Pit­bull ban would have pre­vented dog at­tack

The Daily Courier - - OPINION - By LORI WEL­BOURNE

Fighter dogs like the Mas­tiff-Presa Ca­narios that fa­tally at­tacked a small ther­apy dog on the Mis­sion Creek Green­way in Kelowna last Sun­day should not be al­lowed in pub­lic with­out wear­ing an un­break­able muz­zle. Yet this is per­mit­ted in our com­mu­nity.

What are we wait­ing for? A child to be mauled to death? That will likely hap­pen if some­thing’s not done about the shock­ingly weak dog laws in the Okana­gan and the con­tin­ued im­por­ta­tion of th­ese an­i­mals.

The bar­baric death of an in­no­cent five-yearold boy could have eas­ily hap­pened when Jay­den McCart­ney’s pre­cious pet was at­tacked last week­end. If Jay­den had been hold­ing Cazzie’s leash like he of­ten did, he could have been vi­ciously killed as well.

Thank good­ness that did not hap­pen and his par­ents will not suf­fer the unimag­in­able heartache hun­dreds of other par­ents have been left with af­ter their chil­dren were sense­lessly slaugh­tered.

The par­ents of a seven-year-old boy who was mauled to death by two pit­bulls in Mas­sachusetts the day be­fore Cazzie’s at­tack are not as for­tu­nate. Nei­ther is the fam­ily of a mid­dle-aged woman de­stroyed by her own trusted pit­bull in Aus­tralia four days later.

Set your Google alerts to dog at­tacks and you’ll see the never-end­ing re­ports of grue­some as­saults on peo­ple and pets each and ev­ery day — al­most al­ways by pit­bull type dogs. Not be­cause that’s what the me­dia chooses to re­port on, but be­cause th­ese at­tacks are far more cat­a­strophic than the bites from reg­u­lar non-fight­ing breed dogs.

It’s hard to ar­gue with so many dead and mu­ti­lated bod­ies, but the fa­nat­ics do ex­actly that. One of their most com­mon state­ments is “it’s all how you raise them.” That is en­tirely un­true, with count­less cases of well raised, much loved pit­bull type dogs sud­denly at­tack­ing with­out provo­ca­tion, of­ten on their own­ers.

But even if it were true, why should any­one’s life de­pend on how well some­one else raises their in­her­ently dan­ger­ous dog?

Our com­mu­nity should be grate­ful to the McCart­ney fam­ily for bravely shar­ing their story with the pub­lic. Dog-at­tack vic­tims aren’t just vic­tim­ized by the phys­i­cal and emo­tional pain in­flicted by their ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal and the af­ter­math, but by the ver­bal and writ­ten abuse from fa­nat­ics who don’t care about them and only care about pro­tect­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of the breed.

The me­dia isn’t in­formed about most of th­ese at­tacks, so the vast ma­jor­ity of them never even make the news. But they al­ways should, and the breed should al­ways be iden­ti­fied. The pub­lic has a right to know.

Pit­bull type dogs kill, dis­fig­ure and se­verely in­jure more hu­mans and an­i­mals than all other breeds com­bined. They can do as much dam­age to their vic­tim as a lion and should not be treated like they are reg­u­lar dogs. They were bred for cen­turies for blood sport, and no amount of love or train­ing can keep them from killing if they de­cide to at­tack. They are like loaded guns that can pull their own trig­ger.

Our cur­rent dog laws ben­e­fit the own­ers of the at­tack­ing dogs rather than the vic­tims. Breed spe­cific leg­is­la­tion (BSL) would change that.

The pur­pose of BSL for pit­bull-type dogs is to elim­i­nate maul­ing in­juries and deaths by the breeds that in­flict the ma­jor­ity of se­vere and deadly at­tacks.

On­tario has banned pit­bulls for 13 years now to great suc­cess, im­ple­ment­ing stricter reg­u­la­tions such as hav­ing to wear a muz­zle for grand­fa­thered pit­bulls and re­quir­ing com­pre­hen­sive in­sur­ance on their dan­ger­ous an­i­mal.

There is also a provincewide ban in the works for Que­bec af­ter 55-year-old Chris­tiane Vad­nais was killed by her neigh­bour’s pit­bull a year ago.

But the bru­tal killing five months be­fore that in Kam­loops of 78-year-old Kath­leen Green by her grand­son’s bull ter­rier has seem­ingly made no im­pact on our cur­rent dog reg­u­la­tions.

So what’s it go­ing to take, coun­cil? Please don’t wait un­til the tragic death of an in­no­cent child be­fore do­ing the right thing. Use your power and pro­tect the pub­lic now.

The only ones who won’t ben­e­fit from BSL are dog­fight­ers, breed­ers, any­one else prof­it­ing from their ex­is­tence and own­ers who don’t want to com­ply with rea­son­able reg­u­la­tions to keep the pub­lic safe.

When dog fight­ing was out­lawed, the breed­ing of all pit­bull type dogs should have been out­lawed too. They were never meant to be pets.

Google the re­cent Fifth Es­tate episode: Pit­bulls Un­leashed to learn more.

Lori Wel­bourne is a lo­cal writer.

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