Some time ago, I forget the exact date, our wise and esteemed Attorney General passed a law outlawing pit bulls. Many people think this is a good thing as fewer children will have their faces ripped off by these vicious dogs. Pit bulls must be leashed, muzzled and neutered. Eventually, the thinking goes, they will die out and we won’t have problems with them anymore.
The trouble is, no one seems to know just what a pit bull is. It certainly is not a breed recognized by either the Canadian or American Kennel Clubs. There are American pit bull terriers, mastiffs, Staffordshire bull terriers, etc., etc., etc. When confronted with pictures of various dog breeds and asked to pick out the pit bull, Mr. Bryant (the AG) couldn’t do it. So he did the next best thing. He banned any and all breeds that have the major characteristics of pit bull terriers. This includes cross bred dogs. Even if the cross breeding results in a gentler, more even tempered animal, they are on the ‘soon to be extinct’ list. No one denies the fact that the original animal was bred to be a fierce fighter and champion of its territory. Hell, if I had to leave my wife for any extended time, I would sure want a dog like that around to look after her. German shepherds, Dobermans and Rottweilers were all originally bred the same way, for the same purpose. Yet through years of breeding and cross breeding, they have become much more manageable and thus much more acceptable to society. The problem really arose when some nitwits figured out that pit bulls would make excellent combatants in the world of dog fighting. They certainly did and soon the drug dealers were taking a serious look at the dog to prove that ‘mine is bigger than yours’, if you get my drift. Much like a small man has to buy a Camaro to make up for his own physical inadequacies.
Be that as it may, most pit bulls are well mannered, much beloved members of the family. Stats show that out of all the dog bite cases reported over the years, the least have involved pit bulls. Veterinarians, dog club members and private owners all told Mr. Bryant that his law was too vague, would probably face court challenges and seemed in general to be the equivalent of using a sledge hammer to kill a fly. Perhaps the owners of pit bulls should be held to the accountability of the actions of their dogs. On the other hand, when a mother and child go to visit the owner of a dog and the owner warns the mother not to let her child near the dog, and that child is subsequently bitten by the dog, you have to wonder just what the mother was thinking.
Clayton Ruby, a prominent Toronto lawyer, has taken on the case of an owner who feels she is being discriminated against by this ban. She is, as she must prove her dog is not a pit bull, rather than the government proving that it is. An impossible task.
I sincerely hope that Ruby wins for this woman. Our Liberal government is passing all sorts of draconian laws without regard to how they affect society and it is frightening to think they will carry on in their blind belief that they, better than anyone else, know what’s best for the people they are supposed to represent.
A straw poll conducted by a major newspaper showed that 60% of people supported the existing law. That is 60% who don’t know what they’re talking about and got it wrong, in my books.