decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The Attorney General's office cross-appealed and all appeals will be heard next Monday and Tuesday.

Elizabeth said...

Dave -

Have you tried contacting National Geographic? DogTown has been covering some of this type issue. Pretty interesting, especially after the Michael Vick tragedy.


Pibble Pal said...

A Few Ontario Rescues that help Pits





Also check your local SPCA

There is also a great Rescue out in BC helping these dogs and they have lots of information on their site with loads of pictures of their great dogs


Thank you David and Chiva!

Pibble Pal said...

Further info on that AVMA Study mentioned.

From AFF




Statement issued by CDC

[quote]The CDC no longer keeps track of dog bite fatalities by breed and has posted the following statement on their website:

"A CDC study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years (Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998). It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill."


** The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released statement on the erroneous use and conclusions of the CDC study:[/quote]

Pibble Pal said...

In Canada the only Study available is the CHIRPP Report.


You can read the entire OVMA testimony(as well as the testimony of others) at the Hearing into Bill 132 here


Here is a small excerpt..

[quote]...An argument is sometimes made that, while all dogs bite, only a few breeds cause serious injury when they attack. Again, this hypothesis does not withstand scrutiny. A study by the Canadian hospitals injury reporting and prevention program (CHIRPP) examined the dog breeds involved in attacks that were serious enough that the victim sought medical attention at one of eight reporting hospitals. The study revealed that 50 different types of purebreds and 33 types of crossbreeds had been involved in the attacks, the most common breeds being German shepherds, cocker spaniels, Rottweilers and golden retrievers....[/quote]

Pibble Pal said...

"Court reserves decision on appeal of (Ontario) pit bull ban"


[quote]...He told a group of supporters that he wasn't optimistic that the Appeal Court would overturn the ban, but said he would prepare to file a leave of application for the Supreme Court of Canada....[/quote]

boywunder said...

Hey David, it's been awesome keeping track of your trip.

Since you live in Seattle. Or at least you did before your trip began, here's a link to FABB, which is a group in the Seattle area put together to fight BSL, for anyone interested.


And a great article about how BSL was lifted in the Netherlands because they found that it didn't work.


Pibble Pal said...

Thought I`d let you know that the Ontario Gov`t will continue to slaughter thousands of innocent dogs.

Appeal dismissed-Gov`t cross appeal allowed

Lawyers Press Release

[quote]Clayton Ruby responds to the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision in Cochrane v. Ontario (Attorney General) regarding the ban on pit bulls

TORONTO, Oct. 24 /CNW/ - The Court of Appeal released its decision today
on the Constitutional challenge to the amendments to the Dog Owners Liability
Act. The Court of Appeal dismissed Ms Cochrane's appeal and allowed the
Attorney General's cross appeal. As a result, all of the amendments to the Dog
Owners Liability Act are in force in Ontario, even those struck down by
Justice Herman as unconstitutional.
"Sadly, the absolute and unnecessary ban on 'Pit bulls' in Ontario
We are very disappointed with the decision of the Court of Appeal. We
continue to believe that the definition of 'pit bull' is overly broad and
vague. The evidence clearly demonstrates that the definition captures dogs
that pose no threat to any person or animal.
Justice Herman and now the Court of Appeal have simply accepted the
government's assertion that there is a 'reasoned apprehension of harm' about
'pit bulls' to justify the ban, without allowing us to show that there is no
credible evidence to support this.
It is a sad day in Ontario. Kind, loving, gentle dogs are being killed
across this Province for no reason. The Provincial Government should focus
their efforts and resources on identifying truly dangerous dogs rather than
apprehending and killing dogs that pose no threat at all.
We are considering an appeal of this decision to the Supreme Court of

Hopefully American Citizens and others will not visit or spend money in the Province of Ontario, Canada until the Gov`t voluntarily rescinds this Law and stops slaughtering innocent dogs simply due to their look.
You can make a difference.
Money talks.
They need to learn a harsh financial lesson.

Estimates have placed the figure well over 4000 dogs killed to date.
Only 1 was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier(Pit Bull according to the law)
The rest were mutts of unknown origin.

Sad day indeed

Anonymous said...

Didn`t know you were from Seattle.

There`s a group in Seattle who won`t allow anyone who disagrees with them or anyone who has factual info to post on their site.
Seems that FACTS scare them.

Here`s a great blog posting about their site.

[quote]...when a quest for vengeance becomes dangerous[/quote]

Pay particular attention to the comment by Jim Crosby.


Pibble Pal said...

You`re tired???
Have a good rest and THANK YOU
Both of you.
Enjoyed reading about your trip.