Category : Solutions (Bad)

Letter to Montréal city councillors

Dear Sir/Madam:

Three months after offering assistance and experience to Mayor Coderre in drafting an effective animal control bylaw, we find ourselves in the same position again – offering help and hoping for a reasonable and personal reply.

Toronto’s real dog bite data

Why the Toronto Star’s October 2014 editorial saying that Ontario’s “pit bull” ban has worked is not only misleading, but also uses statistics that are scientifically impossible to obtain with any accuracy.

Where does your money go when you donate to HSUS?

According to its own 2011 tax return, The Humane Society of the United States received donations of $122 million for the year and used $38 million or 31% on salaries, compensation, and employee benefits with 19 individuals listed as receiving compensation between $100,000 and $300,000.

Additionally, $50 million or 41% of donations received were spent on marketing and advertising, fundraising, and educational materials while only $6.7 million was actually reported as being given or granted to animal organizations.

However, a further look by into these organizational grants made by HSUS found that little more than $300,000 of the $6.7 million found its way to “hands on pet shelters” where the organization was involved with the “daily care, adoption, and/or rehabilitation of dogs, cats, rabbits and horses.”

The $300,000 granted by HSUS during 2011 represented less than ½ of 1 percent (.5%) of the $122 million in donations received by HSUS during the year.


Here’s the simplified version:

Donate $100 of your hard-earned money to HSUS to help animals.

$31 goes to salaries and benefits.

$41 goes to marketing, advertising, fundraising. This includes “public policy advocacy” (i.e., lobbying).

$6.70 apparently goes to animal organizations. However, it seems that of that $6.70, only FIFTY CENTS actually makes it to hands-on animal helpers.

Out of your pocket: ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Into a real shelter or rescue group’s bank account: FIFTY CENTS.

I cannot comprehend the idea of a charitable organization being allowed to function this way and still maintain its charitable status. In fact, this should be a criminal offence.


Read more here:

Witch! Witch!

Earlier this year, I introduced someone to the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. When we got to the Witch scene, I was struck by the similarities between a “witch hunt” and a “pit bull hunt”.

Is my dog a “pit bull” in Ontario?

Today, a member of one of the Internet groups that I’m on asked if a certain mix of dog has to be muzzled in Ontario. Here’s my answer. I would like to say “to avoid confusion”, but unfortunately that wouldn’t be true.

Bad news from Florida

Discouraging news from Florida today. Looks like SB (Senate Bill) 1322,which would have repealed the Miami-Dade breed ban, has been stalled and perhaps even killed at the subcommittee level.

Unbelievable misuse of taxpayers’ money

I have to say, I cannot recall ever seeing a city do this before. The City of Brampton has taken out a full-page ad in their local newspaper in order to “defend” their employees’ actions in seizing two family pets and scheduling their destruction. So, not only does Rui Branco (the owner of one of the dogs) have to pay for his own lawyer, but his (and many other irate dog owners’) taxes are being used to help the city try to kill his dog and to try to hoodwink the public with cover-their-butt propaganda!

Can’t travel through Winnipeg with my dog, either!

Some people made a suggestion to a friend of mine that, if she wants to move from the West Coast of Canada to Nova Scotia with her dogs, she should drive to Winnipeg and then fly the rest of the way in order to skip dog-hating Ontario. I investigated that possibility and here’s the (bad) news.

In case anyone was wondering?

In 2005, a lady wrote to then Ontario Minister of Tourism, Jim Bradley, to find out if she could drive through Ontario with her dogs to get from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia. This was his reply.

Complicit in their own diminishment

In case you were wondering how anybody could persuade 70+ intelligent, rational, elected government representatives to define a dog as dangerous based only on they way it looks, here’s a Toronto Star article explaining how.

Journalist with good news story ends on a sour note

Some good news out of Ontario for two condemned young dogs. They’ve been shipped to the SPCA in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It’s a shame that Shawn Berry from the Daily Gleaner felt it necessary to end the story by quoting from the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeals judges. In my opinion, it is probably one of the most inaccurate and inflammatory statements ever put into print by a judge about “pit bulls”.

Animal Rights reviewed (again)

I was in a bookstore yesterday browsing the pet section and came across Ingrid Newkirk’s book “The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights”. I didn’t buy it, although I still may. What I did do, however, was collect all my earlier articles on animal rights organizations. Here is what I’ve collected to-date.

Facebook group "Boycott Nike"

Message from the owner of the Facebook group “Boycott Nike”: “I want to remind everyone NOT to buy Nike during this holiday season. They continue to supply Michael Vick with free product but refused to send me free sneakers for the volunteers at my local animal shelter. Please encourage your friends and family to do the same. Thank you.”

Stop Viacom and BET from airing "The Michael Vick Project"

Andrew Kirschner from the group “Stop Viacom and BET from airing The Michael Vick Project” spoke with a representative from Viacom this week who confirmed that BET will be airing the Michael Vick Reality Project. As you know, $Vick$ signed a “lucrative contract” (undisclosed terms) to star in his own reality show. It is time for us to prepare to boycott the show’s commercial sponsors.

No animal cruelty charges?

An emaciated pit bull and her eight neglected puppies, whose teenage owners advertised them for sale on, are recovering at the Nanaimo SPCA. No charges are expected to be filed.

David Letterman slams pit bulls

Kyra Sedgwick was on David Letterman on December 11 and mentioned the pit bull puppy that she and husband Kevin Bacon have adopted. Letterman then proceeded to “joke in all earnestness” about the killer nature of these dogs.

Bye Bye Nike!

In my opinion, there is one business reason and one business reason only for Nike to provide Vick with their brand name apparel and that’s in the hopes that he will wear it publicly, particularly on television.

Vick signs with Nike

According to Michael Vick’s agent, the NFL player has re-signed an endorsement contract with Nike, two years after they dropped him for his involvement in dog fighting.

The story of Maddie, Carter, and Capone

UPDATE Sept 21 2009: All three dogs have been determined to not be “pit bulls” and have been released to their owners.

ORIGINAL STORY September 19 2009: The Dog Legislation Council has been dealing with an issue that, up until yesterday, was kept under the radar in the hopes that things could be worked out amicably between the dogs’ owners and Sarnia Animal Control. Since the story hit the local newspaper yesterday, September 18, I feel it’s necessary to let everyone know what’s going on.

I like this lady!

One of Nackawic’s local doctors, Dr. Maryann Bramstrup, is standing up for her dog and her rights as a responsible dog owner. Facebook users, click “View Original Post” after opening the note.

At least they’re saying “maybe”

Nackawic, a small New Brunswick town, says they are listening to residents’ objections and that they will consider undoing the breed-specific portion of their bylaw. I’m not holding my breath, but let’s see what happens.

Ginger: Finally free or continuing saga?

Ginger was in a Toronto animal services kennel for three and a half years, accused of aggression after defending herself against an unprovoked attack by an off-leash dog. She was freed in early June after a judge determined that she had been held illegally for that entire time. Today, we find out if the city of Toronto will be allowed to appeal that decision.


HSUS killing dogs again!

You’d think that, after the Michael Vick debacle, the so-called “Humane” Society of the United States might reconsider their blanket belief that all dogs seized from dogfighters should be killed. Well, apparently not!

What’s it really like in Ontario?

I originally wrote this article on the two year anniversary of the Ontario legislation, so that’s about a year and a half ago. Considering our fundraising efforts to get to the Supreme Court of Canada, I think it’s appropriate to re-use it now to try to give you some idea of what life is like for many dog owners in Ontario.

Summary of Ontario committee presenters

Caveat’s earlier article quoting from the Bill 132 clause-by-clause committee meeting encouraged me to go back and look at some of the data I collected during that time.

Here’s a summary of what types of people presented at the four days of hearings and whether they were for or against the Bill.

102 deputants (presenters) testified in front of the committee over a four day period.

45 were individuals.
57 were organizations.

22 individuals were for the Bill.
22 individuals were against the Bill.
1 was undecided.

6 organizations were for the Bill.
50 organizations were against the Bill.
1 was undecided.

Of the individuals for the Bill:

  • All 22 were ordinary citizens without any apparent affiliation with an organization or organized dog activity. These included average dog owners.

Of the individuals against the Bill:

  • 17 were ordinary citizens without any apparent affiliation with an organization or organized dog activity. These included average dog owners.
  • 1 was a breeder of dogs not targeted by the legislation.
  • 2 were researchers, but were representing themselves as individuals.
  • 1 was a dog trainer.
  • 1 was a veterinarian.

The neutral individual was an average citizen not associated with any organization.

Of the organizations for the Bill:

  • 1 was a politician representing a city that has breed-specific legislation.
  • 1 was an individual who had been the victim of an alleged pit bull incident and was presenting under the name of a city that has breed-specific legislation.
  • 1 was a bylaw enforcement officer representing a city that has breed-specific legislation.
  • 2 were police organizations.
  • 1 was a dog trainer who had also been the victim of an alleged pit bull incident.

Of the organizations against the Bill:

  • 1 was a dog activity club.
  • 1 was an organization representing breed judges.
  • 5 were bylaw enforcment organizations.
  • 2 were multi-breed registries
  • 1 was a breed club for a non-targeted breed.
  • 4 were breed clubs for targeted breeds.
  • 10 were rescue organizations.
  • 9 were scientific and statistical research organizations.
  • 10 were dog training organizations.
  • 7 were veterinarians

The neutral organization was a township.

I will be expanding on this in the very near future.

The full text of all committee hearings can be found here:

Committee Hearings – January 24 2006

Committee Hearings – January 27 2006

Committee Hearings – February 2 2006

Committee Hearings – February 3 2006

Committee Votes – February 10 2006

Their minds were made up!

If you want proof that the mind of the Ontario government was made up BEFORE the Bill 132 committee hearings, you need look no further than these comments by Conservative MPP Joe Tascona and NDP MPP Peter Kormos, in opposition to the Bill.

Any rational, logical person could not listen to what these two men had to say and still believe that targeting a certain canine appearance could possibly reduce dog bites.

Keep in mind that that these statements came AFTER four days of committee hearings, in which 80% of the presenters and EVERY credible canine expert rejected the Bill 132 solution. The government had already been told what the problems would be with their approach and what solutions were already working.

Tascona and Kormos simply compressed those four days into a few thoughtful and logical sentences.

Thanks to Caveat.

An illogical leap

Craig McInnes of the Vancouver Sun wrote this article in September which initially appeared to lament the dangers of loose dogs to children.

The basic premise of the first third of his story, and certainly the gist of the headline, is that a child, when walking or playing in a place where the child is supposed to be and allowed to be, should not have to worry about being bitten by a dog.

Owners of dogs (of any breed) should not risk children’s safety by assuming that their dogs won’t bite and thus leaving their dogs loose and unsupervised.

AMEN! I couldn’t agree with you more, Craig.

The story begins with McInnes being threatened by two dogs (a black Labrador retriever and a younger dog of similar size) who were in the back of a pickup truck and not restrained in any way.

He then moves to two examples of dogs that simply should have been left alone because, unmolested, they would not have bitten anyone.

Again, perfect examples of situations that should not have happened.

The last example McInnes uses is of a pit bull shot by a police officer while attending a call about a dog biting its owner. The dog was shot on its own property, apparently as it threatened the police officer.

Although I believe that there is a tendency among police officers to shoot “pit bull” types more quickly than others, there appears to be some justification for these actions. I don’t know the whole story, so I won’t comment further. The particular details are actually not the point here.

The point is that, in the last third of his article, Craig makes a leap from this story (of a dog biting its owner inside its own house and then being shot by police) to how parents of children should not have to be worried about the trustworthiness of an approaching pit bull.

It doesn’t appear to matter that he just finished talking about a Labrador Retriever threatening him!

It doesn’t appear to matter that he just finished talking about a boy whose skull was ripped to shreds by a team of sled dogs!

It doesn’t appear to matter that that he just finished talking about the owner of a Cocker Spaniel who bugged his sleeping dog and almost lost his nose as a result!

All of these incidents have faded into the background because McInnes translates a single case of a dog biting inside its house into public concern about dangerous, unpredictable, overly strong, loose running pit bulls!

It doesn’t seem to matter to him that a “pit bull” type dog has never killed a child in Canada. Ever.

McInnes started off great and, if he had stayed in that vein, he might have actually accomplished something in terms of helping prevent dog bites.

Instead, he’s simply become another source for “pit bull ban” protaganists who want to justify their tunnel vision approach to dog bite prevention.

Stop loose running dogs.

Good idea.

Don’t allow protective, territorial dogs to reach the general public.

Makes sense.

Prevent children from reaching tethered or backyard dogs.

Another good idea.

Teach children (and others) not to bother dogs that aren’t bugging anyone.


Tell everyone that “pit bulls” are really the dogs that everyone should be worried about if they’re loose.


Comments like those at the end of McInnes’ story lead directly to comments like this from Kory Nelson, city attorney for Denver, Colorado:

“Anybody who shoots a pit bull running loose is justified,” said Nelson, the Denver city attorney. “The only difference between a pit bull and a gun is that a gun won’t chase you down the street.”

And comments like that lead inexorably to breed bans and the deaths of thousands of dogs, simply because people like Craig McInnes decide to conveniently ignore the fact that it was not a pit bull that threatened him from the back of that pickup truck.

Instead of focusing on the issues, the lack of control and training, the irresponsibility of particular, individual owners, McInnes felt it necessary to turn the whole thing around and make it about “pit bulls”.

Instead of using his newspaper space to do something good, the only McInnes has managed to accomplish is to increase the likelihood of vigilantism and legislation aimed at pit bull owners.

In the end, he has done nothing to help reduce dog bites.


As the clock clicked over to 12:00 AM, October 11, I found myself sitting in front of the TV, watching the final numbers roll in from the Ontario election. Probably the worst birthday present I’ve received in my life.

Liberals 71 seats 42.12% popular vote
PC 26 seats 31.55% popular vote
NDP 10 seats 16.95% popular vote
Green 0 seats 8.05% popular vote
Other 0 seats 1.34% popular vote

So, I sat in the living room, singing a song and hugging my dogs:

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday, dear pit bull (dog) owner
Happy Birthday to me.

I know it sounds like a pity party, but it really only lasted for half an hour. I’m more determined than ever to get rid of this government, succeed in court, and increase public awareness. I believe we’re going to have to make significant strides in all three areas in order to be successful.

This is not just an Ontario fight, it’s Canadian, it’s North American, it’s worldwide.

So, on with the fight.

In the words of Winston Churchill:

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never —- in nothing, great or small, large or petty —- never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.


Once upon a time, in a province called Ontario, a man named Dalton McGuinty wanted to become premier so badly that he made many promises. He said he would not raise taxes. He promised to close the dirty coal-burning plants. He would help autistic children, relieve gridlock problems and help immigrants have their qualifications recognized in Canada.
Here is the A to Z story of what happened when this man gained power.

A is for the autistic children.

Once elected McGuinty failed to provide the funding he had promised during his election campaign. If that wasn’t enough, he then fought the parents in court. Twice. One member of parliament tried to find out how much public money was spent on the court case, but the Attorney General refused to say. He used public funds, but then said the public did not have the right to know how much the legal action cost.

B is for broken promises.

Fifty to be precise. Once in power McGuinty abandoned his list of promises, passing the blame off on the previous government. But there was a problem with his claim, because when he found a large surplus just before the next election he didn’t use it to make good on any of his previous promises. No. McGuinty used the money to try to buy votes with new promises.

C is for the dirty coal plants that are still open.

McGuinty promised he would close coal-fired electricity plants by 2007. They are still burning, still polluting, while McGuinty pounds the campaign trail.

D is for the dogs that have been killed or sent to animal research.

The Attorney General said he would listen to the experts, but when every expert at the public hearings opposed the ban the Liberals pushed the law through. McGuinty and his party knew that passing the ban was going to hurt responsible dog owners and that it would result in the needless deaths of thousands of animals. They passed the law anyway.

E is for egotistical.

McGuinty broke promises, but expects voters to simply forgive him. He acts like the cat that’s caught the canary, pleased with himself for getting away with his unacceptable behaviour.

F is for fear mongering.

How do you distract the public away from your long list of broken promises? Why not say you are going to ban things. Ban sushi, t-shirts, smoking in designated smoking rooms, dogs … the list goes on. Then if people are busy being afraid, maybe they won’t notice what a bad job you’re doing of governing.

G is for giving grants with no openness or accountability.

Under McGuinty’s leadership the Liberals were sharply criticized by Ontario’s Auditor General for the way they doled out over $32 million dollars in grants to multicultural organizations. The catch was that you had to know someone to get a chance to get funded, which left many organizations in the dark. The Ontario Cricket Association did well, however. They asked the province for $150,000 and got a clean $1 million dollar – 666% more than they’d asked for. So the OCA has $500,000 left over in an interest-earning GIC.

H is for the health tax hike.

McGuinty promised not to raise taxes, but almost as soon as he was elected he introduced a $2.8 billion dollar tax hike. When McGuinty found a $2.3 billion dollar surplus did he do the right thing and eliminate or at least start to phase out the hated tax? No. It was election time again, so he gave away our tax dollars in the hope that he would be re-elected.

I is for the immigrants who were betrayed.

McGuinty promised he would eliminate barriers to foreign trade professionals within one year. He also committed to see that qualified immigrants would be accepted by trades and professions within one year. These are just two more broken promises, with qualified immigrants left in low-paying jobs.

J is for the lack of justice in our province.

McGuinty’s Attorney General appeared on television when a newspaper boy was bitten by an alleged “pit bull” and needed a few stitches. Yet when a young woman was gunned down, murdered, while shopping on Boxing Day where was the outrage or even just a public appearance from the same Attorney General? The McGuinty Liberals made one thing clear. Public safety was very important to them if it centred around an issue that makes people mad, like letting Karla Homolka free or banning dogs that have a bad rep. Too bad about all those other people who needed their attention, like the citizens who have been shot, stabbed or swarmed.

K is for not keeping his word.

McGuinty must have missed the lessons on honest, integrity and keeping your promises that most of us learned in Kindergarten.

L is for the lack of consultation.

Instead of working with concerned interest groups, McGuinty’s government shut them out and simply pushed through legislation. It was his-way or the highway.

M is for the multicultural grants given to groups with strong Liberal ties.

One organization in Richmond Hill was too new to qualify for a grant under normal programs. There is no written record of a grant application, but somehow they got $200,000 to build a community centre. Since they don’t have land yet that money now sits in the group’s bank account. After getting the grant two board members moved on in their career. One became the local Liberal candidate while the other became the president of the local Liberal riding association.

N is for the 8,000 nurses McGuinty failed to hire, despite his election promise.

Just one more way that McGuinty has let our healthcare system down.

O is for Ontario, which has suffered under McGuinty’s rule.

Once the most prosperous province in Canada, last year Ontario ranked 10th out of 10 for its economic growth and our unemployment rate has moved consistently above the national average.

P is for protecting the innocent.

The powers of the justice system have failed to work on one of the most important issues facing our province, the murder of our children on the streets and even in their schools. This issue didn’t play well in sound bites, so while the media covered it extensively, action from the McGuinty Liberals was virtually non-existent.

Q is for the questions that were pushed aside during the 2007 election campaign.

Like a skilled politician, McGuinty put his career ahead of the issues during the 2007 election campaign. He used the issue of faith based funding to pre-empt important discussions about healthcare, taxes, education, poverty and the environment. For the record McGuinty is totally opposed to faith based funding, which he sees as divisive. Incidentally, McGuinty’s children go to a Catholic school, Ontario’s only publicly funded faith based school.

R is for not reducing auto insurance as promised.

McGuinty said he would reduce auto rates by 10% within 90 days of elected. Did he? Of course not. Chalk it up to yet one more broken promise.

S is for not spending every penny of the new health tax on healthcare.

McGuinty said that he would spend every penny of the new health tax on healthcare. What really happened is that health care dollars went into general revenues and McGuinty went on to cut healthcare services, starting with eye exams, chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy.

T is for the tolls on the 407 highway.

During the election McGuinty promised to roll back tolls on the 407 highway. This, of course, did not happen.

U is for failing to unclog emergency rooms.

McGuinty promised that he would unclog emergency rooms. He failed to deliver and people like Patricia Vepari have died as a result. In February 2005 the 21-year-old engineering student in Kitchener-Waterloo decided to go home after waiting in an emergency room for 8 hours. She then died at home of her infection.

V is for the victims of crime.

McGuinty said he would provide legal rights for the victims of crime, but his Attorney General was too busy banning sushi, t-shirts and dogs to pay attention to those truly in need. So another promise bit the dust.

W is for the whipped votes, another broken election promise.

McGuinty said he would allow non-cabinet MPPs to criticize and vote against government legislation. As it turns out there was too much to criticize, so votes were whipped and McGuinty broke yet another promise.

X is for excruciating.

Which is exactly what another four years of the McGuinty Liberals would be like.

Y is for “yesterday’s man”.

The people of Ontario bought McGuinty’s song and dance once. With the issue of faith-based schools now open to a free vote, McGuinty should be none other than yesterday’s man in the October 10th election.

Z is for zero.

That’s exactly how many more chances McGuinty and his Liberals should get when voters go to the poll on October 10, 2007.

Courtesy of Julie King.

Comments about Lucky the Lab

I posted an earlier article about Lucky the Labrador Retriever, whose destruction was requested by the city of Thornhill after he was identified as a “pit bull”.

Well, over at Wag the Dog, where the same article was posted, some nasty comments here and here have been made by someone who says they’re not a Liberal supporter and that they don’t believe in breed-specific legislation.

They have a funny way of showing it!

They were immediately assured by Wag the Dog authors that, not only is this particular story verifiable, but all of the items posted on that blog have actually happened to real people with real dogs.

The daughter of Lucky’s owner also posted her own comments on that same site. You can read them here.

I wonder if the comment-maker just decided to post something controversial so they could sit back and watch everyone freak out.


Despite their idiocy, I really hope that Animal Control doesn’t come knocking on their door. Now that would really cause a commotion, wouldn’t it?

Labrador Retriever owner charged with owning a "pit bull"

One of my own biggest frustrations over the past few years has been how difficult it has been to gather dog owners of ALL breeds together. Together, we’re one of the largest demographics in the country and, together, politicians would have no choice but to listen.

Many, many of the people who have supported the fight against the Ontario legislation own breeds or mixes that aren’t explicitly included in the law and some don’t own dogs at all. To those people, I appreciate your time, effort, money and the fact that you “get it”.

But there are literally hundreds of thousands of dog owners in Ontario who think it’s someone else’s problem.

How many times have I heard, “it won’t happen to us”, “our dog’s not a pit bull, why should we worry?”, “well, they have to do something about these owners and maybe this is the best way”?

Well folks, like we’ve been trying to say for a while now, it’s NOT just about pit bulls and it CAN happen to you.

Remember the different breeds listed in an earlier article, all of which have been identified by Ontario authorities as “pit bulls”. Notice I said “authorities”. These were not just average members of the public pointing at a dog and thinking they might know the breed. These were people who have the power to take your dog away and kill it.

Here’s a perfect example, this time a Labrador Retriever. Keep in mind, when you’re reading this, that six out of every seven dogs in this country do NOT have purebred registration papers. Putting it bluntly, this lady got lucky. Usually, they take your dog and keep it at a shelter, under extremely stressful conditions, while your court case winds it way through six months or a year or two years. So, even if you can prove the breed of your dog, it would normally be confiscated until the court case.

And another, this time a Jack Russell Terrier mix.

A person writing a comment about an earlier article questioned the accuracy of some of the statements regarding what life is like in Ontario right now. I can assure you that, even though most of these people don’t want publicity and don’t want their names used, I have talked with the majority of these people personally and, in the rest, one of our directors or lawyers has.

These are real stories happening to real people every day in this province.

Read them again at the link below and ask yourself if you really want to vote Dalton McGuinty, Michael Bryant, David Zimmer, and the rest of the Liberal Party of Ontario back into office.

Ontario: There’s no place like this!

I’m one of the lucky ones (I guess).

I’ve already decided that my dogs could be identified as “pit bulls” by Animal Control officers in Ontario, I’ve been on television, on radio, in the newspapers, and out at public events with them.

I’ve licensed them with my city as “pit bull terriers” (their words, not mine). In hindsight, I may have been better off licensing them as mutts, but I wasn’t thinking about a BAN ON MY DOGS when I licensed them!

I’m less likely than some to be able to argue what my dogs are or aren’t, simply because I’ve fought so hard and so publicly for them.

Unlike the poor lady in this story at Wag the Dog.

Make sure you read the whole story there to understand just how scary this is.

She has a one-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix and a four-month-old hound mix, but according to Animal Control, she has PIT BULLS!!!

She now has to hire a lawyer and go to court to fight provincial charges against her (with the potential of up to $10,000 in fines and up to six months in jail) and to fight SPCA requests for destruction of her dogs!

Her dogs are not at her house right now, just to make sure that they don’t get confiscated and killed by the SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS!

The dogs have never threatened anyone, have never bitten anyone, and have been loved and played with by all of the apartment complex children.

This, my friends, is what the McGuinty Ontario Liberals have done to your average dog owner.

Vote for someone else on October 10.

Don’t let these guys kill more dogs and destroy more dog owners’ lives.


State of the Province


Preferably, you will send them the link to this article, but this is important enough that, if you need to copy/paste the text, feel free.

The direct link to this article is:

August 29, 2007 was the two-year anniversary of Ontario’s Bill 132 (usually known as the “pit bull” ban).

What has happened in Ontario during those two years?

Two people in this province (including a one and a half year old child) have been killed by dogs, none by “pit bull” type dogs.

Almost without exception, the mainstream media organizations, when notified of serious attacks on people and on animals by other types of dogs, have responded with a mind-boggling lack of interest.

Not a “pit bull”? Not interested. Thank you for your call.

Michael Bryant, the Attorney General of Ontario and the political architect of this law, has been on television telling people that attacks by pit bulls have been reduced and that Ontarians are now safer than ever before. Funny that the most expert, most knowledgeable, and most connected people in the province can’t find any information to prove the truth of that statement. Even a brief investigation into municipal bite statistics reveals that, in most cases, the specific data required to make that type of statement doesn’t exist or is incomplete or inaccurate.

In this province, over the past two years, authorities have targeted, threatened, and confiscated a staggering number of dogs of many breeds and types. Here is just a short list:

Seven-week-old mixed-breed puppies
American Bulldog
Bull Terrier
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Collie/Jack Russell mix
Dogue de Bordeaux
Hungarian Vizla
Jack Russell Terrier cross
Labrador Retriever
Neapolitan mastiff
Rhodesian Ridgeback

A record number of dogs of all shapes and sizes have been confiscated and killed in this province over the past two years, all accused of being “pit bulls”. An unknown, unidentifiable, non-existent “breed” has somehow managed to be regularly and frequently identified by unqualified, untrained personnel and, because of the way the law is written, once that unqualified, often biased, person has identified your dog as a “pit bull”, the chance of you ever seeing your dog again is pretty well nil.

Many of these confiscations have occurred without proof of wrongdoing, without warrants, through the use of threats and intimidation. Owners have been threatened with arrest, with imprisonment, with inappropriate use-of-force, and with the removal of other pets in the house if they don’t surrender the particular dogs in question. Police officers have been encouraged to shoot loose-running dogs on sight, regardless of breed (although short, stocky dogs are definitely more at risk) and regardless of the actions or temperaments of the dogs.

In this province, it’s starting to feel like dogs of any breed have become the new targets for police officers’ shooting practice. Of course that’s an exaggeration, but there is definitely a trend towards a “shoot first, offer cookie later” approach.

Ontario TV shows, radio shows, and newspaper articles have categorized ALL “pit bull” owners in the province as moronic, dangerous, and irresponsible, as gangsters, criminals, and macho thugs. Many have added owners of other breeds to this list as well.

These uninformed and hate-filled opinions have created a “climate of fear”, not just toward the dogs, but also toward their owners. They have legitimized and, in some cases, encouraged vigilantism against an identifiable group of law-abiding, responsible citizens.

Dog owners have been assaulted, threatened, spat upon, had bottles thrown at them. Their dogs have been kicked, burned with cigarettes, threatened with death, doused with scalding hot coffee.

Dog owners are being forced, through various cities’ extreme and draconian restrictions, to choose between their residence and their pet. Those who can’t leave because of family, mortgages, or jobs are forced to give up their dogs. Dogs are being dropped off, often abandoned, at local shelters in record numbers. The “humane” solution that Michael Bryant proposed is causing the deaths of hundreds of dogs each and every day.

People have lost their houses, their jobs, their friends, and even their families because of the shape of their dog’s head. Neighbourhood children are no longer allowed to play with the dog owners’ children. Neighbours refuse to even say hello and, in many cases, call the police or animal control over minor or even untrue complaints.

The type of dog a person owns is now becoming an issue in child custody battles.

People are being evicted from rental housing, are unable to obtain rental housing, cannot buy condominiums, and cannot get tenant’s or homeowner’s liability insurance. Falsified complaints of bites, attempted bites, and menacing behaviour are made by groups of tenants who band together to rid their building of dogs that they think might be “pit bulls”.

Many dog owners have resorted to walking their dogs in remote areas or late at night to avoid becoming targets. Many more simply use their backyards to exercise their dogs. These attempts to keep themselves and their dogs safe often result in behavioural problems that did not exist previously, due to lack of socialization, training, and simple daily exposure to people, animals, places, and situations.

It is now illegal for hundreds of thousands of Canadian dog owners to vacation with their dogs in Ontario or even to pass through the province when travelling from one part of the country to another. Visitors from the United States and other countries are now advised on travel websites to avoid Ontario if they own a dog, regardless of breed, due to the serious misidentification problems and the reverse-onus provisions of the law (i.e., you have to PROVE the breed of your dog, a scientific impossibility).

Tourism has suffered. Dog shows, flyball and agility competitions, camping trips, and family visits have been cancelled or seriously impacted because of this legislation.

Even municipalities that disagree with this type of breed-specific legislation are now burdened with the additional (and not insignificant) costs of enforcing an unenforceable law. Many of them have seen an increase in the number of calls from uninformed, paranoid residents about neighbouring “pit bulls” with each call requiring an officer to drive out, investigate, identify (or not), report, follow up, and possibly charge and prosecute.

Those municipalities with overzealous, biased animal control personnel now find themselves mired in unparalleled numbers of court cases. All of this is at the expense of taxpayers. Thanks to the parroting of government press releases by the mainstream media and the blind use of sound bites from government press conferences, many members of the public actually think that this McGuinty Liberal government is protecting them and their children.

In Ontario, there are at least 2.3 million dogs, probably more. There are, at last count, about 4.5 million families. So, on average, there is one dog for every two families in the province. Admittedly, some people have more than one dog, but the number of dog owners in Ontario is still hugely significant.

Dog owners are one of the largest demographics in the province. And the vast majority of dog owners do NOT agree with this law.

They do not agree with killing unoffending, well-behaved dogs simply because of the way they look. They do not agree with the confiscation and destruction of newborn puppies. They do not agree with the legislated persecution of law-abiding, responsible citizens who have done nothing except pick the wrong dog to love.

Many, many voters, both dog owners and people without dogs in their families, have recognized this as a purely political move, designed to give the uninformed public the impression of action and protection. With a little common sense and a basic understanding of human rights, they see it as a way for this government to circumvent the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by allowing unreasonable search and seizure, by discriminating against a specific, identifiable group of citizens, and by threatening or actually imposing upon those citizens hefty fines, confiscation of property, and imprisonment because of a vague definition that is arbitrarily enforced.

In a number of court cases in Ontario, the provincial Attorney General’s office has intervened in municipal prosecutions of dog owners to make sure they secure convictions in as many “pit bull” cases as possible. Dog owners, unaware of the law, perhaps unable to afford lawyers, unsure as to how to proceed, find themselves in court against the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, against the same government lawyers that defended the government against a constitutional challenge from one of the best civil rights lawyers in the country. What chance can these dog owners possibly have?

This Ontario Liberal government has shown us time and time again that they are more than willing to sacrifice whomever and whatever to appear to increase public safety, without ever bothering to check the facts or listen to the experts.

If this government had been even remotely concerned about public safety, instead of getting in the right sound bite for the evening news, they would have taken the advice of the opposing parties and, even more so, the advice of the experts who testified in front of them and the experts who produced recommendations from two coroners’ inquests.

Every single credible expert and animal-related organization, including experts in legislation, dog behaviour, and bite prevention, told the government not to do this. Michael Bryant publicly stated that he would listen to the experts, but when every single expert told him it was a bad idea, not only did the Liberals press ahead with the law, but they actually made amendments to it to make it worse than it was originally, then they forced a “whipped vote” in the legislature, after Dalton McGuinty publicly stated that he would allow his members to vote their conscience in every matter not related to the budget.

In early 2005, prior to the four latest deaths by dogs in Canada (none by “pit bulls”), the Ontario Liberals were asked repeatedly to fund a provincial dog bite prevention and education program.

They refused.

They were asked to implement a provincial responsible dog ownership program.

They refused.

They were asked to create a provincial dog bite registry.

They refused.

They were asked to provide municipalities with appropriate funding to ensure effective animal bylaw enforcement.

They refused.

All of these requests were based on recommendations from the coroner’s inquest into the death of eight-year-old Courtney Trempe in 1998. All of these recommendations came from experts in dog breeding, behaviour, and bite prevention.

Instead, the government decided to ban a vague, non-existent shape of dog that barely registers in most dog bite statistics, simply to score political points. Their changes to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act had nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with politics.

The way the law is written right now, it is entirely possible and conceivable for the following things to happen:

a) Police can enter my home, seize my dog, kill it, and put me in jail because of the shape of my dog’s head or because of the particular type of dog that I choose to live with. This is not about “pit bulls”. We have documented many instances where dogs of other breeds have been identified as pit bulls and have been confiscated or the owners have been put through hell trying to save their dogs. There are at least 30 different purebred breeds of dogs that “look like” the dogs that the Liberals are supposedly targeting.

b) Police can enter my home, seize my dog, kill it, and put me in jail if someone feels threatened by my dog or even if they feel that their own animal is threatened by my dog, even if my dog is on my own property. A neighbour who doesn’t like me can easily cause my dog to be confiscated. This last section has nothing to do with breed. Every dog owner in this province is affected by this portion of the law.

This law has been used to force therapy dogs and service dogs to be muzzled. It has been used to identify seven-week-old puppies as being a “menace to public safety”. Since this law has been enacted, three children and one adult have died in Canada, two in Ontario, all killed by dogs that were not “pit bulls”. These past two years have been record years for dogs killing people and not once was a “pit bull” involved. How is public safety being enhanced?

So what is the solution?

Since we have made all possible attempts to negotiate and communicate with the current Liberal government and since we have been rebuffed at every turn, we are left with only two things to do:

1. Take them to court.
2. Vote them out of office.

We have taken them to court. The judge found that various portions of the law violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but left the rest of the law as is.

In order to continue this fight, the Dog Legislation Council of Canada needs funds. Your rights as a dog owner are at risk, regardless of the type of dog you own. The DLCC is fighting for those rights. If you don’t want to see the erosion and removal of the rights of all dog owners in this province (including yourself), then you need to help. Don’t just say thanks. Don’t just say to yourself, “what a great job they’re doing” or “at least somebody’s fighting this stupid law”. Put some money toward this fight. Ten dollars, a hundred dollars, or a thousand. Do something.

Visit for more details.

Now, to the second option.

Most experts in the fields of dog bites and dog legislation feel that this government, if voted back into office, will target additional breeds or will use the existing law and its vague definitions to go after all sorts of dogs.

Even without further changes, only half of the existing law usually known as the “pit bull ban” actually targets “pit bulls”. There are some significant and scary portions of this law that already target all dogs, regardless of breed or type, including public seizure and warrantless entry into homes. The six months in jail and $10,000 fine doesn’t just apply to “pit bull” owners. Neither does the ability to seize any dog based on unproven complaints.

This government, along with certain municipalities that seem to have been encouraged and supported by the Attorney General’s office, seems to be comprised of either out-and-out dog-haters or of spineless “yes men” (and women) who aren’t willing to risk their political career in the Ontario Liberal Party in order to stand up for the province’s dog owners.

Experts agree that, in the next two years, we will probably see additional changes to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act that will make the current one seem mild.

We CANNOT allow this government to remain in office.

The other two major political parties in Ontario (Progressive Conservative and New Democrats) have said publicly and privately that they disagree with this law and that they would like to see it replaced with strict, no-nonsense legislation that targets the behaviour of irresponsible owners.

Unlike the current legislation introduced by the McGuinty government, the approach suggested by the other parties has been proven to reduce dog bites.

While we wait for further decisions in higher courts, we MUST vote this government out of office on October 10.

If you are a dog owner, get out and vote. I don’t care if you’ve never done it before. I don’t care if you even know how to do it.

Call 1-888-668-8683, tell them where you live, and ask them to explain everything to you.

If you’re not on the voters list, go to the Ontario Elections website to see what ID you need to just show up and vote. The link is:

It’s not hard, really.

If you really want to make a difference, vote strategically.

Find out who is your current Member of Provincial Parliament.

Use the Ontario Elections website to type in your postal code and find your electoral district. The link is:

Then go to the Ontario Legislature website and find your district in the list on the right. The link is:

Then click the member’s name on the left to find out if they’re Liberal, Conservative, or NDP.

If your current MPP is not Liberal, then vote for that same party again. The party previously elected in your riding is the most likely one to win again there.

If your current MPP is Liberal, then you can view the previous election at the Ontario Elections website. The link is:

If your riding was in a by-election since 2003, then check out the by-election results. Otherwise, look at the 2003 General Election results (Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate).

See which party was closest in votes below the winner and vote for that party.

Of course, you have to vote your conscience. If your political beliefs don’t allow you to vote for Conservative, then vote NDP. Or vice versa.

Just don’t vote Liberal.

Not if you love your dog and you care about your rights as a dog owner and as a Canadian citizen.

Because it’s glaringly obvious that they sure as hell don’t.

Most politicians don’t know why dogs bite

I recognize that some people encourage human aggression in their dogs, including training them to intimidate or attack people.

I recognize that some people encourage dog aggression in their dogs, including training them to fight each other.

I recognize that some people allow their dogs to run loose or escape and thus create fear in their neighbourhoods.

I recognize that some dogs are owned by drug dealers, thugs, and gangsters and are used for protection or intimidation.

I recognize that, in some parts of North America, there may be a dog overpopulation problem, although I’m not convinced that it is the epidemic that it’s often made out to be.

Each of these is a problem and needs to be solved.

It is important to remember, however, that NONE of the above issues are the primary cause of dog bites and, as such, solutions to the above problems should not be touted as being implemented in order to reduce dog bites. They have nothing at all to do with dog bites.

Yes, we need to prevent people from overbreeding their pets, fighting them, using them as weapons, allowing them to run loose, etc. And we should have programs that target those specific problems.

But don’t list the above reasons when you’re trying to reduce dog bites.

Look instead at the statistics from the Center for Disease Control, from the Canadian CHIRPP program, and from the Canada Safety Council. They all clearly show that the vast majority of dog bites (including those that cause death or serious injury) are perpetrated by the family dog to the family child in the family home or a neighbour’s home or a relative’s home.

These were generally NORMAL dogs in NORMAL families, placed into stressful situations. These situations may have included children pressuring the dogs (such as riding, hugging, pulling tails or ears), resource guarding, pack hunting or defence behaviour (in a very few cases), territorial defence, and other behaviours that the dogs may have seen as entirely appropriate and normal.

I am certainly not defending the dogs in every situation, because a well-bred and/or well-socialized dog shouldn’t fall into a default behaviour of all-out aggression when pressured. But many of these incidents were, and are, the result of normal dog behaviour.

The failure in almost every situation resulted from the lack of awareness of dog-child interaction by the dog owner, the parent, or both. Lack of knowledge, lack of experience, lack of supervision, lack of training (of both child and dog), lack of common sense.

Unfortunately, because 99 (or more) out of 100 times, a dog will endure such stresses without biting, many families become complacent. “Rover is used to Johnny” or “Rover knows that Johnny is just playing” become mantras, until the day that Rover decides to teach Johnny a lesson.

My own dogs have permanent marks on them from one getting tired of the other being a pest or from one trying to take the other’s bone or from any one of myriad other possible “argument causers”.

With dogs, that’s part of life. However, those same teeth, when used on a human child’s skin, may sometimes cause permanent, disfiguring injury.

Parents and dog owners need to be more aware of this, primarily through education.

But legislating things like breed banning and mandatory spay/neuter are not going to reduce dog bites. They may reduce the number of dogs of a popular breed or, in the case of mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs, they will reduce the population of all dogs. But they don’t target the reasons why bites occur.

Some of the people who implement these programs may have their hearts in the right place, but they’re not using their heads.

Even laudable programs that target animal abuse, dogfighting, and loose-running dogs are still not going to reduce dog bites because they’re not looking at the real issue, which is dogs and kids not being managed properly together.

All the laws that try to micro-manage every dog owner (or, even worse, only owners of certain types of dogs) sound good to the average voter, but they don’t accomplish the STATED OBJECTIVE, which is to reduce dog bites. Instead, they end up simply hurting responsible dog owners and discriminating against people with certain types of dogs (or against all dog owners in general), without taking a single step in the direction of harm reduction.

As I have said in numerous other articles, there is a simple two-part solution to encourage responsible dog ownership:

1. Educate. Similar to the campaigns against drunk driving, speeding, etc, you must get your message to the general public. It must be simple, possibly harsh, and definitely to the point.

2. Punish. When someone is stupid with their dog, either through deliberate misuse of a dog’s capabilities or through negligent inattention, then the punishment should be big. It should be harsh enough that it makes the rest of the dog-owning world sit up and take notice.

As long as dogs and people live together, we will never eliminate dog bites. It is my personal opinion that, in most urban centres, the number of serious, injuring dog bites is about as low as it’s going to get without getting rid of all dogs.

I think there’s some work to do in some of the rural and northern areas of the country, but the cities who have dog legislation in place are basically managing the public actions of dog owners, not what happens inside the home.

Since it’s really difficult (and, in some cases, perhaps even unconstitutional) to legislate the actions inside the home, you will eventually reach a plateau where the only way left to improve the bite ratio is through education.

The number of bites is probably as low as it’s going to get because there will always be be people out there who ignore common sense and screw up what they have out of laziness, ignorance, or malice. This doesn’t just apply to dogs, but dogs are one of those possessions, just like children, that some people shouldn’t have, but are allowed to so that the rest of us can.

If someone is determined to be an idiot, you generally can’t prevent it through legislation. All you can do is let people know the right way to act, let them know the consequences of those actions, and then bring down that hammer when they ignore you and something bad happens.

Finally Ontario’s Attorney General is forced to come clean

Ontario’s Attorney General, Michael Bryant, finally revealed the costs to taxpayers of fighting parents of autistic children for the past seven years, but only after an Ontario Superior Court decision forced him to open the books.

Read the full CBC story

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario has requested a similar accounting of the legal costs associated with Ontario’s ill-advised and ultimately doomed dog legislation.

The Attorney General has refused. Click here to read the response to the PC Party from Michael Bryant’s henchman, Stephen Patterson.

This same ministry, headed by the Honourable Michael Bryant, was recently awarded the Code of Silence Award by the Canadian Association of Journalists in recognition of “the most secretive government body in Canada”.

Read more about that award here

Michael, please, it’s time to own up to your responsibilities as a public servant, step out from your hiding place behind “lawyer-client privilege”, and let the taxpayers of Ontario know just how much money has been wasted on creating, enforcing, and defending Bill 132, a law that every expert denounced before its inception, a law that you MUST have been aware was unconstitutional long before you pushed blindly ahead with kangaroo committee hearings and a whipped vote in the Ontario Legislature.

Please, Michael, let us know the costs to each and every Ontario taxpayer for the following things:

1. Press releases and conferences announcing the intent to ban ‘pit bulls’ in Ontario

2. Expenses and honoraria for affidavits and other information solicited from extramural experts in 2004/2005 such as Alan Beck, any private law firms and others in Canada and the US whom the government may have consulted prior to holding Committee Hearings in winter 2005.

3. Public hearings conducted by the Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on January 24, January 27, February 2, February 3, 2005 including:

a) Research costs
b) Supplies including photocopying, paper, postage
c) Travel Expenses for Committee members
d) Any payments made to witnesses at the hearings
d) Venues, audiovisual, computer and other equipment costs
e) All other costs associated with the hearings.

4. Costs associated with preparation of the Report by Committee.

5. Training costs for Animal Control officers in Ontario.

6. Dissemination of notices and other information to the public, educating them about the provisions in the law.

7. Legal Fees:

a) Expert testimony including travel expenses and honoraria for Alan Beck, Tom Skeldon, and any other witness expenses associated with pre-trial examinations
b) Legal fees associated with preparation of the defence, including hourly rate, number of hours spent
c) Research costs relative to the defence including time and materials
d) Legal fees for barristers to present arguments in Ontario Superior Court on May 15, 16 and 18, 2006 and to argue three motions
e) Costs specifically associated with the motion filed in summer 2006 and argued in Superior Court on December 21, 2006 including costs for reports, witness testimony, travel expenses, research costs, lawyer fees (internal and external), courts costs, material costs and any other pertinent expenditures.
f) Any other expenses related to defending the constitutional challenge to the amended Dog Owners’ Liability Act, 2005
g) Fees paid to the Court

8. Any other costs not listed above relative to the matter described.

Welsh Corgi mix identified as "pit bull" and destroyed

My apologies in advance to the Peterborough Examiner. I’m copying the full text of this article from their online newspaper. Unfortunately, these stories have a habit of disappearing into the “archives” and this is one I don’t want us to forget.

The original story can be found here, at least for as long as they keep it on their website.

This article was written by Lynn Reynolds, a dog breeder and trainer who has been directly involved with the case.

Printed from web site Tuesday, July 10, 2007 – © 2007 Peterborough Examiner

Great dog, ugly label


Monday, July 09, 2007 – 00:00

Editorial – Re “First pit bull euthanized under new provincial law” (June 29) –

Ziggy was a friendly, happy, tail-wagging, glad-to-be-hugged little dog with a very ugly label attached to her – “pit-bull cross.” This label was given to her by a system which cannot prove that that is what she was. It took only one or two individuals to attach that label to her. She could, however, be proven to be a Welsh corgi cross. DNA testing could have eliminated the doubt about her lineage, but that was not allowed to be done.

This little dog had harmed no one. Her only offense: she accidentally got out of the home where she was loved and cherished, and she supposedly “looked like a pit-bull” (which according to a ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal, is “unconstitutionally vague as there is no such breed”).

The “breed specific legislation” was rushed into being with little thought to its consequences, and with a great deal of protest from the dog-related community and concerned individuals, which is ongoing as I write this. Where are the people who enacted this law? They certainly weren’t there to witness the killing of this innocent creature and the agony of those who had to do it. Nor were they here to witness the tears of the many people who have been involved with this dear dog over the many months of her incarceration.

Where are these lawmakers as the young women who owned the dog faces huge costs incurred for the incarceration and court proceedings? If this dog had been correctly labeled the “corgi-cross” that she definitely was, her owner would have faced a fine and the dog would have gone home, probably the same day she was picked up. As it is, her body lies waiting to be buried, not even able to be claimed until all costs are paid.

This young women, and her dog, and those forced into upholding this law are all victims: victims of a system which refuses to listen to the many protests against this unfair and uncompromising law. How many other dogs have already been unjustly sentenced to death and killed under this law? Many are sitting on “death row” right now! How many more people are going to be devastated emotionally and financially by this ill-designed law?

This is not a protest about “biters” and aggressive dogs being destroyed. It’s for the dogs who are being mislabeled and destroyed for no valid reason. Why are these unfortunate dogs not even allowed to be assessed and temperament-tested by a panel of knowledgeable professional trainers?

Which breed of dog will be harassed and/or banned next? Could it be mine?

To label an entire breed as dangerous because a few poorly-bred, untrained, improperly socialized dogs cause problems is like labeling all human individuals within a specific ethnic group as lazy or violent.

Caring, responsible dog owners must continue to speak out against this unjust “breed specific legislation” to the members of our provincial government. Justice was certainly not done for those involved in this travesty. We couldn’t save Ziggy. Let’s pray we might be able to help the next ones in line awaiting the same fate.

Lynn Reynolds has been showing, breeding and training dogs since 1979. She became involved in Ziggy’s case when she was asked to pray for those devastated by the event.



393 University Avenue in downtown Toronto.
Courtroom 904 – June 28 10:00 AM

Between Queen and Dundas on University Avenue.

If you’re taking the TTC, it’s on the University/Spadina subway line between Osgoode (Queen) and St. Patrick (Dundas) stations.

We want as many people as possible to be there, please. Get there early to ensure that you get in. I’m aiming for 8:00 AM, which may be overkill, but I’d rather be too early than too late.

As I understand it, the arguments will be about how to implement the judge’s decision on the challenge of DOLA. The judge must decide the best course of action now that the law has been substantially eroded.

The decision of the judge, as far as I understand it, is that the following parts of the law are unconstitutional:

  1. The phrase “pit bull includes”;
  2. The phrase “pit bull terrier” as a definition of a restricted dog;
  3. The use of only a document from a veterinarian as proof of breed, thus placing onto the defendant the burden of the costs of cross-examination and calling of experts to refute the document.

The full text of the judge’s decision is here.

Here is a plain English interpretation of what could happen, courtesy of the Fundamental Freedoms Project:

The Charter is a part of Canada’s Constitution, and is included in the Constitution Act, 1982. Section 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 gives courts the power to say that a law that violates the Charter is not valid. You can ask a court to make such a declaration. When applying section 52, a court might:
  • strike out the part of the law that violates the Charter
  • interpret a law narrowly so that it fits Charter rights
  • ‘read in’ features to the law so that it meets Charter requirements
  • declare that you are not covered by the law that violates your Charter rights (a ‘constitutional exemption’)

Be there. Let the Ontario Liberals know that you will not accept the erosion of Canadian charter rights, the legislated second-class citizenship of law-abiding people, and the extermination of unoffending dogs.

Please read Caveat’s post regarding court protocol, written for the original court case in May 2006, but still applicable.

Courtesy of Marsha Boulton, author of Wally’s World available at Amazon Canada.

Save lives – ban murder, alcohol, cars, suicide, and tobacco!

Today, I was outside having a cigarette (nasty habit, by the way) and reading my cigarette pack.

According to the statistics on the package (from Health Canada), tobacco kills almost five times as many people each year in Canada as murders, alcohol, car accidents, and suicides combined!

Murders – 510
Alcohol – 1,900
Car accidents – 2,900
Suicides – 3,900
Tobacco – 45,000

Now, I’m a little suspicious of these numbers, particularly the alcohol and tobacco.

Murders, car accidents, and suicides are clearly specific, identifiable, and trackable incidents.

Alcohol might be, depending if they’re talking about alcohol-related injuries causing death or if they’re trying to lump in things like alcohol-related liver disease. I’m also not sure if both the car accidents and the alcohol-related deaths include deaths caused by drunk drivers.

Tobacco, on the other hand, may be a cause in a huge number of deaths, but it may be a little too easy to chalk up some of these deaths to the evil weed when they may have occurred anyway because of genetics or because of other aspects of a person’s lifestyle.

That said, let’s assume for the moment that these numbers are reasonably accurate.

Do you know how many people are killed each year in Canada by dogs?


That’s right. One person per year, sometimes a child but not always, loses their life because of a dog bite or attack.

Horrifying and traumatizing for the family of this person, no doubt. But no less so than for the families of those people shot or knifed to death, launched through a windshield, put to sleep by an overdose of pills, or killed by a drunk driver.

How many people do you think have been killed in Canada by “pit bull” type dogs? As always, I must add the corollary that we can never truly identify the type of dog beyond a basic generic appearance.

So how many?

ONE in the last TWENTY-FIVE years!

Now, I have no idea how many people all those other things have killed over the past twenty-five years, but if we assumed that the number of deaths has doubled between 1982 and now (a generous assumption), that’s over a MILLION people, dead from these various causes. The reality is probably more than that.

Still, we are allowed to smoke.
Still, we are allowed to drink.
Still, we are allowed to drive.
Still, we are allowed to own things with which we could kill ourselves.
Still, we are allowed to own things with which we could kill others.

Yet, we are not allowed to own “pit bulls”. The government is allowed to track me, photograph my dog, share my personal information, enter my house unannounced, confiscate my property, and publicly vilify me, making me and others like me afraid to step outside our front doors.

ONE person in TWENTY-FIVE years!

Do you really think the Ontario law was even remotely about public safety?

Or was it about looking good on TV, about getting re-elected, about personal ambition and power?

Or was it about getting around that pesky clause in the constitution prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure?

Or that other clause that keeps getting in the way, the one about being presumed innocent?

Logically, looking at all these other causes of death, any reasonable person would have to conclude that it sure as hell wasn’t about protecting lives.

Not "pit bulls"? Not interested!

Since I’ve been involved in dog legislation issues, I have seen many newspaper articles and TV stories about “pit bulls”. They range from ridiculous to horrifying and everything in between.

I have seen instances of articles being passed from newspaper to newspaper throughout the world, cases of multiple local and national newspapers and TV stations carrying stories of the most minor nature, simply because they involved the phrase “pit bull” (even if the dog’s breed was not identifiable or was later identified as something else).

I still regularly meet people who refer to “those dogs who killed the lady in San Francisco” or the dogs who attacked the young girl in Vancouver as “pit bulls”, thanks to news reports at the time.

Without a doubt, there have been some horrifying attacks by dogs that might be classified, somewhere, as “pit bull” type dogs (whatever that is).

Clearly, however, there have also been some reports that only existed because of the sensational nature of what the people involved believed the breed to be.

Some examples:

  1. Dog on dog incidents with minimal injury.
  2. Dog “nips” children (particularly puppy nips).
  3. One dog kills another dog.
  4. Two dogs kill a cat.
  5. Loose running dog shot to death by police. No attack, no bite, no injury.

I’m not suggesting that any of these incidents were not serious, especially to the people victimized. Any time there is serious injury to a person or another animal, we need to find out why and take steps to prevent similar occurrences, and the owners should be held accountable.

My point is simply that each of these stories appeared in multiple newspapers and on multiple TV stations, even at the national level, because they involved the word “pit bull”.

Contrast those stories with this incident that occurred in Sarnia last Thursday. The only newspaper to pick this up was the local Observer. I’ve included the entire story at the end of this article because I don’t want to lose track of it if the Observer removes it later.

Note that, according to the article, the owners have not been charged and the dogs have not been confiscated.

Now, take this same story, with the same number of dogs, with the same end result of 12 cats dead, but instead of “hounds”, put the word “pit bulls”.

Can you imagine the press coverage? This would not only go nationwide. It would probably be read around the world.

If it weren’t so scary, it would be almost humorous to point out that this occurred in Sarnia, the same city that designated three seven-week old mixed breed puppies as “posing a menace to the public safety of persons and domestic animals”.

The comparison between those three puppies and these “hounds” (whatever they are) is laughable. The “hounds”, although doing what comes naturally to a pack of dogs running loose, were ALLOWED to do this by their owners by not being properly supervised and restrained. Contrast this with the puppies, who were capable of nothing more than drinking their mother’s milk.

Has common sense gone out the window regarding dogs, not only in Sarnia, but in the whole province?

Maybe Michael Bryant should follow his own lead and ban hounds as well. Wouldn’t we all be safer?

Sorry, does that sound stupid, far-fetched, hysterical?

Why, because they’re not “pit bulls”?

Here’s the whole story from the Sarnia Observer:

From the web site
Monday, June 25, 2007
© 2007 The Sarnia Observer

Pack of hound dogs kill 12 cats; ‘They just kept attacking,’ says Carol Reynolds


Saturday, June 23, 2007 – 16:00

Local News – A local couple is reeling after a pack of hunting dogs slaughtered 12 of their cats Thursday.

Carol Reynolds said she woke to the baying of a hound dog around 5:15 a.m. outside her Waubuno Road home, about five minutes from Brigden.

By the time she peered out her window, four hounds were circling the yard and within seconds two more joined the group.

“I looked out and I saw dead cats on the lawn,” she said. “I began screaming. The dogs were killing the cats.”

Carol and her husband Greg provide care to stray cats and had about 32 of the animals. They lost 12 cats in the attack, including four kittens.

Carol Reynolds said she called police who advised her not to go outside. All she could do was watch in horror, she said.

“There was nothing I could do,” she said. “They just kept attacking, one cat after another.”

The dogs circled their prey one at a time and attacked. The cats were trampled, bitten and disemboweled.

Some other kittens managed to climb the stairs of the front porch and Carol reached out and pulled a handful to safety. Several adult cats sought shelter under a car and didn’t resurface until hours later.

“I started throwing stuff at the dogs, anything I could find. I even threw some china at them but it only caused them to pause for a second, then continue,” Carol Reynolds said. “It was just horrible. It was a slaughter.”

Her husband arrived home from shift work about the same time as police, some 30 minutes after the attack began.

Officers located the dogs later that morning, along with their owner.

They were collared with tracking devices, Greg Reynolds said. “We want (the owner) charged.”

He said the dogs were left outside by the owner to hone their hunting skills.

The owner told police he would not be contacting the Reynolds family.

“My main concern is that people should be aware that this is a practice, that dogs are being allowed to roam free in order to train,” Carol Reynolds said.

“Maybe if charges are laid, people will be less likely to allow their dogs to run loose.”
© 2007 , Osprey Media. All Rights Reserved.

I knew these guys were bad, but this is ridiculous!

I became a reluctant political activist, specifically targeting the ruling Ontario Liberal party, because of their arrogance, because of their insolence, because of their false and misleading public statements, and because they showed an incredible lack of willingness to listen and learn from people who know what they’re talking about.

Considering the amount of time and effort I and my colleagues have spent over the past almost three years trying to educate and eventually being forced to fight the Liberal government, you’d think I’d have better insight as to how terribly this party has governed our province, but even with my inside knowledge, I really had no idea.

That is, until Social Mange published this article, writing it all down in one, easy-to-understand document.

I am truly stunned at the audacity of these men and women who have clearly forgotten (if they ever cared) that they have been hired by us, at our expense, to do what’s best for us, not what’s best for themselves.

Please, please, please make sure these guys do NOT get back into power in October of this year.

I don’t think my heart nor my brain could take it.

Air Canada replies but doesn’t say much

Here is Air Canada’s reply to my recent letter. Another example of “economics” trumping customer service. What about MY customer service?

Response (Debbie Mcammond) – 06/22/2007 01:19 PM
Dear Mr. Barker,

Thank you for your email outlining your concerns regarding our recent decision to no longer accept pets as checked baggage.

We review all our policies, procedures and services on a regular basis to ensure that our product offering responds to customer demand while keeping pace with industry standards and economic realities.

As you are aware, effective July 15, 2007, we will no longer accept pets as checked baggage. We will honour bookings which have already been made.

Our reasoning behind this decision is to effectively handle the high volume of baggage loads and meet the needs of the vast majority of our passengers. With the record load factors we have been experiencing, and with current security measures in place, we have more checked bags than ever.

Animals carried as checked baggage restrict us as to the amount of baggage we are ultimately able to carry on any given flight, thereby inconveniencing other passengers as we have to offload baggage to accommodate the oxygen circulation requirements for the pets.

While we recognize we have disappointed you, we do hope the above will allow you to better understand our decision.

Customer Relations

Air Canada – fly a whole new way (petless)

Further to my previous story about Air Canada, here’s my letter to them.

Interestingly, after I sent them the letter, I received an automated response stating that I should receive a detailed reply within 15 days (I think they actually said “business days”).

Now that’s customer service!

Anyway, here’s the letter.

Dear Sir/Madam:

Please be advised that, as a long time customer of Air Canada (approximately 25 years) and one who has consistently chosen Air Canada over its competitors, I will no longer fly Air Canada for any trip, anywhere. In fact, I will now be willing to pay for a more expensive flight on another airline in order to make sure I don’t fly Air Canada.

As a pet owner, for me this is simply a matter of principle, regardless of whether my pet is coming with me on a particular trip.

I refuse to support any organization that treats pet owners as second class citizens and that is exactly what you have done with this decision.

Apparently, if I am to believe your advertisements, I can fly a whole new way on Air Canada – my way. Unless, of course, I own a pet.


Steve Barker

Guess who I’m not flying with any more?

Air Canada will no longer carry pets on passenger flights as of July 15, 2007.

According to their spokesperson, it’s about “customer service” – giving non-pet-owning passengers more room for personal baggage.

What Air Canada fails to realize is that pet-owning passengers will choose not to fly their airline, whether or not their pet is flying with them, simply as a matter of principle.

With the exception of one existing prebooked flight, I will definitely be choosing a different airline in the future.

If you choose to do the same, make sure you tell Air Canada why.

Online comments

In Canada or U.S.
Air Canada – Customer Relations
PO Box 64239,
5512 4th Street, NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2K 6J0
Tel: 1-888-247-2262
Fax: 1-866-584-0380

Read all the news articles below.


City News

Globe and Mail


Toronto Star

Killing puppies because they can

Further to my earlier story regarding the confiscated mother and puppies in Sarnia.

The following letter was issued today by the president of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada. Permission was given to distribute widely.


On June 6, 2007 animal control officers in Sarnia, Ontario seized a mother dog and her three 7-week old puppies from the home of Brian Edwards Jr. and Cassie Bates.

The dogs’ offence? Solely that an animal control officer identified them as “pit bulls” under the Ontario Dog Owners’ Liability Act (“DOLA”). This breed identification has subsequently and conveniently been changed by the authorities; the puppies and mother are now claimed to be Staffordshire bull terriers or have the appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar.

According to the owners, the dogs in question are neither.

On March 23, 2007 Madam Justice Thea Herman, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court, issued a decision that we understand renders the DOLA classifications “pit bull” and “pit bull terrier” unconstitutionally vague. If our understanding is correct, the seizure of the mother and her pups on the basis that they are “pit bulls” would have been unconstitutional.

As for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier identification, there is no proof of that breed identification. It is merely the word of an animal control officer, not a breed expert. The mother dog is not a registered Staffordshire Bull Terrier; she does not have registration papers, a microchip or an identifying tattoo.

At the time of the dogs’ removal from their home, the owners stated they were given two options: hand the mom and her puppies over, or be charged because the dogs were not licensed and the female is not spayed.

This is a scare tactic frequently used by animal control officers to intimidate those who do not know the law into giving up their property – their dogs – without the municipality having to deal with the inconvenience and expense of a court case. This scare tactic unfortunately often works. Of course, threats of pepper spray and arrest work just as well. That’s what happened when Brian approached the animal control van to calm the mother dog.

On June 13th, the media reported that these dogs were given a stay of execution.

On that same day, however, the City of Sarnia issued a letter stating that “the pound operator will exercise certain options set out in Section 20(7.4) of the Animals for Research Act,R.S.O. 1990 ( the “ARA”).” Four options were cited. Only one allows the dogs to live.

The ARA specifically states that the puppies and their mom can be safely transferred to a person who is resident outside Ontario.

Knowing of this option, Advocates for the Underdog, a well known and respected rescue, has offered at their own cost to take this task upon themselves.

The Advocates offer was declined by Sarnia pound officials.

The City Solicitor for Sarnia has filed documents claiming that the seven-week old puppies and their mother pose “a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals”.

Therefore, under the provisions cited, the City of Sarnia has decided that the mother dog and her puppies will be killed.

Not only does Sarnia animal control apparently not understand the law that they are supposed to be enforcing, but the Sarnia legal department also apparently does not have a clear understanding of the law.

Or perhaps they understand it too well. Could it be that the Ontario Attorney General’s office is once again wielding the same bloody pen used to write Ontario’s breed-specific legislation? One has to wonder why the Ontario government’s highly paid constitutional lawyers, who presented during the recent Superior Court case, sat in on less well-known municipal cases pertaining to “pit bulls”. One also has to wonder why the City of Sarnia has recently announced that it will be performing door-to-door checks on all homes for the presence of dogs.

The constitutional challenge to DOLA is back in court for the remedy hearing at the end of this month. Until that time, it is our understanding that this law is in limbo and subject to misinterpretation and mistakes.

Without judicial clarification, it is hard to see how the City of Sarnia can justify the killing of innocent puppies. One would think that prudence would cause the City to put a moratorium on further actions until the courts clarify whether the law is enforceable.

One would also believe that any municipality or agent of the municipality that destroys the property of a citizen under DOLA before the final ruling is made, may well find themselves legally liable for those actions.

The back-door legal tactic used by the City of Sarnia to kill unoffending puppies and their mother should be seen by all dog owners as a purely vindictive measure. The classification of “substantially similar physical characteristics” could easily be applied to tens of thousands of Ontario dogs.

The City of Sarnia, of which animal control is an agency, is not (as claimed by one city councillor) just “acting on provincial law”. The City of Sarnia, of which animal control is an agency, has made its own decision to kill these dogs.

There is a huge gray area of options, some of which are within DOLA and others that do not require the use of that particular law. Killing these dogs is not required or mandated.

The DLCC asks that you take five minutes from your day and write, call or fax the members of Sarnia City Council. You don’t have to live in Sarnia, or even in Canada, to write the mayor and councillors.

Ask that they allow these dogs to live and be placed in the competent, caring hands of the Advocates for the Underdog. If you wish to see the correspondence from the City of Sarnia to the lawyers for Brian Edwards Jr., please visit the DLCC website:

The next meeting of Sarnia City Council is scheduled for Monday, June 25th, 2007

City Hall
255 N. Christina Street
Sarnia, ON N7T 7N2
Phone: 519 332-0330 ext.312
TTY#: 519 332-2664
Fax: 519 332-3995
155 N. Front Street, Apt. #705
Sarnia ON N7V 7V5
519 336-8092

City and County Councillor: DAVE BOUSHY
1413 Lakeshore Road
Sarnia ON N7S 2M3
Home: 519 542-3109
Fax: 519 542-0868

City and County Councillor: JIM FOUBISTER
1937 Buena Ventura
Brights Grove ON N0N 1C0
Home: 519 869-4701
Fax: 519 869-8625

City and County Councillor: BEV MACDOUGALL
228 Maria Street
Sarnia ON N7T 4T1
Home: 519 344-0768
Business: 519 344-5543
Fax: 519 332-0916

City and County Councillor: ANNE MARIE GILLIS
65 Ashby Crescent
Sarnia ON N7S 4L5
Home: 519 542-9728
Business: 519 542-0554
Fax: 519 542-0554

City Councillor: ANDY BRUZIEWICZ
665 Stonecrest Avenue
Sarnia ON N7V 2K3
P.O. Box 2373
Sarnia ON N7T 7S6
Business: 519 332-2639
Fax: 519 337-7855

City Councillor: JON MCEACHRAN
978 London Road
Sarnia ON N7S 1N7
Home: 519 337-7200
Business: 519 383-7200
Fax: 519 383-7800

City Councillor: MIKE KELCH
324 Tawny Road
Sarnia ON N7S 5J6
Home: 519 542-5682
Business: 519 339-4003
Fax: 519 542-8827

City Councillor: TERRY BURRELL
954 Champlain Road
Brights Grove ON N7V 2G2
Home: 519 542-8826
Business: 519 336-5545
Fax: 519 336-2130

Please copy your correspondence to the Sarnia City Solicitor:

City Solicitor/Clerk – Brian W. Knott
City Hall
255 N. Christina Street
Sarnia ON N7T 7N2
Phone: 519-332-0330 ext 262

General Inquiries
Phone: 519-332-0330 ext 263
Fax: 519-332-3995
TTY#: 519 332-2664


Sarnia and "pit bulls": city on shaky legal ground

There’s a little thing going on in Sarnia, Ontario, this week that illustrates some serious problems with cities being far too eager to apply the vague, unenforceable, and unconstitutional Dog Owners’ Liability Act.

The Sarnia Observer has four related stories:

Dog census underway in city

Seized dogs face execution

Dogs gain stay of execution

Local rallies to protest pit bull law

The following is a letter I wrote in the past week to the Sarnia Observer that summarizes my feelings on this issue.

After reading about this incident, I feel more than ever that no dog owner is truly safe in this province.

June 7, 2007

To the editor of the Sarnia Observer:

Re “Seized dogs face execution” (June 7), regardless of whether or not these people broke the law (and keep in mind that they are fighting these charges, saying that the dogs are not “pit bulls”), here are my issues with this:

a) Killing seven-week-old puppies, regardless of breed, temperament, ownership, or anything else, is an evil and despicable act that has no basis in reason or conscience. Since when did our government turn into puppy-killers? We’ve got Animal Rights groups going ballistic over keeping animals in captivity or over the hunting of this type of animal or over the possible extinction of this one, and yet, right in front of our noses, we could not have a better example of government-sponsored extinction.

b) It is not possible, at seven weeks old, to tell the breed of a dog, especially when that identification determines the life or death of that dog. It is impossible (and illegal) to identify a purebred dog if it doesn’t have kennel club registration papers.

c) Failure to keep these pups (or any dog) alive during a court case is an abuse of the protection afforded poundkeepers when they choose to destroy a dog. It is simply wrong to try to kill the dog as quickly as possible before the owners can win their court case.

d) According to the judge’s recent decision, the onus is no longer solely on the owner to prove the breed of their dog (or lack of).

So, ultimately, the Sarnia authorities are saying, “we think it might, possibly, look like something that we think might, possibly, be illegal, so we’re going to kill these living, breathing animals, even if you prove us wrong later”.

This reminds of one of the white supremacists’ favourite sayings: “Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out”.


Steve Barker

The death of the mixed breed dog

There was a time when, if asked, I would have said that only licensed, ethical breeders of registered, purebred dogs should be allowed to breed, in order to eliminate backyard breeding and puppy milling. As with most absolutes, I have gradually been forced to re-examine that attitude, for a variety of reasons.

I guess, first of all, mandatory spay/neuter, just by its very nature, must end up descending into the insanity that is California’s Bill AB1634, recently (and narrowly) passed by the State Assembly. I’m sure this bill is primarily intended to allow authorities to easily shut down puppy millers, but how the heck do they really think this is going to help anybody?

Forced sterilization of all non-purebred dogs by four months of age? Can any reasonable, logical person step back, look at that statement, and truthfully say, “Yep, that’ll work”?

Like the Ontario pit bull ban, engineered by the governing Liberal Party purely to look good on TV, the only people who will obey this law are the ones that weren’t the problem in the first place.

I was just commenting to a friend of mine today how many bully breed dogs are walking around Toronto unmuzzled, yet I’m afraid to sit on my front porch without muzzling mine. I love my dogs and I’ve seen too many dogs die because of neighbour complaints or overzealous officers.

Same in California.

The already illegal and badly bred Mexican imports will not only continue, but will grow to meet increased demand.

The backyard breeders will continue to breed, illegaly, as they have in Ontario. They just won’t advertise in the newspapers anymore.

The good hobby breeders, who can’t afford the new licensing provisions, will simply give up producing their quality product.

The puppy millers will move out of state and then ship their physically sick, temperamentally challenged, overpriced, and unguaranteed designer dogs back to California, which apparently is NOT illegal.

There can only be one result from this law:

No more mixed breed dogs.

In five years, there’ll be half as many as today.

In ten, there’ll be almost none.

In fifteen, absolutely none.

Except, of course, for the ones from Mexico, the backyard breeders, and the out-of-state puppy millers.

Wonderful. Thanks.

Yes, there’ll be purebreds, but the number won’t even be close to enough to go around. Not if the breeders are good breeders who won’t overbreed their females, won’t own or breed a ton of dogs, and won’t hand the dogs out to just anyone.

So I started thinking about the dogs I grew up with and the dogs I’ve owned, none of which were purebred:

  • German Shepherd type
  • Labrador Retriever type
  • Border Collie type
  • Jack Russell Terrier type
  • Collie type
  • Multiple hound mixes
  • Multiple “pit bull” mixes
  • Beagle/Collie mix
  • Husky/Samoyed mix
  • Lab/Shepherd mix

All of these dogs were rescues of some sort or another and none were provable purebred dogs.

They would not have existed in the new California.

The Beagle/Collie mix and the Husky/Samoyed mix were the best dogs I’ve ever had (sorry, Brooklynn and Star, but it’s true).

What would my life be like now if these dogs had never entered my life?

The Beagle/Collie (Trixie) and one of the hound mixes (Dusty) who both taught me, as a child, what it feels like to watch your dog get hit by a car. Trixie got away. Dusty didn’t. Valuable lesson, never forgotten.

The Collie (Piper) who taught me, through a bite, that many dogs don’t like being grabbed by a 12 year old when there are twenty kids in the house at a birthday party.

The Lab who taught me, through a bite, that older dogs feel pain more than younger ones.

The Border Collie who taught me, through a bite, that dogs like to chase moving objects, including children.

The Husky/Samoyed (Panda) whose incredible strength and desire to pull encouraged me to pick up my first dog training book.

The Lab/Shepherd (Zeus) who is probably my biggest regret and heartache and who didn’t deserve the crappy life he had, both before and after me.

The “pit bulls” (Brooklynn & Star) who changed my life forever and gave me my first real taste of discrimination and hatred, as well as cementing lifetime friendships with other dog owners.

None of these would have existed under California’s new law.

There are approximately 80 million dogs in North America. Very few end up in shelters compared to the massive number that stay in their original homes. There may be overpopulation in some areas, but if this type of law spreads throughout the rest of the continent, I fail to see how sterilizing 70 million out of the 80 million dogs is a reasonable solution.

Frankly, I think it’s one step above the Chinese solution of handing over all existing dogs (no exceptions) because of three cases of rabies. It’s rooted in the same overreactive thought process.

A study of shelters in the late 1990’s by the National Council on Pet Population identified the top ten reasons for dogs being relinquished to shelters (Note: this does not include strays picked by rescuers or animal control). They are:

  1. Moving
  2. Landlord issues
  3. Cost of pet maintenance
  4. No time for pet
  5. Inadequate facilities
  6. Too many pets in home
  7. Pet illness
  8. Personal problems
  9. Biting
  10. No homes for littermates

If you look at this list carefully, the only real overpopulation one is #10 (no homes for littermates). #6 might be considered a similar problem, but we can assume that any dog included in #6 is NOT from a recent litter, so that could be bad owner decision-making (in terms of how many dogs were brought into the home) or simply a case of multiple dogs not getting along.

If we break these ten reasons down into major categories, some in multiple categories, we get:

  • Lack of owner planning (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10)
  • Housing (1, 2, 5)
  • Issues out of owner’s control (2, 7, 8)
  • Dog behaviour (9)
  • Backyard breeding (10)

So the issue may not, indeed, be as simple as overpopulation when we’re talking about trying to reduce the number of dogs in shelters. But, like breed banning, it’s an easy thing to legislate (although difficult, if not impossible, to enforce). You can’t easily legislate anything else on that list, with perhaps the exception of forcing landlords to allow pets.

So, just like breed banning, legislators try to force a “one size fits all” law down everyone’s throats, even though the vast majority of mixed breed dogs in the state of California and in Canada and the U.S. will be kept by the parents’ owners or given to a reasonably good home or sold in the newspaper to somebody who’ll love them for the rest of their lives.

Do I agree with these choices by these people? Not particularly. I think there are better ways to acquire dogs and, probably, most people could look after their dogs better than they do, feed them better, give them more exercise, train them more diligently. But most people get a dog, love it and look after it reasonably well until it dies, and then get another. That’s generally the way dog ownership in our countries works.

We have ideals such as mandatory owner testing, mandatory dog training classes, responsible breeding legislation, severe animal cruelty penalties, etc. These ideals are good and I, along with many others, will continue to push for these things. But the chances of legislating these in the near future are slim. With the exception of the animal cruelty laws, these types of laws won’t go over well with the general public and especially with anyone who doesn’t want the government interfering with Joe Public’s everyday life (I include myself in that group).

So education is a huge component, particularly in those areas that are very difficult to legislate. Only with public education will these types of legislation eventually be allowed and accepted.

California’s approach is doomed to fail. Unfortunately, until such a time as this law is repealed, the rights of millions of law-abiding, dog-loving citizens will have been ignored and an entire generation of lovable, funny-looking, unidentifiable “mutts” will not be there to grow up with kids, love their families, and teach children how to behave around animals.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have suggestions half the time. But I do know a bad law when I see it and this is one of those.

This is a hastily and badly thought-out piece of legislation, heavily promoted by Animal Rights groups who have publicly stated that they want to see the end of all pet ownership. Given those public statements, they could not have asked for anything better than to see the largest state in the country start firmly and unwaveringly on the path to the extinction of an entire species of domestic animal?

And far too many dog owners, sick of puppy millers, mind-boggling animal cruelty, dog fighting, thugs, and gangsters, jump on to the mandatory spay/neuter, mandatory microchipping, and breed banning bandwagons, without any real thought as to the future implications of these laws.

Microchip a dog.
Microchip a car.
Microchip a child.
Microchip a person.
Is there a difference?

Ban a breed and there will be no more dogs of that breed, the majority of which are great dogs owned by good owners. But there will be plenty of other breeds and many, many mixed-breed dogs to replace them, with no reduction in danger to the public.

Sterilize a species and there will be no more of that species. It’s that simple.

Dog owners, WAKE UP! It’s not just paranoia anymore. They really are out to get you!

No pets please, we’re PETA(ish)!!

I know some readers are having trouble wrapping their minds around the possibility that various animal rights organizations are not only anti-breeding, but can also be anti-<place breed name here>, anti-dog, and anti-pet.

So, I’m going to try again.

  1. Not all animal rights organizations are BAD and not all of their members are BAD PEOPLE!!

    Many are truly concerned about the welfare of animals, but may be not aware of some of the behind-the-scenes (and sometimes not so subtle) activities within their own organization or within organizations after which they have modeled their own group.

  2. Typical animal rights objectives include the end of all pet ownership, after existing animals have died off without being replaced. The leaders (or former leaders) of some of the largest animals rights groups in the world have been directly quoted regarding their opinions on pet ownership.

    If you want your eyes opened quickly and harshly about their agenda, see this article.

  3. Breed bans are a method of ending pet ownership..

    Here is an article by Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, in support of “pit bull” bans.

  4. Mandatory spay/neuter by breed is a method of slowly eliminating as many dogs as possible by first targeting the “media demons”, the ones that few people are going to stand up and defend.

    Here’s an example of HSUS’s support for this method.

  5. Mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs is one of the most effective anti-dog program that animal rights groups have come up with to-date. It affects ALL dogs, not just specific breeds..

    It sounds good to the average member of the public, even dog owners, because there is a perception (sometimes accurate, often not) of massive overpopulation with strays running loose in droves.

    Spay/neuter is the solution to this overpopulation, so it supported by politicians, by the media, and by Joe Public, without careful thought as to what our pet situation will be in ten or twenty years if nobody’s breeding!

  6. PETA and the Humane Society of the United States have assisted authorities and testified in court cases (generally as intervenors) AGAINST “pit bulls”, FOR breed bans, and FOR the destruction of existing dogs that have not demonstrated any aggression.
  7. PETA members have been convicted in cases involving taking dogs from shelters under the premise of adopting them out elsewhere, killing them in their van in the shelter parking lot, and dumping the bodies into dumpsters in the same town.
  8. The HSUS publicly advocated the destruction of newborn puppies from a dog breeder, puppies that had not yet had the opportunity to be affected environmentally.

    Thus, their only criteria for promoting this option must have been the breed of the dog (in this case, “pit bull” types).

    This directly contradicts their organization’s policy on dangerous dog legislation:

    “The HSUS opposes legislation aimed at eradicating or strictly regulating dogs based solely on their breed…While breed is one factor that contributes to a dog’s temperament, it alone cannot be used to predict whether a dog may pose a danger to his or her community.”

  9. Mandatory microchipping and registering is a method of tracking dogs that ultimately results in tracking dog owners, along with their personal and private information, locations of residence and employment, and breed ownership.

    Once this information has been obtained, there are little or no guarantees of privacy. This information can easily become available for enforcement of future bans or spay/neuter laws.

    Read this article to understand the ramifications of mandatory microchipping.

  10. The solution promoted by animal rights groups that is probably the most dangerous to dog owners is the gradual movement away from the concept of “ownership” towards “guardianship” in the law, under the guise of fighting animal cruelty.

    The argument is that, if pets are no longer property, then the government has more power to prosecute and prevent animal abuse.

    Read here and here to see how this can affect your ability to make decisions regarding your own pet’s health, training, and welfare.

  11. Finally, in response to a reader’s comments that the Ontario “pit bull” ban was NOT engineered or assisted by animal rights activists, I invite you to consider two things:

    First, Attorney General Michael Bryant’s ONLY statistics during his “banned, banned” press conference came from Animal People News, an extremist anti-“pit bull”, anti-Rottweiler, animal rights magazine.

    Second, read this article for an analysis of his “Where’s the humanity in that?” presentation to the Legislative Committee. It is clearly driven by an animal rights agenda.

How much public money has been wasted on the Ontario dog ownership ban?

How much public money has been wasted on the Ontario dog ownership ban?

We are asking EVERY ONTARIO RESIDENT to contact their MPP and ask them how to file a Freedom of Information request with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance (if necessary) in order to obtain the following information.

You can find your MPP by riding at:

or by your postal code at:

The Ontario Legislature website is likely to be the most accurate, so if you use the Elections Ontario site, make sure you double-check the MPP for your riding using the Legislature site.

Please clip and paste the following and email it to your MPP.


I am asking you to tell me how to file a Freedom of Information request with the Provincial Ministry of the Attorney General and if necessary, the Ministry of Finance, regarding expenditures associated with Bill 132/Amendments to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act of Ontario, 2005. I would like to know how much public money was spent on the following items.

I would also appreciate your raising this question in the House.

1. Press releases and conferences announcing the intent to ban ‘pit bulls’ in Ontario

2. Expenses and honoraria for affidavits and other information solicited from extramural experts in 2004/2005 such as Alan Beck, any private law firms and others in Canada and the US whom the government may have consulted prior to holding Committee Hearings in winter 2005.

3. Public hearings conducted by the Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on January 24, January 27, February 2, February 3, 2005 including:

a) Research costs
b) Supplies including photocopying, paper, postage
c) Travel Expenses for Committee members
d) Any payments made to witnesses at the hearings
d) Venues, audiovisual, computer and other equipment costs
e) All other costs associated with the hearings.

4. Costs associated with preparation of the Report by Committee.

5. Training costs for Animal Control officers in Ontario.

6. Dissemination of notices and other information to the public, educating them about the provisions in the law.

7. Legal Fees:

a) Expert testimony including travel expenses and honoraria for Alan Beck, Tom Skeldon, and any other witness expenses associated with pre-trial examinations
b) Legal fees associated with preparation of the defence, including hourly rate, number of hours spent
c) Research costs relative to the defence including time and materials
d) Legal fees for barristers to present arguments in Ontario Superior Court on May 15, 16 and 18, 2006 and to argue three motions
e) Costs specifically associated with the motion filed in summer 2006 and argued in Superior Court on December 21, 2006 including costs for reports, witness testimony, travel expenses, research costs, lawyer fees (internal and external), courts costs, material costs and any other pertinent expenditures.
f) Any other expenses related to defending the constitutional challenge to the amended Dog Owners’ Liability Act, 2005
g) Fees paid to the Court

8. Any other costs not listed above relative to the matter described.

Please let me know when you have filed the request and when I can expect to receive the information.

Thank you very much for your time and effort.



Voting without knowledge or understanding

Don’t know how I missed this before.

The Ontario committee hearings on the Dog Owners’ Liability Act were a constant flow of politicians (members of provincial parliament), with no one day containing the same nine members of the committee. I really don’t know how they managed to vote intelligently without personally hearing (or reading) all of the evidence.

I also happen to know that the answers to all the committee’s requests for more information arrived at the desks of the individual committee members THE NIGHT BEFORE they were to vote on the Bill. Two large boxes of presentations, CD’s, research papers, and summaries were deposited at each of the members’ offices.

It would not have been possible for them to read the answers to their own questions before being required to vote the next day!

That’s not even the worst part.

Two Liberal MPP’s (Kuldip Kular and John Wilkinson) did not attend ANY of the committee hearings, yet were two of the five Liberal members to vote on the amendments, pretending that they even had a clue what was going on without having heard a single word of any of the presentations.

Kuldip Kular is the MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale and can be contacted here.

John Wilkinson is the MPP for Perth-Middlesex and can be contacted here.

Feel free to let them know how you feel.

If you want to find out for yourself who attended the hearings each day and who voted later, you can visit the following links:

Committee (Toronto) – January 24 2006

Committee (Barrie) – January 27 2006

Committee (Brantford) – February 2 2006

Committee (Toronto) – February 3 2006

Committee (Voting) – February 10 2006

Guilty by association


These are but a few of the many experiences that some, if not most, owners of certain types of dogs must endure on a regular and frequent basis.

As a direct result of the disinformation spouted by mainstream media organizations and by publicity-seeking politicians, many average citizens seem to feel that it’s perfectly acceptable, perhaps even necessary, to harass, threaten, and assault other law-abiding citizens.

From the Dog Politics blog, here are some examples of these types of actions:

  • People crossing the street, or screaming and cursing at a dog owner;
  • Denial of accomodations at a hotel or campground, or access to a park;
  • Disabled persons with service dogs being asked to leave a store or restaurant;
  • Physical assaults including spitting, kicking, throwing of rocks, cans, bottles.

If you think these are exaggerations or unusual occurrences, I can tell you from personal experience that they’re not! All of the above have occurred to either myself or close friends – not just once, but multiple times – in some cases with very serious physical consequences.

I have also received many reports of similar experiences from other dog owners, particularly those in Ontario, Canada.

Dog Politics, My Dog Votes, Love Does Not Discriminate, along with average dog owners throughout the world, have had enough!

Everyone now has the opportunity to fight back by helping to create a database of every act of discrimination and harassment against dogs and their owners, worldwide.

You can now report media bias against specific dog breeds or types, insurance discrimination against dog owners, and assault or harassment of dogs and their owners.

To report MEDIA BIAS, click here.


To report ASSAULT OR HARASSMENT, click here.

Read the full Dog Politics story here.

Fantino on irresponsible driving

Julian Fantino, current Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner (chief), former Toronto Police chief, former Ontario Commissioner of Emergency Management, and key supporter of Ontario’s pit bull ban during that law’s committee hearings, has decided to focus his police force, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on an all-out effort to end senseless highway tragedies.

I have no problem with his new approach (with the exception of cancelling the always charming Sergeant Cam Woolley’s reports). The problem I have is that, in two very similar scenarios, his choices are alarmingly different.

During the committee hearings into Ontario’s proposed (and eventually passed) changes to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, it appeared that the former Toronto Police Chief’s testimony regarding the dangers police officers faced from “pit bulls” was one of the primary persuading arguments in favour of the new legislation. Purporting to represent the entire force, despite my own conversations with individual officers who thought the law was silly, Fantino presented a strong authority figure whose arguments could not be disputed without appearing to be anti-police.

Here are some quotes from his testimony:

“Many people consider these dogs to be wonderful house pets. But I can tell you from our experiences that these dogs are used as weapons.”

“These are not cases where pit bulls have been in the home as the family dog; rather, as I’ve already mentioned, these are cases where pit bulls have been trained to guard the home and attack intruders, including the police. In reality, they have been trained to attack and are being actively used as weapons. In these cases, our tactical officers on the emergency task force have had to retrain in order to deal with these dogs, and they do so on a regular basis.”

“Our emergency task force officers say that, on average, one in four of the warrants they execute is at a place where there is a pit bull.”

Fantino’s full presentation before the committee can be found here.

Even though he stated multiple times that he was specifically referring to dogs owned and trained by criminals, he seemed more than happy to support a law that targeted hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Ontario dog owners.

Now compare his comments above to his quoted comments from a Toronto Star story about the OPP’s new approach to road safety:

“Every one of these collisions was preventable, every one the tragic consequence of inappropriate driving behaviour. I found we were focusing in certain areas when we should be looking at all the areas that contribute to diminished traffic safety. And that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

“I believe that in the hands of an irresponsible person, a motor vehicle is no less dangerous than a loaded firearm in the hands of an equally irresponsible individual. In reality, the potential trauma is tragically similar and the consequences equally unacceptable.”

I would like to point out to Mr. Fantino that, if he simply changed all the words “collisions”, “driving”, “traffic”, and “motor vehicle” to “dog bite incidents”, “dog ownership”, and “dog”, he would find himself arguing in favour of strict responsible dog ownership laws and higher penalties for infractions. He would not be able to blame the dogs, as he did in the past.

He would be forced, by his own words here, to lay the blame solely at the feet of irresponsible owners.

The full Toronto Star story can be found here.

Advice from an expert

Every morning, a quotation pops up on my computer. I was particularly struck by today’s.

“What luck for rulers that men do not think.”

The speaker was Adolf Hitler.

As 2006 ends, I and many others have spent the last two years fighting Ontario’s pit bull ban. An online conversation this morning discussed people’s blind acceptance of blatantly false and disproved statements from politicians and “authorities”.

My morning quotation fit in perfectly with that conversation.

I did a quick search for other quotes by Hitler and found a few, mostly from The Quotations Page, Brainy Quote, and Nazism Exposed.

I have not been able to confirm the sources of these quotations. I have no idea if Hitler really said them. They’re just food for thought.

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.

Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized.

It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.

The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.

The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.

The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.

The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.

What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.

When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”

Front Groups

I received a comment from Anonymous about my previous post, PETA Kills Animals!, stating that “the Center for Consumer Freedom is a front organization…(with) almost zero credibility”.

I do not dispute this. Everyone has an agenda and CCF definitely has one. The following quote is from their “About Us” section:

“The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.”

“The Center for Consumer Freedom is supported by restaurants, food companies and more than 1,000 concerned individuals. From farm to fork, our friends and supporters include businesses, employees and consumers.”

Clearly, reading through their website, CCF is biased against animal-rights organizations, particularly those that try to force their own choices on the rest of the world through propaganda, lobbying, and sometimes through violence.

I am also biased against those same organizations, so perhaps I’m a little more willing to use information from CCF’s website. I’m biased against an organization whose stated objective is to end all pet ownership and that supports, and lobbies for, legislation that automatically kills dogs because of the way they look.

That said, having been dealing with “pit bull” mania for years, I know how easy it is for anyone to twist facts and figures to suit their particular purpose and CCF might be no different in that regard.

Perhaps the most important point to remember, regardless of the source on the Internet, is that the documents and statistics shown on the website are from actual documents provided by PETA themselves to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the years 1998 through 2004.

Take away any hyperbole and propaganda from either side. Ignore, for the moment, the bias that may or may not be spread throughout the CCF website. Look only at the documents provided by PETA themselves. Those documents speak loudly enough.

Bryant is bankrupting Ontario’s Legal Aid system

According to Legal Aid Ontario, grandiose “mega-trials” designed by Ontario’s Attorney General, Michael Bryant, are bankrupting the Legal Aid system, which can now no longer afford to provide assistance to people who truly need it.

Just like with his ill-conceived dog legislation, Bryant has dived headlong into another pet project (no pun intended) without proper research, consultation, or planning, resulting in suffering to people who don’t deserve it.

Another example of something that sounds great to the public in the beginning, but quickly turns into an unmanageable mess.

Read the Toronto Star article here.

PETA Kills Animals!

It’s been almost a month since my last post. To make up for that, I’ll quote an article that’s over nine months old.

The Center for Consumer Freedom has been a consistent critic of extremist animal rights organizations and has been a valuable source of information regarding not only the terrorist measures to which these groups will resort, but also regarding their financial gains from donations by an unwitting, uninformed public.

A press release from March 3, 2006, states that, in 2005, as reported by PETA to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), PETA killed over 90% of the animals that they received at their Norfolk headquarters.

According to a statistics table on a related site, that’s 1,946 killed, 146 adopted, and 69 transferred to other shelters.

Year 2005
Received 2,145
Adopted 146
Killed 1,946
Transferred 69
% Killed 90.7%
% Adopted 6.8%

If you’re a little skeptical, you may want to view earlier original reports (from 1998 to 2004) submitted to the VDACS. This is a PDF file, so you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

Given PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s unequivocal support, not only of “pit bull” bans, but also of the automatic destruction of “pit bulls” entering shelters, I wonder how many big-headed dogs with silly grins ended up on the killing floor?

Muzzle ALL dogs, again?

I wrote an article a while ago in response to a columnist’s suggestion to muzzle all dogs over 40 pounds. Now we have a contributor in the Toronto Sun suggesting to muzzle all dogs, period.

Most dog bites are not serious. They result in a little cut, abrasion, or bruising. Very few require medical attention, even less require stitches, and even less result in any permanent damage. Even the bites mentioned below that may have required medical attention were mostly minor.

Most dog bites (approx 85%) happen in the family home, neighbour’s home, or relative’s home to a child that the dog knows. Muzzling in public would not prevent these bites.

Here are the numbers from my original article, taken even further after I’ve had time to think about it:

CITY OF TORONTO (approximate numbers):

Number of licensed dogs: 50,000
Estimated total dogs: between 250,000 and 500,000, depending on who’s calculating
Number of reported bites in 2004: 1,000
Number of bites requiring medical attention (at least one suture): 120 (estimated from earlier reports)
Number of bites in public: 150 (15% of all bites)
Number of bites in public requiring medical attention: approx 20

So, to possibly, maybe, perhaps prevent 20 somewhat serious bites, somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 dogs would have to be muzzled, every day, twice a day.

No more parks or beaches. No more happy greetings between dogs or to humans on the street. No more proper socialization.

The dogs will become defensive, frustrated, undersocialized, and neurotic. Their walks will be focused on the muzzles, not on their owners or their surroundings. The excitement and enjoyment of their daily outings will be replaced by misery and conflict.

If and when one of those dogs gets loose from their backyard, it will be much more likely to bite than a dog who has met and played with hundreds of children and dogs throughout its life.

To me, this is not a valid tradeoff, especially when 79 people were murdered in Toronto last year and 59 died in car accidents. You want to save lives? Focus on that and leave the dog owners alone!

Muzzle ALL Dogs?

At first glance, this article by Roger LeBlanc in the Guelph Mercury appears to be positive, especially when read by “pit bull” owners who have been the sole target of the Ontario government’s breed-specific legislation.

The approach suggested by Mr. LeBlanc, however, is yet one more assault on responsible owners of all dogs, regardless of breed.

Muzzle all dogs over 40 pounds!

Let’s step back for a second and look at this logically.

First, study after study has shown that approximately 85% of all dog bites occur on the dog owner’s property, a relative’s property, or a neighbour’s property. So, right off the bat, 85% of all dog bites would NOT be solved by this proposal, since the dogs would not have to be muzzled on private property.

Second, there are very few dog bite incidents that involve a dog being walked on leash. Most incidents outside an enclosed property are cases of dogs that have escaped from private property or cases where owners are walking their dogs off-leash illegally. If irresponsible owners are able to flaunt existing laws with impunity, then they’ll continue to flaunt more restrictive laws. We see this today in Ontario, with many owners of restricted dogs still walking their dogs unmuzzled and off-leash. The only ones who seem to be obeying the law are the ones who weren’t the problem in the first place – the responsible owners who care about their dogs and the community in which they live.

Yes, we do have Michael Bryant’s example, the case of Lauren Harper, the five-year-old daughter of Louise Ellis, who was severely bitten by an on-leash dog, after having been given permission by the owner to pet the dog. If, however, we look a little more closely at that incident, we realize that a) the owner was severely intoxicated and b) the dog ALREADY had a muzzle order for having previously bitten. This is an example of an owner who would not have obeyed ANY law, regardless of whether or not it applied only to him. In all likelihood, little Lauren would not have been protected by an all-dog muzzle law because this man was either too drunk or too insolent to obey it!

Third, there must be some consideration, when creating laws, to try to find a balance between public safety and the severe restriction of responsible, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. If we truly wanted to prevent traffic fatalities and we weren’t concerned at all about the rights of car owners, we would simply ban all cars. Presto! No more deaths from cars! But we don’t do that because the number of traffic fatalities does not justify that sort of sweeping, invasive legislation. If we wanted to prevent pedestrian fatalities, we could fence every road so that pedestrians are forced to stay on sidewalks until they reach an appropriate crossing. We could put gates in those fences that only open when the WALK signal is activated. Aside from the astronomical costs of doing this, we choose not to because we can’t treat everyone as if they have no brains. That’s what a police state does, but, as a progressive and free society, we give people more rights. One of those rights is the right to make the wrong decision. As an alternative to the micromanagement approach of a police state, we instead try to educate the public on the consequences of making the wrong decision and then we enforce those consequences when a transgression occurs.

The same applies to dog bites. There is NOT an epidemic of dog bites and there is certainly not any great number of attacks on members of the public by out-of-control, rampaging dogs. In the Toronto area, last year, there were 1,000 reported bites (not necessarily attacks, just recorded bites). Out of those, we can surmise that approximately 85% (or 850) were on private property, where muzzle laws would not apply. Out of the remaining 150, probably half were small dogs (under 40 pounds). So, at the very most, we had 75 bites that a muzzle law may have affected. My guess, however, is that a large number of those would have been dogs that had escaped their houses or backyards and so would never have been expected to be muzzled. Even so, if we kept the number as is, that’s 75 bites (not necessarily attacks) out of an estimated 250,000 dogs in the Toronto area. Assuming that half of all dogs are over 40 pounds (probably more than half), that means that we’re going to have to muzzle 125,000 dogs at least twice a day, every day of the year, in order to perhaps, possibly, prevent 75 bites.

In contrast, those 125,000 dogs are now not going to be properly socialized, are not going to have the opportunity to interact positively with members of the public, particularly children, and are not going to be comfortable or relaxed around other dogs because they’re constantly on the defensive. In essence, we will be creating problems where there were none.

I have seen this with my own dogs, who, rather than enjoying their daily walks, are instead focused entirely on these correction devices attached to their faces. It has created frustration and it has caused their social skills to decrease. When approached by other dogs especially, they are automatically placed into a defensive frame of mind and that body language is transmitted to the approaching dog, causing inappropriate behaviour among all the dogs (muzzled or not).

As proposed ad nauseum to the Ontario government, a better approach would be education and enforcement, the same as speeding, the same as drunk driving. On a massive scale, tell people why their behaviour is a problem. Explain the consequences. Then, when people ignore the law, hit them with a very big hammer.

That’s a better option than hitting everyone with a small hammer, every day, twice a day, just in case they might decide to do something wrong, sometime in the future!

In order to understand how far-reaching and invasive Mr. LeBlanc’s suggestion might be, let’s apply it to muggings or assaults on members of the public by criminals. Most of these are committed by men. So, in order to prevent public muggings and assaults, we should require that all men be handcuffed when out in public. This would, of course, create a huge public outcry. So, instead of applying it to all men, we’ll target a specific group of men – those over two hundred pounds (because they may do more damage), those who live in risky areas (because that’s where the majority of the muggings occur), and only at night time (because that’s when most of these incidents happen).

The concept is no different. Trying to prevent a miniscule number of crime incidents by targeting a huge number of responsible citizens is not good law. It treats your average member of the public as if he or she is an idiot, it tramples all over their rights as citizens, and, in the end, it doesn’t solve the problem!