Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Local Media Going Crazy over New Dog Bite Incident

A pit bull type dog bit a child on Sunday in Dartmouth - and CTV news is now questioning (again) whether or not we should ban pit bulls.

They've got a poll going on asking whether or not pit bulls should be banned - so if you're reading this on December 11th, 2012 - you can go put your voice in there if you want.

The story is that the 4 year old child was with another person at a house - so she didn't know the people at the house she was at where the dog was at - and she bent down to pet the dog - and it bit her on the forehead, and it was a pretty bad bite.

No one can minimize the impact of the bite - the little girl's injuries, and the parents anger should not be brushed away.

The child's owner wants the dog destroyed and restrictions placed on the breed.

As well, city councillor Gloria McCluskey has entered the frey and said "she agrees that mandatory training is needed for pit bull owners. It’s a serious situation and it’s time we looked into this. Some of them are probably lovely dogs, but there’s a history of pit bulls attacking humans and other dogs.”

Last year when there was another incident - we get about one incident per year in the HRM like this - so you can tell that there is really an epidemic of pit bull maulings going on in this end of the country - Gloria McCluskey also got involved - (I guess she fancies herself a dog legislation expert) and at that time she asked City Staff to look into making bylaw A300 tougher in regards to pit bulls - she wanted to "introduce a notice of motion at city hall calling for stiffer fines against the owners of dogs that attack people or pets, and wants consideration for a possible ban on aggressive breeds. "There have been bans in other jurisdictions of breeds known to be aggressive", she said. "people who train their dogs to attack or who have experienced aggressive behaviour from the dog should not be out walking that dog in public without proper controls."

That was in September 2011 - and the report still hasn't come back - it's supposed to come back sometime in the next few months - things happen very slowly at the HRM City Hall I guess when it comes to dogs!

I am not at all interested in re-victimizing the little girl or her parents - when a dog bites a child it is a very serious thing and it should never happen - and when it does happen there should be serious consequences.

But each time it happens people like me have to speak up and say that the dog who bites the child had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DOGS BREED.

It had to do with the circumstances - who was supervising the dog and the child, what was the dogs background, what was the age of the child - was there an adult present - and if not - WHY NOT?

Why did that child's parent let that child go to that house without an adult present? Why was the adult in the house taking a nap?

These questions have to be answered - because every dog in the province of Nova Scotia could potentially be affected by this incident.

We as dog owners and dog advocates can not let hysteria take over - and let the media, and politicians rule our world like they did in Ontario.

We cannot let that happen.

It is times like this right now - that we need to be very careful - and speak up - in conversations with our friends, our MP's, our city councillors - our dog friends - speak up - and do not let this incident turn into breed specific legislation of any type.

Bylaw A300 as it's written right now is sufficient to deal with the dog bite incident that happened with the poor child on Sunday - I hope that the child's parents take the time to read the bylaw - and talk with animal services and understand that what is place right now is sufficient - in the HRM we have dangerous dog legislation - that deals with dangerous DOGS - not dangerous BREEDS - because that's what we have - DOGS.

I really hope sane heads prevail.

And local media - stop sensationalizing - you are doing no service to your readership - we are watching you right now - and we are close to stopping watching you. Take heed - especially you CTV News.....shame on you.


  1. I totally agree. I have a 10 month old son, and our pets include a 3 year old pug and a 13 year old Sheltie terrier mix. I fully hold myself responsible for my sons safety when he is around our and other dogs. The old dog is cranky and sore, not much in the mood to be crawled on by a baby and I totally respect that. Arthur is not allowed to bother the dog, and when he does make his way over there, Lucky normally will either just get up and move when he sees him coming, will give a little growl if he gets poked at or give a lick and leave. Either way I take Arthur away, immediately and prevent him from going back. I say all this just to show:he's my child and my responsibility, and he's my dog and my responsibility. The dog has a right to be a dog and say "no go away" and it's my duty to prevent my son from getting into a potentially harmful situation. If my dog ever bites my child he will not be put to sleep, because it is not his fault. It will be due to improper dillogence on my part and it will be my burden to bear that I let the situation happen. My dogs don't deserve to die, though maybe he would get rehomed if I felt I couldn'tprovide him fair enough safeguard against our child. It would be solely for his own good and only to someone who wanted to care for a geriatric dog. People need I be responsible for their pets. And banning a breed just allows irresponsible owners to be irresponsible with a new and different breed!

  2. Great post Joan. I believe the focus needs to be more on education for everyone. Rather than running down the breed ban legislation road (which has proven to be a major wrong turn time and again)I'd like to see a manditory education program in elementary school around how to properly interact with dogs. There are some wonderful resources out there to educate both parents and children. Dogs are a part of culture and everyone needs to learn at least the basics. I'd also like to see some manditory education with all dog ownership.

  3. I'm with you 100% Joan! Having assessed 100's if not 1000's of dogs I can safely say that it does not depend on the breed. This all falls on the owner as she had full control of the situation with it being in her home. The dog was supposed to be locked up out of the way and it got out. There really isn't anything anyone can do to to fix this and putting a BSL in place is only going to set NS backwards when other provinces have already tried and realised they don't work. They just cause mass hysteria, prejudisim and a lot of innocent dogs (our pets that we see as family members) to be euthanised. It will start with PBs then they will go on to try to ban other breeds. As the saying goes "Punish the deed not the breed", ban the sale of puppies and kittens in all pet stores and on places like kijiji and craigs list so that people have to adopt them from shelters where dogs are assessed, homes are screened and obedience is mandatory for young or untrained dogs! It's simple and will cost HRM very little. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

  4. i am sure this was not a pure bred pitbull but just a generalization as usual. i would be interested to know. i have heard your plea over the years of blogging that this is not a breed issue--no matter what the breed in this unfortunate situation-- i now think i disagree somewhat with you on this point-- and i am interested in that conversation for all that veheminantly disagree.

  5. You should be very interested in this Janice -because as the owner of a huge breed of dog you will be the first one targeted by breed discrimation that's going on - mandatory training if you want to acquire a nephew dog - and who will be your trainer? Will they be a positive trainer? Who chooses it for you? Where do you have to go? How much will it cost? Can you afford it? It might decided whether or not you can vet the dog you want. And do you think an irresponsible
    Owner is going to go through all that bullshit? I don't think so - they're still going to do what they want and get the dogs they want and support back yard breeders - it's a dangerous road to travel down - the same as with mandatory spay and neuter.

    If you disagree I think it's just because we haven't talked about it enough.

  6. While I'm not for breed bans of any breed, but I do have to say that I somewhat agree with Splorin Wolfies post. I have met many lovely tempered Pitts, but I have met far more that make me a little uneasy. Responsible ownership and early socialization is essential, but sometimes I wonder if it is enough. I think one of the issues with this breed is that they are physically built so that if something does go wrong it can go terriably wrong as they are such powerful, determined animals the potiental exists to do a great deal of damage. Personally, I believe there is more risk of dog to dog aggression with Pitts than there is dog to people aggression. I do find that many advocates of this breed tend to completely shut down and put their head in the sand when it comes to any criticizem of their breed. This is really unfortunate, because many other breeders have willingly and successfully addressed temperment issues in their breeds. I do realize that these dogs really suffer from unregulated and irresponsible breeding practices. I just think that there are many factors affecting this breed and it's perception in the general public. It would be nice to see an honest, open and realistic discussion take place about this breed so that everyone could more forward in a positve way for the betterment of these dogs.

  7. i think you somewhat make my point: And do you think an irresponsible
    Owner is going to go through all that bullshit? I don't think so - they're still going to do what they want and get the dogs they want and support back yard breeders -

  8. It's sad that you don't believe in your cause enough, and that you feel you have to censor your comments. This is exactly why this debate will continue to rage on and these dogs will continue to be at risk. The people who say they love them so much are one of their biggest problems.

  9. I don't understand what you mean Marjorie?

  10. sorry Joan i should have clarified my point a little better--i was trying to say legislation will never work because every dog out there is some kind of pitty cross--it would be impossible to implement and would be a disaster. manditory training will never work because of the scope of people that own mixed breeds. the only point i was trying to make yesterday was that i was starting to wonder if there was something to all the attacts being from or at least labels as pitbulls. i now think i should reconsider that assumption---for one--to properly make this case i would need to know the numbers of people in Nova scotia that own dogs--and of that number--how many are pitty or pitty crosses or "muscular" dogs. i bet the number is HIGH! i bet the proportion is so high that it gives the 1 or 2 attacts out there a year a false perception given that there are probably tens of thousands of pitty type mixed breeds.

    also--where we the girls parents at the time of the attack and why was she left with people that left her unattended with any type of dog?