2.27.2012

tell the toronto star: punish the deed, not the breed

This editorial in the Toronto Star is based on the same misinformation and hysteria that led to the pit bull death sentence in the first place. If you care about this issue, please take a moment to write to the Star and inform of them of the facts.

Write to publiced@thestar.ca and letters@thestar.ca.

This is really too long for a really good letter to the editor. Perhaps you can use it as a model to write your own.

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To the editor:

Your editorial "Pit bulls are dangerous and Ontario is right to ban them" (February 27, 2012) is misleading and incorrect. Under the current Dog Owners' Liability Act, any dog that is "alleged" - merely alleged - to be a pit bull or to be menacing can be confiscated from its owner. It falls to the owner to prove the dog is not a pit bull, something that cannot be done, since the term "pit bull" is vague and subjective. Until recently, a confiscated dog was automatically killed without any due process for its owner. Now the dog is allowed to live if a home can be found for it outside Ontario. This is the worst kind of bigotry: judging a creature by its appearance rather than its behaviour.

Your editorial states that "a pit bull can rip out a child’s throat or disembowel another dog." In fact, any large dog that has been abused and trained to fight could do this. But any dog of any breed that has been raised with love and trained properly will behave as a dog should. When dogs are abused by dangerous people, the dog is not a criminal - it is a victim. Your editorial shamefully compares a dog, a sentient creature, to a machine gun, an inanimate object.

In 2005, three days after my family emigrated to Canada, my two dogs were almost removed from my home. A neighbour, reacting to the hysteria of the times, phoned Animal Services, saying she had seen two pit bulls in our yard. Neither of our dogs was a pit bull. The neighbour had never spoken to us and had no idea if our dogs had ever caused any trouble.

Without the kindness of a reasonable Animal Services representative, our dogs - both rescues from past abuse - could have been confiscated and killed. Many people in Ontario have lived through exactly that. Can you imagine the horror?

The people who want this law changed are not a "minority of people" who like "dangerous dogs". We are ordinary Ontarians who love our dogs and believe in justice.

Laura Kaminker
Mississauga, Ontario

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5 comments:

Dharma Seeker said...

Here is my letter. It has already been sent however a friend pointed out that the misinformation about owning a pit bull in Ontario needs to be called out as well. Maybe someone reading this will write a letter and mention it? The piece grossly over simplifies pit bull ownership in Ontario, there are a number of stipulations in addition to muzzling the dogs in public.

In response to Your editorial "Pit bulls are dangerous and Ontario is
right to ban them" (February 27, 2012) which is misleading. You would have your readers believe that only "pit bull fanciers" support removing all breed specific aspects from the Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA). The truth is the OSPCA, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Ontario Health and Safety Board have all publicly denounced breed
specific legislation.

You would have your readers believe pit bulls are inherently dangerous, comparing them to machine guns. The truth is at the turn of the century the "pit bull" was the most popular family pet in America, prized for its intelligence, loyalty and devotion to its owner. In England, the Staffordshire Terrier is called the "nanny dog" due to its affection for children and tendency to watch over and protect them. Staffordshire Terriers, "nanny dogs", are included in Ontario's
"pit bull ban". Several of Michael Vick's dogs (trained fighters and
abuse survivors) are now service and therapy dogs. Far from being a
threat to their communities, they enhance and enrich them.

Going forward I hope The Star spends more time fact checking and less time fear mongering.

allan said...

Excellent letters.

laura k said...

t has already been sent however a friend pointed out that the misinformation about owning a pit bull in Ontario needs to be called out as well. Maybe someone reading this will write a letter and mention it?

My first draft included that, but I had to cut it. It's actually good you didn't try to cover all the points in yours. Shorter letters have a better chance of running.

Hopefully someone else will get that bit.

I'm going to combine our two letters to write to my MPP who voted the wrong way on the 2nd reading of Hershey's Bill.

laura k said...

Oops, meant to say, Dharma Seeker's letter is terrific. I saw it on FB and asked her to post in here. :)

Dharma Seeker said...

I don't know where to start with MPP Kevin Flynn. I will try to recruit some town residents to set up a meeting with him, and a petition as well.

Maybe I should give him a copy of The Lost Dogs?

Combining the letters is a great idea. Maybe I will do the same to cobble together a petition.