Friday, August 26, 2005

Ban will cause Pit bull Slaughter!

Ban will cause pit bull slaughter: activists
CREDIT: AP Photo, Rich Pedroncelli

Gillian Livingston
Canadian Press
August 25, 2005
CREDIT: AP Photo, Rich Pedroncelli

Harley, a four-month-old Bull Terrier mix, gives her owner, Piper, a lick during a rally held in support of the breed held at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.

CREDIT: AP Photo, Rich Pedroncell
TORONTO -- Animal rescue organizations and humane societies fear that hundreds of pit bulls will be abandoned and then have to be destroyed after Canada's first provincewide pit bull ban comes into effect in Ontario on Monday.
They also fear there will be a "slaughter" of puppies born after Nov. 27, at which point they will be considered illegal in the province.
A slew of pit bulls were abandoned to shelters or simply let loose in Windsor, Ont., as some owners found it too difficult to comply with the city's strict pit bull ban brought in last October, said John Roushorne, general manager of the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society.
Now, as a result of the provincewide ban "we can't take dogs that we identify as being pit or mixed pit as anything other than a euthanasia," Roushorne said.
The shelter's space is limited and there is little prospect of adopting out a pit bull.
"We have no place to put them, I'd have them stacked on top of each other if I wasn't euthanizing them."
About 20 pit bull-type dogs have come to the society every month so far this year -- a significant jump from previous years, Roushorne said, and there's no sign that's abating. Dozens of those dogs had to be euthanized.
The pit bull rescue agency Advocates for the Underdog estimates at least 350 pit bull or pit bull mixes have been destroyed since the Windsor ban was instituted. They warn that's now the fate for many dogs across Ontario.
In recent months, the society and other rescue organizations have been able to find homes outside the province for "the cream of the crop," mainly young, friendly pit bulls. But that's drying up as the provincewide ban looms on the breed the Ontario government has declared "inherently dangerous."
Pit bull rescue organizations outside Ontario will only be able to take so many dogs, said Jennifer Windh, founding director of Barlee's Angel's Rescue Network in Guelph, Ont.
The rest will "go down. They'll be put to sleep," she said.
Attorney General Michael Bryant put the law in place after a public outcry over a spate of horrific and bloody attacks by pit bulls on children, adults and other pets last year.
Humane societies oppose the ban, stressing that outlawing the breed won't stop all dog bites. Society officials say there needs to be stricter penalties for irresponsible owners of all dog breeds, and applaud some of those measures in the new law.
"They could have done that in the first place without forcing us to euthanize all these delightful pit bulls," Roushorne said.
But, now, people are wary of keeping or adopting a dog that has to be leashed and muzzled in public and could draw harassment from people who hate all pit bulls because of the breed's reputation, animal officials say.
Pit bulls already in Ontario as of Monday are "grandfathered." These restricted pit bulls can stay in the province as long as they're sterilized, and leashed and muzzled in public. There's a 60-day grace period -- to Oct. 28 -- for people to comply with the law.
"That dog can continue to live out its days," said Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General.
Crawley said the government doesn't anticipate that people will give up their dogs, since that's not required.
While the law also makes it illegal to breed pit bulls or import them into the province, those that are here already can be adopted.
If a person didn't own a restricted pit bull as of Monday, they can acquire one, either through adoption or through a bequest, but they can't buy one, Crawley said.
Another question is the fate of puppies born after Nov. 27, the last day they will be considered restricted. Pit bull puppies born after this date must be shipped out of the province, sent to a research facility or destroyed, said Crawley.
More pit bulls will be euthanized by animal agencies in the coming months "because you've still got the jerks out there that are breeding these pit bulls," Roushorne said.
"So it's basically going to be a slaughter."
In Winnipeg, more pit bulls ended up at the city's pound after a ban was instituted in 1990. They were euthanized because of a policy not to adopt out dangerous dogs.
Humane societies in other cities such as Toronto and Ottawa haven't and don't expect to see an influx of stray or surrendered pit bulls, officials say.
Owners have been calling in search of information about how to comply with the new law. Others have inquired about how to adopt another pit bull in a bid to rescue them from a dire destiny.
Windsor isn't the only city with concerns. Lorna Chamberlain, executive director of the London Humane Society said people are giving up or leaving their dogs in the street already.
"We're certainly worried about it, however it's already started in humane organizations," she said. "We've seen it mostly with abandonment."
The London Humane Society only euthanizes unhealthy or badly tempered animals and the rest are put up for adoption. But people who want to and are suitable to adopt a pit bull "are few and far between," she said.
Chamberlain said she doesn't know what the future holds for pit bulls the society can't find homes for.
"That's something that the board of directors has to address," she said. "This is not something we've had to address before."
© Canadian Press 2005


Amstaffie said...

Pure genocide.


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Conners said...

Lorna Chamberlain is the Humane Society Director for London and has tried everything in her power to stand up for the Pit bulls. She spoke in City Hall and explained that the breeds weren't bad, but the irrsesponsible owners that use these dogs. She continues to speak up for them in the media and on our HS website.
We know what's going on and are so saddened, emagine her and the others that have to actually 'see'and do the dirty work of putting these poor dogs down.
There is so much heart break all around.