News Views: Biting back on breed bans

Maple Ridge mayor wants to review dog bylaw in this city

Buttons was killed by another dog in Pitt Meadows.

Buttons was killed by another dog in Pitt Meadows.

A Maple Ridge veterinarian is wearing a tutu to protest Montreal’s pit bull ban and wants owners of such breeds to put them on their pets, too.

Four months after the death of a Montreal woman following a dog attack, the city passed a ban on dogs perceived to be pit bulls or pit bull crosses. A court decision has since stalled that bylaw’s implementation, but the city still invoked regulations requiring people to register and muzzle their pit-bull type dogs.

Dr. Adrian Walton of Dewdney Animal Hospital in Maple Ridge wants to raise funds to support a campaign to prevent the ban in Montreal, suggesting that it equates to a death sentence for such breeds in animal shelters.

He suggests veterinarians are put in a position of euthanizing healthy, happy, friendly dogs for political purposes.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, who had a bull mastiff/pit bull cross, has signed a petition to stop the Montreal ban and wants Maple Ridge to seek a better way of regulating pets to prevent dog attacks.

Last week, the Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a motion from Pitt Meadows asking the provincial government to set up a dangerous dog registry that all animal control agencies and police would be required to use.

Walton has no problem euthanizing dangerous dogs. But he said many people can’t distinguish a pit bull from a similar breed, while other dogs, such as German shepherds, have as much jaw power.

He feels that if pit bulls are banned, people will just get other powerful dogs, which could also be dangerous.

Decades ago, Dobermans were considered dangerous dogs.

Walton supports Calgary’s responsible pet ownership bylaw, putting the onus on people to license and control their dogs.

Other experts suggest making obedience training for dogs mandatory, or training people, children in particular, how to act around aggressive dogs.

Surveys have shown that bylaws don’t stop dog bites.

Muzzles work, although tutus are more colourful.


– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News