Note - this post is about a dog attack that happened in Stellarton Nova Scotia this week in which a "Valley bull dog" attacked 2 children and an adult and was shot by a police officer and killed so that paramedics could reach the injured humans - one of the only attacks covered by the news here in Nova Scotia in all of 2008.
So this morning I get an email with an article from Rick Howe which has a quote from HRM Councilor in which he has said - "there are too many of these incidents" and that he’ll push the city to adopt a breed ban.
This article was being sent to 1520 people on the list I was sent it by, and then I got it from another list that has 653 members - so a LOT of people got this email today.
So I did what I always do when I get these kinds of reactive emails from politicians - and I wrote Mr. Blumenthal an email. First off - here is the article that I got by Rick Howe -
Dog attack reignites breed ban debate
December 10, 2008 - 5:44 am
By: Rick Howe
There are calls for a ban on certain dog breeds in Nova Scotia after Monday’s mauling of a young boy and two women in Stellarton.
But opponents say it’s the dog owners who should be targeted, not the dog.
An eight-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after the family pet, a Valley bulldog suddenly attacked and a Stellarton police officer was forced to shoot the animal.
Halifax city councillor Jerry Blumenthal says there are too many of these incidents and he’ll push the city to adopt a breed ban.
“There’s certain dogs, there’s certain breeds that should not be allowed in the province of Nova Scotia,” he said.
But Annette Armitage of Animal Rescue says many of these dogs get a bum rap.
“No dog attack is acceptable,” she said. “But there are so many triggers that could have provoked the dog. There’s not enough information that’s out to the general public to see if the dog was at fault.”
Guysborough county already has a ban in place on pit bulls and Rottweilers, and warden Lloyd Hines says it seems to be working.
“We’re not getting any complaints about them and we’re not aware of any dog attacks that have occurred,” he said, adding he’d prefer a provincial law allowing for tougher action against dog owners.
The boy injured in the Stellarton attack will need plastic surgery to repair injuries to his head and face.
It should be noted that police shot a Labrador Retriever in Westville in a similar incident less than a week prior to the Stellarton incident. Article link:
http://www.ngnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=199068&sc=49 However, no calls for a breed ban occurred until this second incident involving the “Valley Bulldog” (boxer-bulldog cross).
And now, here is the letter I wrote to Mr. Blumenthal -
Dear Ms. Blumenthal,
I am a dog owner in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and I have read Mr. Howe's article which notes that you would like to put forward breed specific legislation in the HRM.
I would like to suggest a couple thoughts to you that perhaps have not occurred to you regarding this topic.
Neither of the dogs that were shot in the last week in Nova Scotia are targetted breeds whenever breed specific legislation is enacted - so those 2 attacks would still have happened. Those 2 attacks were put upon by a labrador retreiver, and a valley bull dog - 2 very popular, and non-targetted breeds. Typical breeds targetted by breed specific legislation include pit bull type dogs, rottweillers, presa canarios, akitas, and dogs like that - so you wish to remove attacks like the ones in the last week would have been fruitless.
Breed specific legislation gives people a false sense of security - and your calling out for it at this time is a perfect example of it. It is not specific breeds of dog that cause attacks - it is only types of OWNER'S dogs who cause attacks. If an owner has not socialized their dog, has not treated their dog well, has kept their dog chained in the back yard the dog's whole life, has allowed the dog to be
teased by children, has abused the dog - if the OWNER has done things like this to ANY BREED OF DOG - then you have a dangerous dog - who under very unfortunate circumstances - is going to lead to to a very unfortunate attack.
I am sorry to tell you, Mr. Blumenthal - that breed specific legislation does not work. Extinction of certain breeds does not work. It only makes people feel secure until a labrador retriever, or a german shepherd kills a child - then that breed gets added to the list of banned breeds.
Very shortly after I sent that email to Mr. Blumenthal, he emailed me back with the following -
"i specified no breed just vicious dogs"
So, heartened by that response, I emailed him again -
Hi again Mr. Blumenthal - so were you completely mis-quoted by Mr. Howe? Because his exact quote in his article was ""There's certain dogs, there's certain breeds that should not be allowed in the province of Nova Scotia," he said."
And this quote has gone nation wide on dog bsl lists - so you can be expecting to get a lot of feedback about this quote today. The HRM already has a dangerous dog law with A300 - how would you want to change the law? I don't quite understand how you would want to change it to see it be anything different than what it is now - you can't really legislate to catch dogs that might possibly have the possibility of attacking someone on the off-chance some day.
And I am saying that because I understand the difference between a normal dog and a dog who might possibly be vicious - ie has a propsensity to snap and lunge.
Unfortunately, I have not heard anything back. So he hasn't cleared up whether or not he was mis-quoted - but it certainly sounds like he was.
When I read the quote, I have to admit I was confused - because it was my understanding that Jerry Blumenthal was actually a dog friendly Councilor - it was him who had Seaview Park set up as an off-leash park - so it would make sense to me that he actually likes dogs. So for him to say now that he wants bsl doesn't make sense.
So I think for a member of the press - albeit it just being someone's blog - misquoting someone - and then for that misquote to go all around North America - is HIGHLY inflammatory. Because I don't imagine me correcting the situation on my blog is going to have the calming effect that it should.
Right now thousands of people think that bsl is basically a done deal in Nova Scotia because of the email sent out by bsl-updates.
I'd also like to clarify that there is in fact NO BSL in all of Guysborough County as stated by Rick Howe - there is only bsl in the district of the Municipality of Guysborough - of which Lloyd Hines is the Warden of. Guysborough County is made up of TWO municipalities - there is also the district of the Municipality of St. Mary's - and I have received many emails from residents of that community when I had my "Skip Guysborough" website telling me that they LOVE ALL BREEDS OF DOG in that municipality and there is bsl in that municipality. That municipality has the historic Village - Sherbrooke Village - which is in fact DOG FRIENDLY. It's only the district of the Municipality of Guysborough that HATES DOGS. That municipality is led by the disgusting Lloyd Hines who is also the head of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities who recently, with Bill 138 tried to bring breed restrictions to all of Nova Scotia - but was summarily unsuccessful this time - luckily for us.