10.26.2008

bad news for good dogs

Ontario's highest court has upheld the province's unreasonable ban on any breeds classified as pit bulls. Irresponsible owners of dogs of other breeds can do what they please, yet any dog that anyone thinks is a pit bull can be confiscated and killed.

If it weren't for some kind Mississauga Animal Services worker, our Buster might have met that fate on our third day in Canada. The dog whose life we worked so hard to save, the dog of my heart, could have been taken from us and killed - because a nosy neighbour saw him react to another dog, while on a leash.

Breed-specific legislation is bigotry. "Punish the deed, not the breed." For facts on "bully boys," see Bad Rap.

26 comments:

L-girl said...

Please note: this blog is not a forum to debate breed-specific dog bans. Anti- pit bull comments will not be rejected.

L-girl said...

Make that will be rejected!

Tom said...

This ban pisses me off. At our neighbourhood dog park we have a beautiful pit bull that is as lovely and kind as any other dog.

Until they learn it's the owners and not the breed the problem will never be solved.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Tom. I hate it too. It drives me nuts. These dogs are victimized twice - first by abuse that makes them dangerous, then by laws that punish all the dogs, whether abused or not.

There are some positive signs that people are getting the message. I don't know if you read about the Michael Vick dogs, but the fact that they were not put down, that federal authorities allowed them to be adopted and rehabilitated, was a huge step forward. Links are in this post.

David Cho said...

My home insurance company tells me that getting a pit bull won't won't get them to revoke coverage.

But then, if I make a claim involving a dog bite, and the dog is a pit bull, they will cover me and then drop me.

Can you believe that? My neighbor visited the local pound recently (the same one Noah's from), and told me about 70% of the dogs are pit bulls. I would like to learn why that is.

L-girl said...

I believe anything when it comes to insurance companies. It's such a racket.

Re why there were so many pit bulls in the shelter, one, I wouldn't take anyone's word for what dog is a pit bull, unless they know pits, and two, it could just be the population on that given day. Another week could be different. I'd say it could be related to gang and drug activity, but those dogs are usually put down immediately.

David Cho said...

At least my insurance company does not ask what kind of dog I have.

I still think Noah had some pit bull in him.

BTW, another greyhound adoption agency rejected my application. The first one came to have a home visit and elected to reject me without comment. The second one (blood bank) does not visit prospective homes, and rejected my application outright even though I have volunteered there.

Weird people, I must say. So a grey is out, and I think I should just head back to the same shelter Noah came from. I think that would be a great way to honor him.

L-girl said...

That is weird! What was the blood bank's excuse? Not that it matters, just curious.

Going to the same shelter sounds great. Also, don't forget Petfinder.com.

Every dog on Petfinder has been rescued from shelters (or worse) and is in foster care, getting socialized and waiting for a forever home. The more dogs that are adopted from foster care, the more can come out of shelters - so it's the same rescue.

You can search by location, breed, etc. That's how we got Tala. :)

Petfinder

Kevin said...

I have never understood a Pit Bull Ban. My Starbuck (Pug) has a good friend named Bella who is a Pit Bull. They get along great! The only thing "bad" about Bella is she has the worst gas known to humanity!

Seriously, can we get a Rick Mercer style Exhabler for that?

David Cho said...

So how did you go from getting strays (very risky) to petfinder.com which seems to be a much safer thing to do.

I was not the one who went and got Noah from the Shelter. My roommate/landlord did before I moved into his house.

I thought often about what it was like the day Noah was dropped off at the shelter, and how heartbroken he must have been. Perhaps he was abused by the owner, so maybe he was relieved. And I also think about the day my roommate rescued him, and what that day must have been like when he was transported from the shelter to his new home again to be ignored.

We had a wonderful 11 years together, but can't help thinking about what his life must have been like before we became friends. Do you ever do that with yours? I know what is important is that your dogs have good homes now.

I guess I still romanticize the notion of getting a dog from a shelter as opposed to foster care because the former seems more like a real "rescue." It's really all because of Noah.

L-girl said...

So how did you go from getting strays (very risky) to petfinder.com which seems to be a much safer thing to do.

I never felt that taking in a stray dog was risky. And it never was. The dogs we took in were sweet and friendly, and very sick. The only risk was to our wallet!

But there are no strays on the street where we live now.

L-girl said...

Do you ever do that with yours?

I always did. I always wonder what their lives were like - the ones from the street, or from the horrible shelter, and Tala too - because she ended up in rescue somehow.

I guess I still romanticize the notion of getting a dog from a shelter as opposed to foster care because the former seems more like a real "rescue."

It's all rescue. If you like the idea of the shelter better, then go for it. But Petfinder dogs are rescues, too. There's no doubt about that.

David Cho said...

It's all rescue. If you like the idea of the shelter better, then go for it. But Petfinder dogs are rescues, too. There's no doubt about that.

Completely agree.

The trouble in my area is that most petfinder.com dogs are fostered by rescue organizations, two of which already rejected me. I am not sure if I can take another strike, but hey as they say it's better to strike out swinging, right?

L-girl said...

The trouble in my area is that most petfinder.com dogs are fostered by rescue organizations, two of which already rejected me.

That is so weird. You're such a great dog daddy! What is their problem??

David Cho said...

My roommates. Can't think of another reason, but the first one specifically said "boarders." They think I am running a halfway house.

impudent strumpet said...

Yeah, the Toronto Humane Society always seems to have a disproportionate number of pit bulls whenever I look at their site. But I read somewhere that more urban areas have a greater proportion of dogs requiring experienced owners in their shelters, and you more "easier" dogs as you go to more rural areas. There was a reason given for this, but I forget what it was.

But there are no strays on the street where we live now.

You mean you were walking down the street and just found a dog that didn't belong to anyone??? That's surreal!

L-girl said...

You mean you were walking down the street and just found a dog that didn't belong to anyone??? That's surrea!

Sad to say, there are stray dogs in certain neighbourhoods of all US cities. In New York, we lived near several parks, and stray or wild dogs lived in all of them. We saw many more dogs than we could ever take in.

One of our dogs we found in a subway stop on our way to the Bronx Zoo. We cancelled our plans and took her home with us. She was very very sick with mange - but completely housetrained. And so sweet! That was Clyde.

Another of our dogs was wandering around by himself on a freezing cold rainy night. He turned out to be a *very* sick (nearly dead) pit bull, and badly abused. That was our Buster. (His pic is on the sidebar as my Flickr avatar.)

Cody was found on the street by a rescue person - who couldn't keep her because she already had 4 other dogs - all found on the street.

We also took in another stray and found a home for her, the famous Puppy. We had a firm "no third dog" rule. Puppy lived with us for a month.

Because Buster was very aggressive with other dogs (except for his Cody), once we had him, we couldn't take anyone else. There were some strays in our neighbourhood that I and lots of other people left food for. One was pregnant. She must have had some shelter of some type, in a subway or who knows where, because she made it through a very harsh winter, and then I saw her again with her puppy.

It's very sad. But they survive somehow.

L-girl said...

The story of Puppy: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

impudent strumpet said...

Wow, I've only ever seen one unattended dog, and he was a neighbourhood resident seemingly out for a jog (he was running down the road randomly one day, and later on I saw him back with his humans happily leashed). I feel bizarrely posh or something now.

And I love that puppy story!

Cornelia said...

If it weren't for some kind Mississauga Animal Services worker, our Buster might have met that fate on our third day in Canada. The dog whose life we worked so hard to save, the dog of my heart, could have been taken from us and killed - because a nosy neighbour saw him react to another dog, while on a leash.

Breed-specific legislation is bigotry. "Punish the deed, not the breed." For facts on "bully boys," see Bad Rap.

In Germany, you might just have been summoned to report for a pitbull-owner-check together with Buster so that they could have seen everything is all right and there are no problems and you are very good with dogs and there's no danger and they would have given you a license for Buster!

Cornelia said...

The dogs we took in were sweet and friendly, and very sick. The only risk was to our wallet!

Oh, like a stray kitty!

There were some strays in our neighbourhood that I and lots of other people left food for.

Like some kitties I saw during a vacation in Italy many years ago.

She must have had some shelter of some type

There are also stray kitties that don't really move in with people who adopt them from the street but that visit them from time to time.

Cornelia said...

I think Cody and Buster were great friends and very close to each other?

L-girl said...

I think Cody and Buster were great friends and very close to each other?

Cody was Buster's only dog friend. Buster had VERY serious aggression to other dogs. He would have killed any other dog (no exaggeration). But with Cody he was always sweet and gentle. He treated her like a puppy - he let her harass him and hit him and nip him and whatever else. But when he even saw any other dog he would go crazy. It was quite amazing.

Cornelia said...

Did Buster's problem with other dogs stem from the grievous abuse he had been subjected to?

L-girl said...

We assume so. Some of his issues may have been genetic - from dogs that were inter-bred for aggression.

The animal behaviourist we worked with said it was probably a combination of early abuse, early "training" (meaning that he was trained to fight or used as bait) and irresponsible breeding.

A highly respected trainer said his fear-aggression reaction (aggression triggered by extreme fear) was consistent with being used as a bait dog, for other dogs to attack.

With a combination of medication and special training, and constant vigilance on our part, it could be managed. But he could never be like other dogs.

In our home - in his safe little world - he was the best dog in the world. The sweetest, most loving, most obedient dog I ever saw. He was *too* obedient. It was heartbreaking how completely he obeyed - he was never mischeivious, never tested the boundaries - he was a soldier.

Outside of his comfort zone, he was a mess. Either highly aggressive or just plain terrified, howling and shaking with fear.

In addition to this, he had several chronic health conditions that we treated. Since that involved going to a lot of appointments at specialist vets - and he was afraid of new situations and new people - it was very challenging!

Cornelia said...

I just checked about his issues with trauma and fear that stemmed from abuse and sure, definitely!
I also found this:

And although it takes him time to accept and trust people – strangers can't pet him – it only takes a few controlled meetings (complete with treats and brilliant training methods), and he will be a friend for life.

But this will only go so far. Buster can never play with other dogs or ever be off his leash outside. This used to pain me, as all our dogs have been able to run freely in the park. But I finally came to accept it. This is the best life he can have.

Wow, that was good!