Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Beware of raccoons -Trash-eating critters can infect dogs

I found this article in the Toronto Sun and wanted to share it with you to please protect your dogs and yourselves.

Beware of raccoons
Trash-eating critters can infect dogs

Unlike many Torontonians, I have never minded sharing the city with our four-footed furry masked bandits. But recently I've learned that raccoons are not only bothersome trash-eaters but also disease carriers whose infections can be spread to other animals.

In talking to pet-owners and dog-walkers, I'd heard that dogs can get leptospirosis (a bacteria found in many raccoons.) Unfortunately, this disease can also be transmitted from infected dogs to owners via a friendly lick to the face.

Leptospirosis is one of those zoonotic infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans or from humans to animals. Rabies is one such infection, bird flu is another.

Unlike those scary diseases, however, leptospirosis can be cured by antiobiotics. The trouble is that the disease is rarely if ever on the radar screen of most family physicians, says John Prescott, chair of the department of pathobiology at Guelph University.


"Leptospirosis can cause a serious infection in people," he explains, confirming what I'd heard. "In the last few years we have recognized several cases in humans that have been acquired from dogs. Mostly it's people working in vet practices but it also includes owners of dogs."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leptospirosis is a bacteria disease that causes high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches and vomiting. Because it attacks organs such as kidneys and the liver, the damage is potentially serious, even fatal, if left untreated. It can be confirmed through a laboratory blood or urine test.

Prescott says that veterinarians have noted an increase in the number of cases seen in dogs. One report says that in Canada in 2005 there were more than 1,000 cases compared to only 50 ten years ago.

"Every vet in most parts of Ontario has seen one case if not several more," Prescott says. "We relate it to the existence of large numbers of raccoons. If we look at the kidneys of raccoons dead on the roadside, they all have inflammation of the kidneys so we think the disease has been spreading in the raccoon population."

The organism resides in the kidneys, Prescott explains, so the disease is spread from the urine. Dogs may be exposed to the bacteria through urine-contaminated water: Think city raccoons peeing everywhere, warm rainy weather, and plenty of puddles for dogs to stick their snouts in. Skunks can also be lepto carriers. Cats, by the way, are immune to the disease.


Prescott believes that climate change is also to blame for the increase in cases: "The leptospira bacteria thrive in wet, moderate temperatures and do not like dryness or cold. For example, during an especially warm and wet fall in 2000 we saw a huge surge."

The recent cold snap killed the bacteria, but come spring there will be another round of infections as the weather warms up and dampness returns.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that leptospirosis occurs worldwide and is most common in temperate or tropical climates, making it a recreational hazard for campers or those who swim, wade or whitewater raft in contaminated lakes and rivers.

In the past, lepto was well-controlled through vaccinations but today's lepto cases are a result of a couple of new strains of the bacteria.

"There's now a new vaccine that contains two of the strains that are present in raccoons," Prescott says. But because the vaccine is not yet recommended as a "core' vaccine (like rabies and distemper are), not all veterinarians recommend it. Some believe only the outdoorsy, water dogs in their practice are at risk while ordinary city dogs are not.

"But anywhere there are raccoons, you and your pet can be exposed," warns Prescott, who says that the disease is a public health issue and one that family physicians should learn more about.

"If someone came to their doctor with liver disease, the last thing the doctor would probably ask them is if they have a dog. It's important to increase the awareness of it in that leptospirosis is something that's been pretty dramatic in the animal world in the last year. Ten years ago, nobody would have heard of it."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Pit bull Debate

Many of us admit we are sick of all articles saying, 'Pit bulls are safe in the right hands.' There are many bullies that have been rescued from fight rings or criminals that have turned into loving pets. It's true that many of the fight rings and back yard breeders, breed for aggression and alter their genetics, but that isn't their typical dispusion.

Even back in the days when they breed them for fighting other dogs in the ring, they still had loving personalitites towards their families. Any that showed aggression were shot in the head immediately. That disputes the theory of what they are saying today of bullie attacking children and adults alike.

Letters in today's Globe and Mail:
"The pit-bull debate"

Toronto -- Must we keep having this ridiculous argument about breed-specific legislation? John Barber (Pit Bull Ban Could Be Just A Start For A Safer City-- Toronto edition, Jan. 24) rightly points out that virtually every organization that has anything to do with dog breeding, training, welfare and safety is against such laws, but he fails to point out why. It's because, despite many such bans around the world, there is no evidence that they actually improve safety or reduce the number of dog-attack incidents.

More to the point, we know there are other working models, right here in Canada, that have greatly reduced the number of dog-bite incidents without instituting breed-specific laws. By strictly enforcingexisting bylaws regarding dog ownership (i.e. leashing and licensing) and instituting an educational campaign about responsible dog ownership, Calgary has seen adramatic decline in dog-bite incidents. Programs like that may not be as dramatic and politically expedient as breed bans, but they are very effective.

Toronto -- We've all heard the argument that pit bulls are dangerous dogs. A more thoughtful article would have explored the fact that most aggression on the part of pit bulls is the result of human interference and would have investigated what we can do about it.

These dogs are the victims. Some are brutalized and used for underground dog fighting and are bred for aggression. This has resulted in a distorted image of the breed as a whole.

Furthermore, the culture of machismo among some young males includes acquiring pitbulls.Many pit bulls are gentle and loving and can be socialized as such. A more appropriate and compassionate policy (but perhaps one less politically popular) would be to address the issues of breeding, training and the keeping of unneutered dogs rather than the quick fix of banning ownership of pit bulls.

Toronto -- John Barber's column pokes a hole in the old argument that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

A pit bull you see today on the streets of Toronto traces its genetic line back to a dog that managed to survive at least one battle with a bear. The logic of those who defend breeds known for their aggressive and dangerous disposition is beyond me.

Arethere not other breeds that offer the same companionship and joy but that don't carry within thema genetic time bomb?

Bradford, Ont. -- Sure, why not increase public safety by banning dogs from cities? While we are at it, we can ban skateboards, bicycles and sharp, pointy sticks, all of which assuredly cause more injuries than dogs.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pit bull ban could be just a start for a safer city

John Barber waits to receive heaps of emotional and angry email for responces from his yesterday's Globe and Mail article.

Pit bull ban could be just a start for a safer city

Good news! The number of pit bulls destroyed by the city every year has increased substantially since the breed was banned province wide in August, 2005.

Five hundred of the dogs have died painlessly in municipal facilities since the ban, compared with 441 that suffered the same fate in the 16 months prior to its enactment.

Of special interest, almost 200 of the potentially vicious animals were executed summarily: not because of anything they had done, but simply because of what they were.

The law is biting back.

This is not necessarily good news to the municipal officials charged with its enforcement.

Toronto animal services manager Eletta Purdy is one of a legion of experts, genuine and otherwise, who oppose the ban.

She would prefer to assess each potentially dangerous dog "on its own merit" before deciding whether to put it down.

"If it was a healthy, well-behaved dog, we would be placing it up for adoption, regardless of the breed," she said.

But now, municipal officials all over Ontario are forced to destroy many healthy, well-behaved and potentially adoptable dogs, simply because of their breed.

Because of that, and for many other reasons, just about every animal-welfare organization in existence, from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, opposes breed-specific bans.

Their ultimate argument is that such bans do nothing to reduce the risk to small children of being torn to pieces by vicious dogs that, they acknowledge, were bred to kill.

But what if they're wrong?

What if even one of those 200 summary executions prevented a single hideous mauling of the sort that inspired Attorney-General Michael Bryant to ban pit bulls in Ontario?

That would be very good news.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to determine anything beyond the fact that more potentially dangerous dogs are being euthanized.

Dog attacks were not classified by breed prior to the ban, according to Ms. Purdy, so there is no way to determine whether or not it has increased public safety.

"I have no evidence that tells me one way or another," she said.

"In order to ascertain that, you would have to have some very good statistical information, and I'm not sure that exists."

In the absence of any reliable data, hypotheses rule.

Among those who oppose the ban, the most common is a variation on the refrain that "guns don't kill people, people do."

Even though pit bulls have been bred to be vicious (just as guns are designed to kill), such dogs are said to be safe if handled properly.

This is no doubt true.

The problem is this breed's particular attraction to people who value vicious dogs and don't mind using them for the purpose to which they were bred.

A pit bull ban can't contain the anti-social impulse, but it does, to some small extent, disarm it.

People say that irresponsible dog owners will switch to other breeds when they can't have pit bulls.

Again, they're right.

Who can forget the news from Christmas Day, when two free-roaming Rottweilers attacked a Hamilton toddler in a mauling that lasted for minutes, despite the efforts of bystanders to free him.

The boy "looked like he was a doll being torn apart," according to a neighbour.

Different generations choose their own vicious dogs.

German shepherd dogs, bred to attack people and used for that purpose in the Belgian Congo and German concentration camps, were once the most dangerous dogs on Canadian city streets.

Then it was Dobermans, then pit bulls.

Now, it appears, the vicious dog of the day is the Rottweiler -- "a natural weapon of war," according to some of its fanciers.

Fortunately, there is a simple answer to this emerging dilemma: a ban on Rottweilers, followed by bans on any other breeds that are turned to the same anti-social purposes, until people finally realize that a crowded city is no place for potentially vicious animals.

The pit bull ban is a good start.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Attacks by dangerous dogs can be dramatically reduced by eliminating illegal dog breeding

The message is the same no matter what part of the world you live. The seedy and greedy will always try their get rich schemes at all costs and quality doesn't matter. This article is from the Morecambe News in the UK.

Danger dog warning
ATTACKS by dangerous dogs could be dramatically reduced by eliminating illegal dog breeding.

That is the message from Lancaster City Council in the wake of the death of five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson (below) earlier this month.

The death has led to a crackdown on dangerous dogs, and in particular pitbulls, around the country.

While there is no particular problem with this type of dog in Lancaster, the issue of dangerous dogs is one which arouses passions.

But by buying dogs from registered breeders or an animal rescue charity, the risks of owning a dog which could go onto maim or kill could be dramatically reduced.

It is currently illegal to sell dogs unless registered with the local authority.

Currently there are only two registered breeders in the district.

Sue Clowes, dog warden manager for the city council, urged anyone looking to buy a pet only to do so from a licensed breeder.

"The last thing a reputable breeder wants to do is damage their own reputation by selling an animal which down the line is going to go on and hurt somebody," she explained."You're much less likely to have temperament problems because they breed their dogs in the correct way."

A dog from a registered breeder will also be healthier and less likely to suffer from health problems in later life.

"The illegal breeders are only in it for the money.

"Illegal breeders also tend to breed dogs which are particularly fashionable, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, she added.

This has led to an increase in the number of these dogs being abandoned and left for rehoming, severely stretching the system.

Registered breeders can be found via the Kennel Club website, www.thekennelclub.org.uk

Animal rescue centres such as Animal Care in Lancaster are also able to assess dogs and place them accordingly. michael.hill@lmnews.co.uk
24 January 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

500 dogs killed in pit bull ban's wake

This is an outrage in this article posted in the Toronto Sun!!! This is one city alone. Can you even imagine how many were doomed to death province wide. Toronto is one of the less strict cities in Ontario

Tue, January 23, 2007
500 dogs killed in pit bull ban's wake
Humane Society says city's too quick in putting down dogs

The city has put down 500 pit bulls and other similar dogs since the province targeted the canines in a tougher provincial law that took affect 16 months ago.

Toronto animal control officials report a 13% increase in the number of pit bulls -- and other dogs of similar breeds -- that have been destroyed when comparing the 16-month periods following and prior to the changes to the Dog Owners' Liability Act on Aug. 29, 2005.

The city euthanized 441 pit bull-type canines -- 59 fewer -- during the 16 months before the law took affect.

"It's significant enough -- certainly to those 59 dogs," said Eletta Purdy, manager of Toronto Animal Services.
She added yesterday that the increase is likely due to provisions that prevent animal officials from putting up banned pit bulls for adoption.

The legislation bans ownership of pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any other dog that possesses characteristics of those singled out on the list.

However, exemptions are granted if someone in Ontario owned one of the targeted dogs at the time the law was enacted. Animal control officials cannot put dogs up for adoption if they do not qualify for an exemption to an ownership ban.

Purdy said she doesn't know whether the legislation's anti-pit bull provisions have made Toronto a safer place.

"I don't know that pit bulls, per se, were the main issue as far as dealing with dog bites and attacks," she said. "I think the issue was mainly having to do with specific dogs and their behaviour as opposed to a breed group."

Animal control is now determining the number of pit bull attacks on humans that have occurred since the legislation came into force.

Purdy said the law does have measures that allow animal control to better deal with menacing dogs in general.
Lee Oliver, of the Toronto Humane Society, which opposes the breed-specific ban, said he believes those enforcing the legislation in Ontario are too quick to put down the dogs.

"If people will slow down and pay attention, we don't have to be euthanizing all these dogs," he added.
Oliver said that when there's doubt, animal control officials are destroying pit bulls instead of asking questions.
Of the 122 dogs up for adoption at the Toronto Humane Society yesterday, 50 of the pit bulls had had owners.


City animal control officials have euthanized 500 pit bulls and other similar dogs since new provincial legislation kicked in August 2005:

- 122 of the euthanized animals were put down at the request of an owner.

- Concerns about temperament or behaviour prompted the euthanization of 107 of the animals.

- The courts ordered eight to be destroyed.

- Another 195 were put down because they were banned -- no evidence someone owned them prior to the implementation of the law.

- 26 for health reasons.

- 42 were euthanized for other reasons.

- The city estimates there are 250,000 dogs in Toronto. Dog owners have purchased licences for 24,267 pets. Of that total, 1,185 of the licences are for pit bulls and dogs of similar breeds.

- Animal control officers have laid 137 charges against owners since the new legislation came into force in connection with 93 pit bull-related complaints.

- Changes to the Dog Owners' Liability Act ban people from owning pit bulls, Straffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers or any other dog that has the characteristics of those.

- Those who continue to own pit bulls must abide by regulations that require they be sterilized and leashed and muzzled in public.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Another Dog Attack - Are The Media Making Things Worse?

Another Dog Attack - Are The Media Making Things Worse?

Nine year old Jordan Gillon is today recovering after being bitten bythree Rottweilers in his home. The incident happened whilst Jordan was playing with the son of the dogs' owner. One of the dogs has been put down and the other two are said to be under consideration for the same fate.

Dramatic press reactions swiftly followed the terrible and terrifyingincident. One daily tabloid managed to use the phrase "devil dogs" twice in one short report, along side emotive descriptions such as "snarling" and"savage".

Whilst much of the broadcast media has been commendably fair andbalanced in the wake of recent dog attacks, the same cannot be said for certain publications. Clearly, emotive journalism is equally as valuable as balanced, factual reporting, but at what cost to dogs and their owners?

K9 Magazine spoke to a serving Police Constable who explained firsthand how the media portrayal of dog attacks is having a direct affect on his day to day work.

"Since the little girl was tragically killed in Leicester, myself andcolleagues have been called to a substantially higher number of dog bite incidents than ever before. We take all calls of this nature very seriously, but what surprises and disturbs is the way parents and onlookers demand that the dog in question is destroyed. Of course a bite can be upsetting and of yes, sometimes fatal, but many times we are called to attend a case where a young dog has nipped a child on the arm, sometimes we arrive and the child is off playing whilst the mother protests that the dog is dangerous.

I have even attended scenes where neighbours and witnesses have taken me aside and informed me that the bite victim, usually a child, had been teasing or scaring the dog in question. One incident involving a Rottweiler pup resulted in me having to caution the parent of a child for wasting police time. She admitted that her son had been "roughing up" the dog and the bite was so mild that the child was happily playing on his bike.

I put it down to the media hysteria which paints certain breeds as killing machines. It puts panic into communities and they react to it by being over cautious.

"Perhaps one of the reasons more dog attacks are "happening" is simply that more dog attacks are being reported in the press, causing more people to report minor incidents to the press.


Discuss this story now at www.dogchat.co.uk or see more dog stories at our Dog News website

Thursday, January 18, 2007

For Animal-Welfare Advancement

Greg, my friend from the Philippines needs our help and we can do that with writing emails.

It doesn't matter where we live and what animals need help. We as animal lovers have the powere to help and I hope you will all join in and start emailing to get rid of this horrible, neglected practise.

I am including his email to me. PLEASE HELP!!!

For Animal-Welfare Advancement!

Here are links and addresses which anyone of you, fellow-animal lovers, can use to help advance our fight against animal cruelty here in the country.

I hope you don't find this demanding.

I am planning to send other friends this plea, too. I am still in the process of making follow-ups to the Director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Philippines concerning the expose I made on a zoo in one island of the Philippines that feeds live cats, puppies and kid goats to their pythons and crocodiles.

This was covered by the television people here and has seen print on local papers. It has been more than 5 months and all I got from the central office is a faxed memo to the Regional Exec. Director of PAWB to check the matter. Although I have been sent a document signifying that the said zoo has complied with the needed certification and accreditation, it is not what our foundation, Animal kingdom Foundation calls a satisfactory response.

Included are the links where you can read about the matter and, please, if you can write by e-mail the director of the wildlife bureau, do so. I hope you can gather your friends to write, too, asking PAWB-DENR about recent developments of the case. I can only hope they will realize that there are animal-lovers out there who are very much concerned about the plight of the animals here.

Thank you very much, friends! Here's to the year that was which was filled with complacency. Cheers to the New Year which we wish to be filled with proactive energies!

Links and Addresses.

Zamboo Zoo incident: A wake up call by Syril C Repe
We don't feed live animals to crocodiles: zoo operators by Juancho Gallarde
Zoo Paradise World hits foundation's croc feeding

Protected Areas and Wildlife BureauDepartment of Environment and Natural ResourcesNinoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Nature CenterDiliman,
1100 Quezon City
Tel:+(63 2) 9246031-35
Fax:+(63 2) 9240109
Website: http://www.pawb.gov.ph/

Theresa Mundita S. Lim
OIC, Director

Fight against dog-meat trading

House Bill 2991 is currently pending in the Committee on Revision of Laws that provides a stiffer penalty to dog meat traders.

Introduced by Representative Francis Escudero, the creation of the bill was based on the need to upgrade an Act that, as noble as the objectives of the law are, the traders remain elusive because the penalty is unrealistic.

The penalty must be upgraded.

OUR GOAL is to obtain OVER 50,000 signatures by APRIL 30, 2007.

The Bill is expected to be addressed by Congress in May 2007.

It is obvious that the only way we can ensure that dogs in the Philippines are protected is to place the Philippines government under the international spotlight.

Please advance our fight against dog-meat trading!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

DEFEND-A-BULL BLOG: London, Ontario stumpted over restricted, service dog

DEFEND-A-BULL BLOG: London, Ontario stumpted over restricted, service dog

Here's a recent update from my previous post.

On Friday, after not hearing from the man all week, I called him. He was genuinely sorry he didn't call back, but said he was going to have ACC refund me the $50 license fee for Shasta as this could take months of research and it would be better in my hands rather than ACC's. He did say that however, should he find in the law that she wasn't eligable, I would have to pay ACC for her license once again.

I asked him what exactly was he looking for in the law and when he told me he could only find the guide dogs for the blind were the only service dog he could find, I excitedly said, I have a government letter I received in 2005 with the exact information I believe you are looking for. He asked if I could mail it to him ASAP and of course I said I would.

Once we hung up, I went to my computer, found the letter and printed it off for him.

The letter is from Accessably Directorate of Ontario and outlines the existing law regarding the rights of persons who may not be visually impaired, but who require the use of a guide/service dog to function due to a disability.

It includes The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Health Promotion and Protection Act stating there is no discrimination due to physical, mental, blind or visually disabled using a guide/service dog and could be in subject to a human rights complaint.

If this is the proper information I am providing for him, this will make Shasta the first recognized by the city, a restricted, guide/service dog in London.

This is not about the license fees. This is for the right of the city recognizing her as a guide/service dog no matter what her breed. I'll keep you updated.

Man denies attacking dog with chain saw

After you read this horror story from the Republican, please go on and sign the petition I have posted under the article.

Man denies attacking dog with chain saw
Friday, January 05, 2007
By LORI STABILElstabile@repub.com

PALMER - Saying he saw "the devil in the dog's eyes," a 41-year-old Monson man was arraigned in Palmer District Court yesterday for animal cruelty after he attacked a mixed-breed dog with a chain saw, nearly severing one of its paws.

An innocent plea was entered on behalf of Randall R. Mason, 41, who wore a black printed T-shirt. He was ordered held on $10,000 bail by Judge Patricia T. Poehler.

The dog, a 6-year-old female named Duke, was euthanized at Springfield's Boston Road Animal Hospital, said Monson Police Chief Stephen Kozloski Jr.

Assistant District Attorney Mary D. Partyka said the case will be sent to a grand jury for a possible indictment.

Mason was staying with the family at 84 Town Farm Road when the incident happened just after 1 a.m., Partyka said.

While Mason said the dog "freaked out" when he started the chain saw, Partyka said the dog's owner said it was not aggressive. Mason did not have any injuries consistent with being attacked, she said.

Mason told Monson Police Officer Shannon Bingle he "saw the devil in the dog's eyes" and then cut it with the chain saw, Partyka said. He did not mention being attacked, Partyka said.

Mason was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and the commonwealth "is concerned about mental health issues," Partyka said.

Police were called by a baby-sitter, who had been awoken by the sounds of the chain saw and the dog yelping.

"Mr. Mason indicated he acted in self-defense," said his court-appointed lawyer, Thomas A. Waldron, who asked for Mason to be released.

The case was continued to Feb. 1 for a pretrial hearing conference.

According to baby-sitter Sheila J. Chlebus' statement, the back of the dog's head was profusely bleeding, its right foot was flopping, and its left foot was half cut off. She wrote that she did not believe Mason when he said the dog bit him.

Chlebus wrote that she went across the street to call police, then returned to see Mason, who was crying, holding a towel to the dog's head, trying to stop the bleeding.

The dog's 32-year-old owner declined comment, but said he had the dog for about a year.

Partyka cited Mason's past criminal record, which included a theft of a firearm in 2002 for which he received a one-year jail term. The firearm was stolen from the dog owner.

The maximum penalty for felony animal cruelty is five years in state prison or 2½ years in the house of correction and a $2,500 fine.

In 2005, two Southampton men, David R. Betourney and Shawn Fitzgerald Lynch, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for bludgeoning a dog and cat to death. Betourney was sentenced to 2½ years in jail and Lynch was sentenced to six months in jail.

Please sign this petition.

Friday, January 12, 2007


This piece was sent to me through email and I found it QUITE interesting and know you will too. Seems the Dog Wardens have teeth and are biting back.

You may or may not know about Kenneth Baker who was the architect of the UK's breed specific legislation (which has been as useless and discriminatory as Ontario"s). The old timer has been flapping his gums lately about his beloved killer legislation and blaming dog wardens for dog attacks (he of course doesn't blame owners). Well, the dog wardens don't appreciate his shifting of blame and are striking back, good on them.

Dog Wardens Hit Back At Lord Baker

The president of the National Dog Warden Association has leapt to the defence of her members in light of recent criticisms levelled by Lord Kenneth Baker, the former Home Secretary who introduced the Dangerous Dogs Act, at dog wardens.

In an open letter to Lord Baker Susan Bell takes issue with claims from him that the Dangerous Dogs Act is not being implemented properly by the wardens, and that they are in some way responsible for recent tragedies involving dangerous dogs.

- Letter from the National Dog Warden Association to Lord Baker -

"The ability of some individuals and organisations to re-write history still absolutely amazes me!

I do not need to re-write history to know that from the outset in 1989/90, through documents I myself wrote, that the National Dog Warden Association presented to government the concept of punishing the deed not the breed. It would have also allowed for the introduction of pre-emptive measures (control orders) where there was evidence that a dogs owner by act or omission was failing to provide appropriate control.

At the time however, the RSPCA, Dr Roger Mugford, Home Secretary Kenneth Baker (now Lord Baker) et al provided us with the Dangerous Dogs Act, and now they are publicly blaming dog wardens for failing to implement that legislation fully and properly?

They appear to have forgotten, I have not, that the incidents in 1989 which led to that Act began with the death of a child (Kelly Lynch) attributable to two Rottweillers. Conveniently that was overlooked in the legislation and instead two non-fatal incidents (Rucksana Khan and Frank Tempest) enabled the transfer of attention to an American breed, the Pit Bull Terrier, a ‘breed’ predominantly present in this country through a very few imports and otherwise through a lot of look alike cross-breeding.Of the other three ‘breeds’ they named in section one only one at that time had a limited number of specimens in the UK (the Japanese Tosa) the other two were merely known by continental reputation and canine mythology.

A lot came down to opinion rather than fact and eventually many of those originally involved in its creation backed away from the Act and openly criticised it (e.g. the RSPCA) leaving local authorities and the police to implement highly flawed legislation. In this period some of those who brought the Act into being began to appear regularly as defence witnesses (e.g. Dr Roger Mugford) and others arrived on the scene to be hailed as defender of the dog (e.g. Trevor Cooper).

For the working Dog Warden the object in use of any legislation remained the same: the reduction of danger on the streets and the promotion of responsible ownership and control.

During the summer of 2006 a child died after being ‘attacked’ by – two Rottweilers. Although there was some comment at the time the world seemed to have moved on and realised the flaws of the Dangerous Dogs Act, opinion appeared balanced and review of the law was placed on the agenda again.

As in 1989 a few months later another child is killed and this time the incident is laid at the door of a Pit Bull Terrier type. We are told on television that the dog is one of a banned breed it is even suggested that post-mortem this is proven by ‘tests’ (implying DNA tests) despite the fact that no such test has previously been available to decide court cases?

As if to ward off any challenge to these ‘tests’ we are told (by no less than Trevor Cooper) that even its ‘type’ could have ensured its seizure and destruction and we are told, by no less than Lord Baker himself, that had Dog Wardens (not the police or local authorities but, by name, Dog Wardens) implemented the law properly the tragedy would not have happened.

Lord Baker made little reference in his comments to the legal opinion which has so roundly criticised his Act in the intervening fifteen years to the point at which it is thoroughly discredited. Instead he made vague reference to including Rottweillers and Alsatians - not the way the German Shepherd Dog breed is now actually referred to by Lord Baker! - in section one saying they should be muzzled but failing to mention that he chose not to include Rottweillers in section one at the time he introduced the Act despite the death of Kelly Lynch or to mention that section one also requires compulsory neutering, micro chipping and tattooing and an undertaking from the owner to register the dog and not to sell or give away the dog for its lifetime i.e. guarantees the extinction of the breed in the UK within two decades.

What Lord Baker did say yesterday was that the rights of people to own ‘these dogs’ was not worth the life of even one child. So what happened in 1990 Lord Baker? The child that died then was killed by Rottweillers. The ‘breeds’ you did have the political nerve to put into section one were not responsible for any UK fatalities at that time. By your own standards you allowed a child’s death earlier this year by failing to include Rottweillers in section one! In office Lord Baker understood political expediency, now he can freely make statements to boost his ego and reappraise what has already been determined to be a legal disaster – The Dangerous Dogs Act 1990.

Its failure has nothing to do with Dog Wardens (or even the police) failing to implement it fully or properly. It was bad law. It attempted to transfer responsibility for human failings onto animals by demonising them into killing machines worthy only of total obliteration. It was an important attempt at transferring legal responsibility not only onto an animal involved in an incident but any animal by virtue of its breed alone. It was found out and it failed.

We can continue to blame breeds if we want. If so the Rottweillers should have been named in 1990 and it was criminal negligence by Lord Baker not to do so. Or we can decide to provide legislation which works without using it as an emotional crutch for our own failings.

Children are precious, but hundreds die every year in preventable road accidents with cars and motorcycles (we do not blame the car or the motorcycle or attempt to ban them). Children are precious, but dozens die in accidents in the home with electricity, at play near water and at the hands of human beings who have been put in charge of them either as parent or carer. Why is it that we look differently at the law when the cause of the terrible loss of a precious child is a dog?

Understanding is not increased by eliminating animals from life, after all, the most dangerous animal to a child is the human animal (look to your figures for child murder last year and compare them with the children killed by dogs).

Over the past couple of days I have seen so much ill-considered or ill-conceived comment in the media my head is bursting. I saw figures quoted suggesting 30,000 dog bites treated at hospitals in the last year, but the last time I checked these figures hospitals listed all types of bite as ‘bites’ and did not differentiate between dog and humans bites even though emergency departments confirmed that most of the bites they were treating were of human origin.

It sometimes appears that the only thing we have learned to do better in the last decade and a half is re-write history, but still continue to make all the same mistakes. So it is with complete despair that I commit these words to the page but also with the complete knowledge that there is no blood on my hands nor on the hands of my many friends who operate Dog Warden Services throughout the UK."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

London, Ontario stumpted over restricted, service dog

I've been writing articles from the news, but this time I'm going to write a personal ordeal I'm going through in my own home city.

As many of you already know, my Shasta is an American Pit bull Terrier and restricted in Ontario, Canada, meaning I have to keep her leashed (a bylaw for all dogs excluding the leash free dog parks except for the bullie breeds) and muzzled when out in public.

She is also a certified service/guide dog for me and allowed to go anywhere I go. She wears both her service vest and her muzzle when we are out in accordance to the law. Because she is also an Alert and Respose Dog, I could with my doctors fight for an exemption for the muzzle to be removed, as she can't respond should I take an attack while in public.

My reason for not going for that exemption is easy. It's one of my ways of fighting against the breed ban. It's also a great way to meet people to educate them about the breed, the law and how it can eventually effect other breeds of dogs if we don't fight against this ban. Peoples eyes open when I tell them there have been talks about banning large dogs or dogs over 30 pounds. Suddenly, they realize their beloved pet may be banned and they feel the shock and horror that all of us bullie owners felt.

Bullie owners that had their dogs registered last year received again this year received a form in the mail to fill out and sign with discription of your bullie with height to shoulders, weight, age, etc., plus we had to take two more recent mug shots of our dog(s) (frontal and side view) as well as an up-to-date rabies vacination invoice. Only bullie owners have to appear in person to bring this proof to ACC to get their license tags.

This went by smoothly enough as from last year I knew exactly what was needed and once they were given all that information, I then showed them Shasta's letters and certificates showing she was a certified service/guide dog. The difference is service/guide dogs do not have to pay for their licenses as they are N/A as they povide a service and not considered pets..

This totally stumpted all of the clerks at ACC as they had never dealt with a restricted dog that was also a service/guide dog and didn't have any information how this should be handled. Leave it to Shasta and I to mind boggle the very place that knows all the rules when it comes to laws and bylaws of animals.

Because the office was near closing and the doors were already locked and there were a roomful of bullie owners trying to process their dogs, I paid for the license and one of the clerks gave me a name, phone number and extention number to call at City Hall to see if I should get refunded for the license. Naturally, with it being the Christmas and New Years holidays, all government building were closed until January 2nd.

Came the 2nd and rather than phoning, I decided to take my chances of going straight to City Hall and see if the man I was to speak to was available. Within seconds he came out and I explained the situation as I brought out all the papers and certificates to show him. First he assumed I was trying to get out of the muzzle law, but I told him that wasn't my intention. That I always abided by the provincial law as well as the city bylaws. I was only there to as sent by ACC regarding me getting a refund for Shasta's 2007 dog lisence as per her right as a service/guide dog.

He was very gracious the whole time and I found him easy to talk to, but he also was stumpted if there was any law that prohibits a restricted breed to be in a service/guide dog catagory. I reminded him that she had gone through all her training and sucessfully passed all her tests as did any other service/guide dog in Canada and certified. By doing so she has rightfully earned the same status as other service/guide dogs dispite her breed and he had all the papers and certificates in front of him as proof. I was calm, curtious and assertive to get my point made.

He told me he saw everything was in order, but he wanted to check the law to see if there was any mention of restricted breeds as service dogs and would phione me in the beginning of the week to let me know if I was eligable for a refund or not.

Today is Wed and of yet I have not heard back from him. Perhaps I should give him a call myself and I will keep you updated.

Canine First Aid Course

First Aid Course
JAN 27th 2007
Markham, Ontario

Want to Learn About Basic Canine First Aid?

Pet owners consider their pets to be their best friends, members of their family and lifelong companions. There is a tremendous need for training in pet first aid and care because unfortunately, thousands of pets are injured every year from preventable accidents! Pet owners would do just about anything to help their pet, if they knew how, which is why this course is being offered.

Every pet owner should take this course. The more they know about their pet's care, the easier their veterinarian's job will be.

The Dog Legislation Council of Canada, a national not-for-profit organization, is pleased to offer this course in partnership with Bad Dawgs Training and Pet Daycare.

Where: 100 Allstate Parkway, Suite 503 in Markham (Hwy 7 and Woodbine)

When: Saturday January 27, 2007 10:00am to 12:00pm

Tickets: $50.00

Course Info: Two-hour course, includes First Aid demo by qualified instructor

Attendees receive a First Aid booklet and a First Aid quick reference handout

Demo dog will be provided, please leave pets at home

To Reserve: Call Lori Gray (705) 435-3481 or Jennifer Newark (705) 435-5818

cheques or cash accepted, prepayment required to book space.

Reserve now! Space is limited.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pit bulls fight off invaders

In the Ottawa Sun came this great story how the new year turned from disaster for this 68 year old man thanks to his two dogs.

Pit bulls fight off invaders
Tue, January 2, 2007

LONDON, Ont. -- A 68-year-old London, Ont., man has his two pet pit bulls to thank for thwarting an overnight home invasion.

Tony Therrien says was working at his computer around 1 a.m. New Year's morning when he heard a knock at the door to his apartment.

He was surprised to see a stranger in a mask, along with a second man waiting in the hallway.

The attacker knocked Therrien to the floor, but that's when Phoebe and Rusty came to the rescue, attacking the two men.

The surprised intruders then fled on foot, leaving Therrien with minor injuries.

Police say they are looking for two men, both believed to be in their 20s.

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