‘Ban the deed, not the breed’

Recent attacks in Maple Ridge ignite call for ban on pit bulls

Pit bull attacks in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have re-ignited calls for a ban on the breed.

But the SPCA doesn’t think that is the way to go.

In late July, a pit bull was killed by police after it attacked and injured a Maple Ridge paper carrier.

The teen needed surgery on her hand.

Then on Thursday, a Pitt Meadows couple had their Pomeranian killed by their neighbour’s pit bull.

The first incident brought a quick reaction from the victim of a pit bull attack last summer.

“On the one-year anniversary that our little Yorkshire terrier Tucker was attacked and shaken to death by a pit bull cross rescue dog in Pitt Meadows, I am still shocked that citizens have to put up with the so called ‘pit bull’ in all its variances,” wrote Gregg Wyatt.

“There is enough evidence from hospital trauma wards to wake us up to the danger of some of these breeds. But in true Canadian fashion, we will continue to deal with outcomes rather than preventative [measures], and put our children/grandchildren in danger – except Ontario, which banned the breed and it’s derivatives in 2005.”

Ontario banned breeding and importing pit bulls in 2005, and those that remain must be leashed and muzzled when appearing in public. The number of reported pit bull bites in the city of Toronto dropped from 168 in 2004, to just 13 in 2013, according to the Toronto Star.

The U.K. has a Dangerous Dogs Act, which bans pit bulls and three other breeds – the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino and the fila Brasileiro.

Christie Oxley commented online: “I’m tired of hearing story after story of pit bull breeds attacking, injuring and killing people and other animals. Even if some owners are responsible by choice, it’s clear that a good number aren’t. I, for one, would be in favor of new, tougher laws surrounding these breeds.”

Robin Rodd responded: “I had a pit bull lab cross many years ago. He was an amazing gentle soul. The neighbourhood kids played with him and the dog loved my daughter and played with her and he would walk away if she rough housed.”

Shannon Lind, the Maple Ridge woman whose pit bull attacked a 15-year-old paper carrier last month, said the breed has a lot of great qualities. Before it attacked the girl, her dog had never showed aggression, she said, and was affectionate and loyal.

“They are the most loving dogs,” she said. “More loving than any dog I’ve ever had.”

She thinks the dog felt it was guarding the property when it attacked.

“Having a pit bull ban doesn’t address the issue,” said Marcie Moriarty, the chief prevention and enforcement officer for the SPCA in B.C.

“We feel you ban the deed, not the breed.”

She said that comprehensive review of dangerous dog legislation is needed in B.C., that holds the owners of dangerous dogs accountable for damage their pets may do.

If there were a pit bull ban, people wanting dangerous or vicious dogs would simply come up with a new “breed du jour,” she said.

“When I was growing up, the Doberman Pincher was the mean dog,” she pointed out.

Under the present system, a dog may be deemed dangerous by a city’s bylaws department. But if the owner moves, or when he takes the animal to another municipality, muzzle laws or other restrictions may not apply. That’s another gap that needs to be closed by the province, said Moriarty.

 

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