we get a bad rap

Public hearings on the proposed ban of pit bull dogs in the province of Ontario began yesterday. Mothers of two children who were attacked by dogs testified.

One woman spoke in favor of the breed-specific legislation, but the mother of a child who was killed by a dog opposes the ban. I liken this to people who have had a loved one murdered and still oppose the death penalty, something I tremendously respect and admire.

Two things to note. One, contrary to what you may have heard, Ontario has not yet banned pit-bulls. It is still illegal for a landlord to deny residence on the basis of dog ownership, regardless of breed (though it might be very difficult to enforce).

Two, breed-specific legislation does not work. It simply does not reduce the incidents of attacks. For very good information on breed-specific legislation, and on pit bulls in general, see the good folks at BAD RAP, Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls. Click here for wonderful bully-boy photos.


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Glad to see your checking up on this....

I thought they had already gone and done it, that's what the news made it sound like.

Rognar said...

I think the defenders of pit bulls and similar breeds manipulate the statistics for their own purposes. I have no doubt that people get bitten by cocker spaniels every day, but I have never heard of anyone being mauled to death by a cocker spaniel. You have to recognize the severity of the attack in any statistical analysis of the relative threat of different dog breeds. Personally, I can't see how anyone can support gun control and oppose dog control, they seem to be completely synonymous to me. Good dog owners, just like good gun owners, pose no threat to the public, no matter what breed or calibre they own.

laura k said...

1 - The numbers are not manipulated. They come from neutral (i.e. not animal-lover) sources. You hear about pit bull attacks because they make the news. What makes the news should not be confused with what happens.

2 - The vast majority of attacks are from abused, mistreated, mistrained animals. Likewise, the vast majority of pit bulls are sweet, loving, gentle dogs.

3 - Gun ownership has nothing to do with this. If the issues are linked in your mind, then so be it. But dogs are sentient creatures. Guns are inanimate objects. One should never confuse the two.

laura k said...

Something else to note. For decades one breed or another has been labeled dangerous and been the target of people who would ban them.

When I was a kid, it was German Shepherds. Now Shepherds are seen as intelligent, brave and noble. (Which of course they are!) Later, it was Dobermans, then Rottweilers. Now it's American Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Terriers ("pit bulls"). So the hype and panic is nothing new.

Rognar said...

I do not believe the media would choose not to report a lethal dog attack just because it was a cocker spaniel involved rather than a pit bull. If anything, that would make it even more newsworthy since it is so unusual.

Also, dogs are sentient creatures, but dog breeds are the result of human intervention in dog's natural evolution. Dog breeds are manufactured as surely as guns are. If we stop the selective breeding of pit bulls, the breed will eventually disappear without a single dog being put down. That is far more humane than the current approach of killing pit bulls after they kill people or other dogs.

laura k said...

I never miss an opportunity to see a conspiracy. :)

And yes, breeding is absolutely artificial and human-created. I actually hate dog breeding altogether.

I'd like to see all breeding stop. Eventually dogs would return to their natural state. If you've ever been in a country where street dogs abound, that's what the "natural" canine looks like. They are smarter and healthier than their overbred cousins. And if people weren't so intent on controlling dogs' appearance, there'd be fewer abandoned animals.

Yes, it's another soapbox of mine!

But still, though I agree that breeds are artificial constructs, the dogs are still here with us and can't be treated like things.

Rognar said...

I don't think rottweilers are off the hook by the way. We have had some lethal attacks by rottweilers too. However, the breed du jour for people who want to intimidate their neighbourhood is the pit bull, so the number of pit bull attacks is growing.

laura k said...

I would *love* to see the selective breeding of pit bulls - and all breeds - stop right now. All our dogs have been rescues, and the numbers of abandoned animals out there is staggering. Heartbreaking.

But bans won't stop the breeding. They will only lead to more abandoned animals.

And no, I don't think the media chooses not to report attacks by cocker spaniels. But lethal or near-lethal attacks are very, very rare. Banning pit bulls is like castrating all men because of rape. (Though the percentage of men who rape is waaaaay higher than the percentage of pit bulls who attack...)

laura k said...

More places to read about why breed-specific legislation doesn't work:



The second link is Canadian.

Over and out!

Rognar said...

I don't know all the details of the Ontario ban, but my understanding is that no existing pit bulls would be destroyed. The ban would prevent the breeding or importation of pit bulls.

I would be willing to entertain a proposal to castrate rapists, assuming the burden of proof was set pretty high. :)

Rognar said...

By the way, I'm just playing devil's advocate on this issue. I don't really have a strong opinion about it one way or the other. As long as my neighbours' dogs don't crap on my lawn, I'm happy.

laura k said...

Devil's advocate - I suspected as much. :)

Castration of rapists - There my feminist/anti-rape activism clashes with my strong belief in bodily integrity. I guess pre-emptive strikes wouldn't work in this case, huh? :)

Rognar said...

Now-now, as an American, you should know the danger of pre-emptive strikes.

laura k said...

Excuse me, but I live with a wonderful pit-mix, defend the breed at every opportunity, and am thoroughly against breed-specific legislation of all types.

The person you are responding to wrote this 4 months ago and won't see any of this. Thanks for the info all the same.

laura k said...

On second thought, I'll link back to this so everyone can read it.