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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