Saturday, July 28, 2007

Safety Message From the Office of the Chief Coroner - Reducing Dog Attacks

Safety Message From the Office of the Chief Coroner - Reducing Dog Attacks

KINGSTON, ON, July 24 /CNW/ - The Office of the Chief Coroner recently
investigated the death of a 17-month-old Eastern Ontario girl who died after
being attacked by a dog. This tragedy has prompted the Chief Coroner to issue
information that may help in the prevention of similar deaths.

Animal behaviour experts believe that most dog bites are preventable.

Certain dogs and breeds however, may be more aggressive than others due to
genetics and/or learned behaviour.

In order to reduce the incidence of dog bites and attacks, the Office of
the Chief Coroner, in consultation with animal welfare and public safety
specialists, recommends the following:

- When purchasing or adopting a puppy, try to obtain as much
background information on the dog as possible.

- It's extremely important to socialize a puppy during the first three
to 16 weeks of its life. Socializing a puppy may assist in making
the animal less fearful of new people and other dogs, and will
contribute to the development of a stable disposition. Well-run
puppy classes can be a wonderful way to teach puppies appropriate
behaviour and will provide positive socialization with other people
and dogs.

- Start teaching puppies and young dogs what is acceptable behaviour
at an early age. This is best accomplished by not emphasizing
physical punishment, but by using positive reinforcement for
desirable behaviour.

- Unprovoked aggressive behaviour in any dog is cause for great
concern. If you are not sure how to address behavioural issues with
your dog, ask your veterinarian for advice.

- Never leave children unsupervised with a dog, no matter how
trustworthy you think it may be. Most dogs can be provoked into
biting, sometimes inadvertently.

- Dogs are pets that require a considerable amount of commitment in
terms of time, effort, and expense. Dogs require adequate
supervision, exercise, training, and veterinary care. Not being able
to make these commitments can result in behaviour problems in your

- Teach children to be respectful of all dogs, whether they are
familiar with them or not. Children should never approach or attempt
to pet unknown dogs.

- Never assume that a dog will react in a friendly manner. Always ask
the dog's owner for permission to pet their dog. If the owner is not
present, do not approach the dog.

- If a dog is acting in an aggressive manner, do not stare directly at
it. The dog may perceive this as threatening. Do not run away. Try
to stand still and remain calm. When dogs realize that you are not a
threat to them, they will often cease their aggressive behaviour.

- Never tease or agitate any dog, even if it is behind a fence or
being restrained.

- Do not rely on the breed of a dog to dictate its behaviour. Any dog,
regardless of breed, has the potential to become aggressive.

"The majority of dogs are not aggressive to people," says Dr. Andrew
McCallum, Regional Supervising Coroner for Eastern Ontario. "People should
treat all dogs, regardless of size or breed, with respect," reminds Dr.

For more information on dog safety, please contact your veterinarian,
local branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
or Ontario Humane Society.

Disponible en français

For further information: Dr. Andrew McCallum, Regional Supervising
Coroner for Eastern Ontario, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional
Services, (613) 544-1596

Pit bull attacks man

A dog running loose, no ID and no owner to be found. What's that tell you? The dog is an illegally owned Bullie or it would be easy to identify the dog and owner by dog tags (rabies and license), microchipped and recognized by photo's and information that is easily available and requirement at ACC.

Again, the media prints a partial story but does not tell the public that this is an elligal dog of an irresponsible owner and naturally it looks bad on the rest of us responsible owners.

If the media can state part of the law requirements, why can they not include how responsible bullie owners abide by having all the requirements done, so this is another case of irresponsibility and law breaking on the owners part.
This story is in The Kingston Whig-Standard.

Pit bull attacks man
Brock Harrison Local news
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

An elderly west-end man was attacked and bitten by a pit bull yesterday morning and neighbours are demanding action against the owners of the dog.

At around 11:30 a.m., police say the man was approached by a tan-coloured pit bull and bitten on the upper left thigh while while out for his morning walk on Waterbury Crescent, just off Bayridge Drive near the airport. His injuries weren't severe and he was able to fend the dog off with help from witnesses to go get medical attention. Ron Tyrrell heard the commotion. He lives directly across the street from where the attack took place.

He says he tried to corner the dog in his backyard after it approached his next-door neighbour, who chased it away with a lawnmower, but it came after him instead.

"I grabbed my two-inch lead pipe and he came right at me," Tyrrell recalls. "I cracked him right across the face with it. He ran away after that."

That's when Jon Moller got involved. He was upstairs about 100 metres from Tyrrell's home when he heard the dog barking. He rushed to the window and saw Tyrrell chasing it away.

"I came out with a cane and we chased it away and walked around the block looking for him," Moller said. "I have a young daughter. I wanted to make sure it wasn't around anymore."

Police arrived and cornered the dog in an alley in the area of Springfield Drive and Roosevelt Drive. Kingston Police Sgt. Charles Boyles said the animal had no identification tags when it was found.

It was taken to the Kingston Humane Society and quarantined, he said. He also said the animal will be destroyed in 10 days.

Under Ontario's new Dog Owners' Liability Act, acquiring pit bulls is illegal and existing owners must ensure their dogs are sterilized and muzzled and leashed in public. Failure to do so could result in a $10,000 fine, up to six months in jail or both.

"We have no idea who the owners are," Boyles said. "If they are located, they will certainly be charged."

The incident has left residents angry.

"You think you live in a safe neighbourhood," said Tammy Cobb. "What if this happened when all the kids were out? It could have been a lot worse."

"We're pissed off that someone can't keep this animal in their yard," Tyrrell added.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Grandson bitten by a dog

My youngest grandson was playing outside, when suddenly a small type of dog ran over and gave him two good bites in the back of the leg. There was blood all over the dog as well as my 4 year old grandson, Julian, (My Mr. Monkey).

This isn't the first time this same dog has biten someone and we have a city bylaw that states (and is suppose to be enforce) all dogs must be leashed unless in their own back yard. It seems the only dog that is enforced by this bylaw are the Pit bull breeds, while other breeds are running free and ACC turns a blind eye.

My daughter phoned me and I came right over. The owner told Danielle that the dogs shots were up-to-date and said she would show them to her. Danielle believed the woman and said it wasn't necessary since the owner offered to produce them to show her. I wish I had of been there myself at that point, because not only would I wanted to actualy see with my own eyes her papers, I would have let her know she was breaking a bylaw by allowing her dog to roam free.

Since I have both grandsons with me overnight, it the bites seem worse by tomorrow, I'll take him to the Walk-in Clinic which in turn will want the particulars about the dog and most likely send ACC to check if the dog is properly vacinated. The owner could be fined at that time which would basically be a slap on the wrist and told the dog must be kept within it's own property when outside. They do have small yards where my daughter lives and no need to be runnig free.

Danielle thoroughly cleansed the area and I brought antibiotic cream and another cream to put on both bites prior to bandanging up the leg. I asked Danielle if she was going to report this incident and she responded that she wasn't because she was afraid that since this wasn't the dogs first bite, she was afraid ACC would put the dog down.

I understand her fear for the dog, but the most the owners would have gotten was a fine and a pep talk about keeping the dog under control in the backyard.

I woudn't have wanted the dog put down neither, but it made me angry that a small ankle biter type dog doesn't have to follow the city bylaws and harmed a child for no reason. Julian wasn't running to make this dog chase him. He was simply walking when suddenly the dog appeared and bit him. Danielle had seen the whole thing and Julian did nothing wrong to provoke this dog. He was simply walking towards his own home.

Danielle had only moved into her new townhouse since the beginning of this month and it was her neighbours that had told her that she was also bit by the same dog and not sure if there were also more bites from this dog she wasn't aware of. She suggested to Danielle to call ACC since this was a reoccurance of the same dog.

Had this had been any type of bullie breed or look-a-like that didn't bite nor growl, but talked, which to some people could have been misconstrude for a growl or sign of aggression, the ACC would have been right there and the dog would have been taken for 10 days quaranteen. Shasta isn't a barker, but likes to have conversations with me which is humorous, but to someone not knowing what these vocal sounds are could easily take it as a type of growling with her deep voice.

I told her neighbours that I owned an American Pit bull Terrier that had never bite before, but because of breed, had to be muzzled and leashed at all the time when out in puplic. How quickly ACC would have come for her and have her put down for a lesser reason than this. This same neighbour had seen me visit my family with Shasta with her service vest and muzzle on prior and said how unfair the law is. How right she is and it's no wonder dog bite statistics can't work if people won't report them because they fear for the safety of the dogs.

Pit bull Portraits Received

I finally got my portrait's from Christine from the Post Office and they were worth waiting for. I already showed you the first one that was my pick, but we also received a large one of the one she chose for her showing. Both FANTASTIC portraits!

The one I chose
(doesn't look so dark in real, but with a silver background)

The one Christine picked
(with a wondeful nutural background)

Wisconsin woman's dog eats US$750;most recovered as piles of cash

In the CBC news comes this hilarious story of a money eating dog.

Wisconsin woman's dog eats nearly US$750; most recovered as piles of cash
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2007
Canadian Press

MENOMONIE, Wis. (AP) - Debbie Hulleman's pet dog Pepper likes to chew things.

She's gnawed on lipstick canisters, shampoo bottles, ball point pens, toothpaste and now the list includes nearly US$750 in cash - gobbled right down.

"This is probably the worst," Hulleman said Thursday, recalling the nasty chore of recovering the money from vomit and - you guessed it - dog piles left in the yard.

"We all laughed about it," Hulleman said. "As long as we were able to recover the money, it was funny. If I wouldn't have been able to recover it, I wouldn't have been happy."

While Hulleman and husband were on a four-day vacation in late June, she asked her mother in Oakdale, Minn., to take care of Pepper and Zach, the family's dogs.

Pepper found a purse belonging to a friend of Hulleman's mother and chewed the cash from an envelope.

Hulleman's mother recovered some of the money that Pepper spit out, thinking she had it all. But when Hulleman returned from the trip and went to clean up her dogs' mess outside, she noticed a $50 bill hanging from one pile.

The family gradually recovered $647 and swapped it for fresh currency at a bank.

"We have a $100 bill that can't be recovered because you need three-fourths of a bill and it is only half of a bill," Hulleman said, laughing.

The nasty chore of sorting through dog feces netted about $400, the 50-year-old dog lover said.

"It wasn't that bad. I soaked it and strained it and rinsed it. I just kept rinsing it and rinsing it."

"I had rubber gloves on of course," she said. "Everyone said: 'I can't believe you did that.' Well, for $400, yeah, I would do that."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dog bites woman

In the Nova Scotia news, The Cronicle Herald comes this story of a dog bite, which obviously wasn't blamed on a Pit bull. The difference of reading a story like this and one involving a so called Pit bull is like reading night and day.

In this story, even the victims friend felt this whole ordeal was sad and the dog had such a cute face. I wonder why there were reporters there at all? Are they not aware that all dogs have teeth, cute or not and capable of biting? What about the "chunk" out of the womans thigh and how did that become minor injuries or was the media over emphasizing again?

Dog bites woman

A Halifax-raised woman was showing her fiance around the city Thursday when a dog attacked her on Sackville Street.

The medium-sized, mixed-breed black dog "took a chunk" out of the woman’s thigh, said a friend, who did not want to be named.

The victim, who was in her 20s, could be seen getting into the back of an ambulance with blood dripping down her legs. She and her fiancé are on a weeklong vacation to Halifax.

Her fiancé, who also did not wish to be identified, said they live in London, Ont.

The dog’s owner, who was restraining the animal with a leash, refused to speak to a reporter but was overheard telling a Halifax Regional Police officer that the dog had never attacked anyone before.

He and his friend, both dressed in dirty jeans and long shirts, asked police whether they could leave but were told they had to wait for animal control.

The dog appeared to be friendly and sat panting near the corner of Barrington and Sackville streets while police talked to the owner.

"It’s really sad," the victim’s friend said. "(The dog) has such a cute face. I don’t know what the hell happened."

Police later said the dog had managed to break away from its owner and bite the woman.

She was treated in hospital for minor injuries and released.

The dog’s owner was ticketed, police said.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An Ugly World

In Newsweek National News comes the indictment of Michael Vick and the cruel activities he's brought into the headlines. It has surfaced gruesome, stomach churning allegations into the headlines of this most violent and deadly sport of Pit bull fighting and how they are conditioned.

Yes! I said 'conditioned'. Many may be surprised it's not born into the dogs nature, but trained or conditioned to fight or be elliminated. Read on and learn.

An Ugly World

Michael Vick’s indictment on dogfighting charges has brought the cruel activity into the headlines this week. But animal-rights activists say the practice is nothing new, and is, in fact, growing in popularity.

Karen Tam / AP (left); Christopher Barth / Gloucester County Times-AP

Canine Abuse: Dogs trained for fighting (like this one confiscated by animal control officials) can be worth thousands of dollars to their owners, who sometimes sell videotapes (left) of the bloody matches

By Steve Tuttle

July 18, 2007 - Minnie, a brown pit bull-boxer mix with white feet, was tied to a tree when she was a puppy and repeatedly attacked by other dogs as part of a dogfight-training exercise in Louisville, Ky. She was rescued after her abusers fled and left her for dead, her torn flesh riddled with infections. Today, a year and a half later, Minnie has a huge saddle-shaped scar under the fur on her back, and she’s terrified of tall men and large dogs. Her adoptive parents, Megan and Greg Crabb, spent weeks nursing her back to health. “I cried every time I had to clean her,” Megan recounted to NEWSWEEK. “She was covered in deep bite marks.”

Most fighting dogs aren’t so lucky. If they don’t die of injuries suffered in the ring or get killed by their owners, they’re often euthanized by local authorities because they’re considered too dangerous to re-enter society. The ones that do survive breed more fighting dogs, and their puppies enter an ugly world where survival of the fittest is not just a cliché.

Tami Chappell / Reuters
Accused: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has been indicted on charges related to a dogfighting ring in Virginia

This week’s federal indictment of NFL superstar Michael Vick, complete with stomach-turning allegations, has brought this blood sport to the front pages, but it’s really nothing new: organized fighting has been around as long as domesticated dogs. (Vick, who has not pled in the case, is scheduled to appear in court on July 26.) Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and a felony in every one but Idaho and Wyoming, but no federal agency tracks national arrest figures. Animal advocacy groups and law enforcement gauge its popularity through media reports and court filings, Web activity, the number of publications—like “Match Night” and “Sporting Dog Journal”—and the simple fact that many urban dog shelters are flooded with pit bulls, by far the most popular fighting breed. According to Mark Kumpf, a member of the National Illegal Animal Fighting Task Force, dogfighting is increasing nationwide. “It’s a multibillion-dollar industry,” Kumpf says, “and it’s partly because it’s glamorized in the entertainment industry in hip-hop, rap, and professional sports.”

In 2006, found 122 suspected dogfighting cases nationwide (114 with pit bulls), but that number only represents a fraction of cases. Many police departments don’t report dogfighting, and many cities don’t announce that they have confiscated dogs because owners have been known to break in and steal them back. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, says at least 40,000 people are actively involved in the industry, not including spectators. He calls it the modern day equivalent of the fights in the Roman Colosseum: “It comes from the same dark place in the human spirit.”

One reason it’s growing is because modern technology makes it easy to engage in. Anyone so inclined can log on to and pick up the book “Dogs of Velvet and Steel,” which critics say offers guidance for dogfighting trainers. It’s out of print and highly coveted so a used copy could set you back as much as $1,800. Or you can purchase a copy of “The Dog Pit” at, a reprint of an 1888 book that explains “How to Breed and Train Fighting Dogs.” There are Web sites with information on fighting strategies and on how to avoid law enforcement, as well as underground videos and DVDs that get passed around by participants.

Pit bull fans howl at the assumption that every pit bull is trained to fight and argue that authorities should “punish the deed, not the breed.” But many pit aficionados like the hard reputation of the dogs. Professional boxer Roy Jones Jr. says he does not enter the pit bulls he owns in fights, but likes studying their moves. “I like the nature of the dogs and how they are cool and calm until you mess with them,” he says. Antwan Patton, a.k.a “Big Boi” of the popular group Outkast, raises pit bulls at Pitfall Kennel in Fayetteville, Ga. “They’re the best dogs because they’re loyal to a fault. I would never hurt one,” he says. His kennel’s Web site makes it clear that “no dogs will be sold for illegal or cruel purposes.”

Erin Patton (no relation) a sports marketing executive who’s worked with many prominent athletes, says African-American men, in particular those growing up in lower-income areas, have always owned pit bulls to deter violence. “In the hood you can’t always afford a Brinks security system … but a pit bull served the same purpose.”

Even though the brightest media focus is on prominent athletes like Vick, it’s wrong to generalize from the specific. Old dogfighting lithographs show gentlemen dressed in their Sunday best, but today it could just as easily be the country guy down South as the gangster wannabe in the big city. Street fighting can involve many types of breeds and is much less ritualized than the so-called professional game, whose boosters look down their noses at the unorganized brawls.

For a behind-the-scenes look inside the ritualized pro world, NEWSWEEK interviewed “Fat Dog,” 45, who didn’t want to use his real name because dogfighting is illegal. He raises pit bulls in the low country near Savannah, Ga., and says he can trace his dogs’ fighting bloodlines back to the 1800s. “I have attended about 50 professional matches in my life, and I have only seen two or three dogs die. They have every opportunity to quit just like a boxer does,” he says. He claims that “90 percent” of dogfight matches don’t end in death because of the money invested: “If you lose a good dog, that’s $3,500 and then the litter you won’t have.”

The last match Fat Dog attended was in Sleepy Hollow, N.C., and there were only about 20 people there. The structure was built just for dogfighting, complete with bleachers and a concession stand. Modeled after boxing, there were three matches with timed rounds, an under-card and the big stars in the finale.

Leading up to the battle the dogs spend about six weeks in “the keep,” or training period, according to police who have investigated dogfighting. Owners use expensive treadmills to get the dogs in fighting trim, and some use the carrot and stick approach—the carrot being a live cat suspended in front of the dog to keep it running.

After the bets are made, the fight takes place in a walled ring with a dirt or carpet floor. “Face your dogs!” is called out and the handlers wait to hear “Release!” The battle is on until one dog fails to cross the “scratch” line or is injured too severely to continue. Broken limbs are common.

If the dogs lock up, their jaws are pried open by a ”break stick.” Sometimes a dog will “fang” itself, or bite through its own upper lip. The handler will stick a pencil in the dog’s mouth and stick it under the lip to free the tooth, Fat Dog says.

An average fight lasts less than 45 minutes, and fighters agree ahead of time to a specific weight and sex of the competitors. Because both males and females are trained to fight, breeding can be tricky. Some dog owners use what is called a “rape box” to secure the female, which essentially means tying her to a barrel until the male has mated.

Despite his past association with fighting, Fat Dog says he hopes it will eventually end. “I don’t like the bad name it gives pit bulls—if you’re an owner you might as well live with Satan or be a child molester.”

With Allison Samuels

Michael Vick’s Shameful Scandal
The superstar deserves all the protections of the law. But that doesn’t mean he has the right to remain Atlanta’s starting quarterback.
By Mark Starr

July 18, 2007 - Say what you want about Pacman Jones, nobody has ever accused him of being involved in the hanging, drowning and electrocution of dogs.

That distinction now belongs to the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick, who was indicted Tuesday on federal charges relating to dogfighting enterprises dating back to his rookie season, 2001. If convicted, Vick could face up to six years in prison, as long as his NFL career to date, and $350,000 in fines.

Vick is not the first NFL superstar and team leader to face serious criminal charges. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and two of his buddies were charged with murder after the 2000 Super Bowl in Atlanta, when a street brawl left two men dead outside a nightclub. But the case was settled—Lewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice—months before the next football season began and was back in uniform when training camp opened.

While it was a tragic crime—doubly tragic in that Lewis’s plea deal was the only conviction in the case—a crime arising out of a street brawl is not as incomprehensible to the average person as this grisly and gruesome array of savage misdeeds directed at helpless animals. During the course of this investigation, I read a great deal about a burgeoning subculture of dogfighting in this country. But we have witnessed other burgeoning cultures in this country, like crack and crystal meth, and growth has never been confused with acceptable.

Far too acceptable though is our culture of entitlement for athletes. And far too often our athletic elite get to cruise through life, using fame and money to skirt the rules and laws that govern the behavior of the rest of us. And on those rare occasions when they are called to account for their behavior, they appear willfully ignorant of what is going on in their lives. Barry Bonds never knew that what he was swallowing was illegal steroids. Pacman Jones had no idea what ensued when his posse made a chaotic exit from a Las Vegas strip club and a club employee was shot. And Vick had no idea his property was being used—apparently for training, breeding and staged events—in a dogfighting racket.

Vick, as an NFL spokesman was quick to point out, has not been convicted of anything and "all concerned should allow the legal process to determine the facts." Moreover, it is not clear whether the NFL will regard Vick as a first-time offender under its new conduct policy; if so, it is possible he will not be subject to disciplinary measures and could be allowed to report to training camp next week. The Atlanta Falcons find themselves with a bunch of terrible options. To bring out the best in Vick, the Falcons hired a new coach, Bobby Petrino, who came out of the University of Louisville with a reputation for successfully developing quarterbacks. To reaffirm the Falcons’ commitment to Vick, they traded his highly regarded backup, Matt Schaub, to Houston this past off-season. Right now the alternative to Vick is Joey Harrington, already a flop in two previous NFL cities.
Vick has long been a favorite son of Falcons owner Arthur Blank. He arrived in the NFL out of Virginia Tech, the first pick in the entire draft, and despite three so-so seasons of largely unrealized potential, the Falcons rewarded him with a staggering 10-year, $130 million deal (including a whopping $37 million in signing bonuses). After three more seasons, "unrealized" may still be the operative word. No quarterback in NFL history has ever run the ball as well as Vick. But running quarterbacks tend to have a limited NFL shelf life along with limited success. The Falcons would prefer Vick’s running to complement his passing attack. And his passing game has been consistently sub-par; over the past three seasons, he has ranked 20th, 25th and 21st in the league. That flop who now backs him up, Harrington, ranked 29th, 27th and 22nd during those same years. In other words, without his golden legs, Vick is essentially Harrington.

An even more telling comparison is with Drew Brees, who entered the league the same year. The San Diego Chargers held the first pick in that 2001 draft and, even though they needed a quarterback, they traded the first choice to Atlanta and then drafted Brees with the first pick in the second round. In his six seasons, Vick has played 74 games and completed 53.8 percent of his passes and thrown for 11,505 yards, an average of 6.7 per attempt, as well as 71 touchdowns. Brees, in 75 games with San Diego and now New Orleans, has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 16,766 yards, an average of 7.1 yards per attempt. And he has thrown 106 TD passes.

Maybe this would have been the year when Vick, with a passing attack better geared to his skills, ascended to the level where his salary suggests he belongs. But it is hard to imagine, with an indictment hanging over him in this particularly sordid matter, how he could perform at a higher level while commanding the respect of his teammates. And then there is the question of the hometown fans. Fans have been known to put blinders on when it comes to its favorites. We saw that earlier this month in San Francisco, with the loving reception that Barry Bonds received. But Bonds is only suspected of cheating at a game. Vick is accused of being complicit in grotesquely inhumane acts. Are Falcon fans willing to embrace this man as the face of their football team?

Perhaps more important, is Arthur Blank. Blank, who has been a highly regarded NFL owner, has reportedly been out of the country and hasn’t commented publicly since the indictment of his star player. And while some may view the Vick case as a test of the owner’s loyalty, it would seem to be a test of other principles as well. The NFL, not to mention Blank’s Home Depot empire, are posited as mainstream American businesses. And there is not a remotely mainstream note in this sordid affair. Vick is almost certain to see all his endorsement deals—Nike, Coca-Cola, Rawlings and others—disappear. While he deserves all the legal protections our society offers, none guarantee him the right to keep his job as the Falcons’ starting quarterback. Moreover, with Vick facing prison time if convicted, maintaining him as the team’s centerpiece may be a rather imprudent investment in the team’s future.

It may not be fair to bring up a man’s mother in this matter. But years ago, I happened to see a remarkable documentary called "Lemonade Stories" that featured successful entrepreneurs and their relationships with their mothers. Blank and his mother were one of the featured subjects (as was Virgin king Richard Branson and my brother, Billy Starr). Molly Blank was a remarkable woman, who took over the family business, a small pharmacy, after her husband died when Arthur was a teenager and transformed it into a multimillion-dollar wholesale business. She was a feisty, opinionated, engaging and high-minded woman. Recalling that film, I have some notion of how she might feel about this Michael Vick affair. Now it’s the son’s call.

Going for the Throat

Though illegal, dog fighting continues to draw crowds hungry for the sight of blood and the gambling thrill. A law enforcement officer takes us inside this underground world.

Joe Fudge / AP (left); Ric Feld / AP
Removed: This dog was taken out of a house owned by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

By Steve Tuttle

June 4, 2007 - The recent discovery of dozens of dogs and dog-fighting paraphernalia at a house owned by NFL superstar Michael Vick has drawn much media attention to this centuries-old blood sport. Illegal in all 50 states, dog fighting still has a loyal underground following. Millions of dollars are wagered annually on the outcomes of these outlaw matches, and the Humane Society of the United States estimates that participants and spectators number in the tens of thousands.

NEWSWEEK’s Steve Tuttle talked to Detective C. R. Beals of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to better understand just exactly what goes on at one of these gory fights. Beals, who has focused on this type of crime for over a decade, has been an expert witness in a number of dog-fighting cases and is his department’s blood sport authority, which also includes cockfighting.

Excerpts: NEWSWEEK:

What happens at a typical organized dog fight?

C. R. Beals: There are three basic types of dog fighting. There are the professional dog fights—I hate to use the word professional and dog fighting in the same sentence. There are the hobbyists, or the persons who aspire to be professional dog fighters, and then there are the street-level fighters, the gangbangers who torture their dogs into being mean and they’ll fight anything.

What about the professionals?

On the professional level it's very well organized. The secrecy is very, very heavy. They will fly dogs across the United States. The matches are set up either by phone or by Internet and the meet can be a neutral place for both parties. The dogs are fought in a very strict weight class. If your dog doesn't come in at the weight it’s supposed to for the match, you forfeit the entry fee, which can be pretty heavy sometimes.
At a fight back East several years back the police took over $500,000 from the participants and spectators there. Let’s be honest, if I'm willing to put my dog on a plane to fly to a neutral spot to fight your dog, I'm not going to do it just for grins.

Describe the start of a fight.

The handlers say, “Face your dogs!” At that point, the dogs are turned around and faced toward each other. There is what they call the scratch line, and when the dog crosses that line he is “scratched,” meaning he has full intent to get involved in the fight. The dogs are released from the corner, they “scratch,” and then engage. At times the impact of the dogs blocking up is audible, you can hear them collide with one another. It's unbelievable. There is no collar, nothing. They're completely void of any type of control or restraint.

Steve Helber / AP

Vick blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity after police found evidence of dog fighting at a home owned by the pro football player

How do you know who wins?

If a dog refuses to scratch, or if the dog jumps out of the ring or refuses to fight, it's over. If a dog gets a lucky shot, if you get a dog that zips in and hits just right and takes out a jugular, the dog is all done. If you get a dog with a broken limb or a broken leg, it’s over. Broken limbs are common. You just see how much punishment the other dog will take until he just gives up or he's incapacitated so he can't fight any more.

How long can a fight last?

It varies; it's like a boxing match. But there are timed rounds and they have rest periods and go at it again.

How big do the crowds get?

For security reasons, the crowds are kept as small as possible.

What are the venues like?

The venue can be anything, anywhere. It can be a barn, a commercial building. I have actually seen where they have gone into a housing tract and they broke into a new home and used one of the rooms for a pit. It can be any place that will afford the secrecy they need to prevent getting apprehended.

How are the dogs isolated from the people at a fight?

In the professional world, a man-eater, or a dog that will bite other people, cannot be tolerated and will most likely be destroyed. There are two handlers, either the owner or designated handler, and a referee in the pit with the dogs. The dog has to concentrate on the other dog.

Don’t they have a wall?

They do separate and contain the dogs, because they lock up and start tumbling around. The walls are usually 18 to 25 feet, round or square, and usually two and a half to four feet high. They use plyboard, hay bales, any type of barrier. The preference is dirt floor but they also use carpeting to allow dogs to get good traction.

How do they separate them if they’re locked up?

They use what they call a “breaking stick.” It's a misnomer that the pit bull's jaw locks, but they have such hellacious tenacity that once they get a hold they are not going to let go. Both handlers will have a breaking stick in their pocket, nine to 15 inches long with a flat point on one end of it. It’s generally something rigid made of wood or white nylon like cutting boards or plastic. They pry the jaws apart and pull the dogs back to the corner and sponge them like a boxer.

How many dogs are killed in the fights?

Most likely the dogs will be stopped short of death, however there are a number of other things that go beyond that and it just depends on how good of a vet the owner is. You can't go to the neighborhood vet with a dog that you fought because you’d be turned in. Most of them practice their own style of veterinary medicine. Dogs die of infection, they die of shock after the fight, or they're injured so bad they just expire. The actual death in the ring is probably not as often as one might think.

What do they do with dogs that aren’t good fighters?

They think, why waste dog food on them. We’re talking dollars and cents. If it isn’t going to make a yield there’s no reason to feed it. That sounds cold, but I’m being bluntly honest. I have actually gone to a place where one of the ways to get rid of a dog was simply attaching a raw electrode to the dog’s tongue and a raw electrode to his testicles and then plugging it into the wall. That’s sick.

How do they train the dogs?

These dogs are conditioned, not trained. That entails such things as treadmills, or cat-mills—they'll either use a caged cat or a rabbit. They’ll simply tie a cat or rabbit to a hot walker like for a horse—it’s a big thing that looks like a merry go round with spokes on it. They’ll tie a dead cat or a live cat to one of the spokes and tie the dog to one of the other spokes and let him tug that around all day. They use weight training where they have the dogs pull weighted sleds. Then they have the spring pole, which is simply either a tree or a large pole with a spring or a cable or tire on it and the dog will jump up and grab it. He will actually hang on to it and bounce and have his own personal tug of war.

What is the “keep?”

The keep is the intense conditioning period in prep for the fight. During that period of time the dog is handled regularly, exercised regularly. His diet is monitored, he is given vitamins, and his weight is monitored.

What is the rape box?

These dogs are trained to be nasty towards another dog, so consequently if you’re going to breed you don't want a female that’s in heat tearing up your stud. So you put her in a rape box, which means you basically tie her to a barrel. Then you put him in there with a muzzle on and he does his thing and leaves.

How do bets get placed?

There will be an entry fee into the thing. That comprises the purse and the winner gets that. Then the owners of the dogs will have side bets between themselves. They'll probably cover some action with other people in the audience, and there will be side bets between people in the audience. Sometimes they take outside action and actually film the fight, so you can view it at a later date if you disagree about how your money was won or lost and you weren't among the chosen few who attended.

Are the fights moving away from pit bulls to other breeds?

You hear that from time to time. Over history there have been a number of dogs tried—the Shar-Pei was raised as a pit dog but now they're a trendy pet. But pound for pound they always come back to the little pit bull terrier because they're more bang for your buck, they're the best things going. They’re small, they’re compact, and they work well for that kind of scenario. The only reason for dog fighting is gambling, period. It's just like cock fighting. It's strictly a gambling scenario, nothing more. They raised Rhodesian Ridgebacks for fighting; Rottweilers are something you’d see on the street level.

How big is this subculture?

The level that garners the most attention is street level because it's in your face and it's practiced by gangs. They'll use anything that has four legs, preferably if it looks like a pit bull, but they’ll use Rots or anything else. But professional dog fighting is also there, and it's very, very hard to stumble on. It's real hard to say exactly how big it is, but it is prevalent.

How do you catch these guys?

We use informants, we use people in the neighborhood that call in, we use something as simple as somebody driving by who saw a bunch of dogs staked out. People love animals and when they see something that doesn't look right and they're likely to tell someone and it filters back to us. There are informants, people who didn't think they got a fair shake at a fight who will turn in folks.

Why do you think professional athletes would be into something like this?

I will be very honest—and I hate to say it—but there have been law-enforcement officers involved, professional athletes, professional people, blue-collar people, gangster people. It's a mixed bag.

Where do they house these dogs?

Wherever they can. Sometimes warehouses, garages, sometimes “on the yard” as they refer to it. That means they drive a car axle into the ground, put a piece of chain on the axle, and put a dog on the end of the chain, and that’s where the dog lives.

Is it bigger than cockfighting?

I wouldn't say which is largest; it depends on where you are geographically in the country. It's a gambling "sport," and wherever they can do either one they will.

How do they keep the fight locations secret?

They use countersurveillance—or as we call it dry cleaning—they use background checks, phone calls. There’s secrecy, mystique. You might make an arrangement for a fight and they say show up at the Howdy Doody Motel at 6 o’clock Wednesday evening on the 24th. And when you go there and you check in pretty soon you get a phone call in your room that says go to this corner. A car will pick you up, take you someplace else, and then you’ll be offloaded out of the car and onto a bus or something. It's very, very cloak and dagger.

I guess they feel like they have to do all that?

Yes, because there are people who are animal lovers who would do everything up to and including put a bullet into some of these clowns.

Dog Fighting
Photo Gallery: Beastly Battles

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The DLCC offering CGN Days in Barrie

The Dog Legislation Council of Canada is offering Canine Good Neighbor Days at the Barrie Kennel & Obedience Club Inc. Show August 4 & 5th, 2007.

Canadian Kennel Club certificate test - conducted by a CKC CGN Evaluator.

Fee for CGN is $35.00 per dog.

August 4th, 2007 - testing will be held on the Barrie Fair grounds. Please note only CKC registered dogs that are entered in either Agility or Conformation will be allowed in the area designated for these events.
August 5th, 2007 - testing will be held at Top Dog K9 Training Facility, 50 Wood Street in Barrie, Ontario

· Aug 4th CGN day will be held on show grounds so dogs must be entered exhibition only to attend show grounds. All dogs non purebred or not entered exhibition only will not be allowed in the designated areas for agility or conformation, but will be allowed in the CGN area. The Barrie Kennel & Obedience Club Show is held at the Barrie Events Centre at Essa and HWY.400 - exit 94

Aug 5th CGN day for all dogs including cross bred dogs.
To be held in conjunction with the Barrie Kennel & Obedience
Club show but located at Top Dog K-9 Training Center at 50
Wood St. Barrie, On

From Anne street to Campbell Ave. (which is the last street
Before Essa or the First one depending on which way on Anne St.
you are traveling.) From Campbell Ave you turn right onto
Alfred. Then turn left onto Wood St. We share an entrance with
Wellness Belts.

Pre-book CGN testing by contacting:
or call Lori at (705)435-3481

Prince Rupert council hears concerns about feral cat population

From a large feral cat population to 2 calls about aggressive dogs. Yet the problem they say is mainly the dogs that are preceived to be dangerous. Two calls! Wow, I'd be shaking in my boots. *conners states sarcasticly* Come on people!!! Take responsibility with animals!

Prince Rupert council hears concerns about feral cat population
(BC News) Thursday, 12 July 2007
by Leanne Ritchie
Prince Rupert Daily News

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. (CP) - The city has a huge population of feral cats, many of them not in the best of health, says Coun. Joy Thorkelson.

“It's becoming an issue that is being questioned,” said Thorkelson.

With some people who have complained suggesting the feral population be spayed or neutered in order to reduce the future population, she recommended contacting the SPCA to find out what other communities have done.

Council has received a letter asking the city to look at limiting the number of cats that people can own.

Coun. Sheila Gordon-Payne said people have also been complaining about cats roaming into other people's yards and messing up their gardens.

She questioned whether the city could look at licensing cats and limiting the number of cats a resident could own.

Earlier this week, representatives from the Prince Rupert SPCA said they are working hard to keep up with demand after a massive population of unwanted cats in town has left the facility bursting at the seams.

Right now, the society has about 35 cats and 15 kittens and is short of space as well as dry cat and kitten food.

Coun. Ken Cote said the issue he has been hearing the most about has to do with people who own aggressive dogs.

“I've gotten two calls on the subject,” he said.

Mayor Herb Pond said there are communities that have taken steps beyond what the city has done.

“There is a gap around enforcement around dogs that are perceived to be dangerous,” said Pond.

RCMP and bylaw enforcement have done all they can to handle complaints about dogs and Pond said it is now in the city's hands to examine what can be done.

Other provinces and cities have taken action by banning certain breeds of dogs.

In 2005 Ontario became the first province to ban people from acquiring pit bull-type dogs. Kitchener and Winnipeg have also banned specific breeds.

“This is one great big collective ball,” said Pond asking for a report back to council on the range of options that exist for dog and cat control, both feral and domestic.

“We'd like to know where Prince Rupert is on that scale and maybe a recommendation as to if we are comfortable where we are at.”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pit bull calls prove costly for London

Home sweet home!???? London, Ontario is home to the anti Pit bull city and they are calling it a crunch to them. Have they no idea what reposible Pit bull owners are going through financially and emotionally? But what we feel has little interest to City Hall.

Their first approach was to collect all the revenue from the reposible bullie owners until we showed how unjust that was, especially since it wasn't us creating the problem just because of the breeds we had.

Michael Bryant got on TV and asked the Ontario public to call ACC when they saw a Pit bull unleashed and unmuzzled. Naturally the majority of the public had no idea what a Pit bull even looked like, so they were called in for Boxers, Jack Russel Terriers, etc. Each call had to have a response regardless if it was mistaken identity and that costs time and money.

The Province that made the law left the budget to be put in the hands of each manicipality. It was for them to decide how they were going to enforse the law and incorporate it into the cities bylaws as well.

Everyone was fully aware of how dramitically costly this was going to be. So why is London whining now?

We spoke in City Hall that it was the irresponsible owners they would be having the problems with and that should have been addresses rather than making licenced and tagged animals fees go up already and we're abiding to that. They are well aware of it too as they see us each year in person at ACC along with all our documentations of our dogs and us.

Their problem is they are not getting revenue from those breaking the law and not registring their dogs and that's got nothing to do with us. There is a city bylaw here that says ALL dogs must be leashed in public unless in a Leash Free Park when off private property. All eyes are on the Pit bulls and MANY owners of other breeds are not abiding by the bylaw and ACC is doing nothing about it. It's only the bullie owners and look a likes that seem to 'have' to follow bylaws to a T!

Pit bull calls prove costly for London
Thu, July 12, 2007

Pit bulls, banned in Ontario since 2005, are taking a huge bite out of London's animal- control budget.

The squat, muscular dogs make up about four per cent of the city's 25,000 licensed dogs, but chew up a quarter of the time spent on animal control.

And costs linked to handling pit bulls are running about $170,000, or 10 per cent of the animal-control budget.

"It's truly amazing what's happened since 2005," Jay Stanford, the city's manager of environmental services, told board of control yesterday.

"Pit bulls have basically dominated animal-control services. We're averaging 10 service calls a day and another 10 inquiries."

Stanford was reacting to questions by Controller Gina Barber about costs related to pit bulls under a new, five-year contract with London Animal Care and Control.

"The reason I'm concerned is nowhere do I see what the size of the problem is," said Barber.

"We're being asked to approve a contract now and get the facts later. That's backwards.

"And I have difficulty seeing growth in the number of pit bulls. We're going to see a diminishing problem over time."

Stanford said he's preparing a report on pit bulls for next month but promised more information in support of the contract before Monday's city council meeting.

Later, he said there are an estimated 100 unlicensed pit bulls in the city and upwards of 300 more that may be illegal.

Ontario banned the powerful dogs after a rash of headline-grabbing attacks on other dogs and humans, only sparing those born beforehand but subjecting them to new curbs.

Stanford said one ticket is issued every two days related to pit bulls but that many related complaints actually involve other dog breeds.

"People are spotting animals that are not necessarily pit bulls," he said.

"We're getting more calls, hearing more concerns because they are a target breed," he said of pit bulls.

"And when pit bulls make the news, it brings additional awareness and concerns. So the problem is going to be with us for a number of years yet."

The board is recommending approval of the new contract, lauded by animal welfare advocates for changes in how the city would handle strays:

Among the changes:

- Specified standard operating procedures, now lacking.

- Enforcement decisions left to the city, which would get all licensing and fee renewal revenue. The existing contract left those decisions to London Animal Care and Control and gave it half the money.

- Require residents to turn in found stray cats or dogs rather than have them collected by the company, resulting in fewer impounded cats.

- Focus more resources to spay and neuter pets.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Get a handle on dog bites

I remember going out collecting signatures against Bill 132 and instead having the government implant an extensive dog bite prevention program, keeping a dog bite registry to track re-offenders and why the bite took place of all dogs and making a law named after a young girl, Courtney Trempe who was killed by a Bull mastiff.

Did the Liberal government listen? I'm sure all the petitions were filed under TRASH and the Pit bull ban became law in Ontario to protect ALL the citizens in Ontario, as told by Michael Bryant.

So why are there still dog bites and attacks and how are we protected? It's obvious BSL wasn't the answer even after all our protests to Bryant and the Liberal party.

"For some reason, dog bites and attacks are not seriously tracked in this country, a shortcoming pointed out by a coroner's jury in Ontario in 1999." and here we are in 2007 and nothing has been done about it except to ban specific breeds.

It's time the government admits it's wrong and get these things implemented before more tragedies happen.

Get a handle on dog bites

Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A coroner's inquest should be called into the death of Korie Lyn Edwards, the pixie-faced child who never grew out of pigtails.

We just aren't getting it.

On Sunday, Korie Lyn, all of 17 months old, was mauled by her grandparents' dog at their home in Montague Township outside Smiths Falls.

Why? We may never know the answer, but we owe her the question.

For some reason, dog bites and attacks are not seriously tracked in this country, a shortcoming pointed out by a coroner's jury in Ontario in 1999.

We know snippets.

Statistics Canada reports dog-attack fatalities are quite rare: none in 2000 and 2001, three in 2002, two in 2003 and one in 2004.

An outfit called the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program, under the umbrella of the Public Health Agency of Canada, has done an interesting analysis of its data based on reports from 14 major Canadian hospitals. Except it is restricted to one year -- 1996. What since?

It looked at 1,237 records from those hospitals that reported dog bites. Children, as you might expect, are most vulnerable: 28.5 per cent of injuries were to victims aged five to nine, 22.1 per cent were aged two to four and 6.5 per cent were under the age of a year.

There was a breakdown according to the time of day, with almost 33 per cent of injuries inflicted between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. As for the worst days, 20.5 per cent occurred on Saturdays and 18.6 per cent on Sundays.

Even seasons had a fluctuation. Summer (37.7 per cent) and spring (26.8) led the way; winter trailed at 14 per cent.

The most likely place for a bite to occur is in the home, at 34.2 per cent, followed closely by someone else's home. The family dog inflicted the bite 30.2 per cent of the time, second to a dog belonging to a relative or neighbour (35.1). The report, however, is silent on the breed, age and size of the dog involved. We aren't sure how many people are bitten by dogs each year.

Even the Canada Safety Council has to do some guessing. It uses a figure from a Quebec coroner's inquest and, by extrapolation, estimates 460,000 people are bitten across the country annually.

Dr. Norma Guy is a veterinarian and animal behaviourist at the Atlantic Veterinary College, part of the University of Prince Edward Island. She was a witness at an inquiry into the 2002 death of James Waddell, 4, in New Brunswick, for which she produced recommendations to improve safety.

Little James wandered alone into the back yard of his home where three Rottweilers were loose during an unsupervised run. He was killed in a savage attack.

The owner described the dogs as "perfect pets" that had always behaved well around children. When he came into the yard, he found the largest dog, Thor, with blood all over his face.

"The dogs didn't realize anything was wrong. Thor wanted to play," he told the inquiry.

Dr. Guy, in a report to the inquest, said dogs "are scavengers with some residual predatory tendencies. They have both the physical characteristics and behaviour required to use aggression effectively."

She is not a great fan of mixing toddlers and dogs in the same household. Preschool children, in particular, have a tendency to touch or hug dogs. Infants and toddlers, meanwhile, act and move differently around dogs than adults, possibly contributing to an unpredictable reaction.

They are also strong enough to strike or play with an animal inappropriately and may misread the dog's warning signals.

"Any dog may bite, given a sufficient degree of arousal due to excitement, play, fear, pain, territoriality, possessiveness, sexual motivations, maternal motivations, or dominance," she wrote.

Dr. Guy had no first-hand knowledge of the weekend fatality, but yesterday reacted to a summary of the circumstances.

"If I had to pick a common scenario for this to happen, this would be it."

A toddler, wobbly on its feet, in a familiar environment such as a grandparent's home, the supervisory guard down a bit, adults present, but possibly not on the immediate scene, she recited.

"It's a common thing for little kids to approach a dog in such a way that the dog feels very threatened. Maybe the dog doesn't understand this little person is actually a person.

Toddlers don't behave the same way adults do."

Dogs will generally bite around the head area, she explained, because this is how dogs fight or play and because of the child's ready height.

"It's important to get across that this is extremely rare," especially given the millions of dogs across the country, she cautioned.

"Dogs are way less violent than people are. Way less."

A child in North America, in fact, is more likely to die at the hands of parents or caregivers than be killed by a dog.

All well and good. It remains that, as a country, we can do a much better job keeping track of dog attacks: the breed, the age and health of the animal, the circumstances, the victims, any contributing factors.

Little Korie Lyn is gone. It falls to us to ask why.

Contact Kelly Egan at 613-726-5896 or by e-mail,

Here are two very well written letters regarding the death of the 17 month toddler by the grandparents dog. It seems the public has answers that the government should know, yet all the public can do is voice their opinions and hopefully the government will finally comply.

Girl's mauling death raises many questions
Toronto Star
Jul 05, 2007 04:30 AM

Tot killed by grandparents' dog
July 3

What if Ontario's Liberal government actually wanted to protect the public from dangerous dogs, instead of simply making political points? What if the money spent on changes to the Dog Owners' Liability Act and in court defending the law was spent on an education campaign and on helping municipalities put in place effective animal-control strategies similar to those in Calgary?

What if the Liberal government had actually listened to the many experts at the public hearings who explained why breed-specific laws do not work and who urged them to enact enforceable dangerous dog legislation instead? What if the media in Ontario reported in a fair and responsible manner instead of whipping up public hysteria, helping the Liberal government create an imaginary pit-bull crisis and creating a false sense of security now that all the "bad" dogs are banned?

What if the public held the Liberals accountable for fulfilling election promises, such as no "whipped votes," thereby allowing each MPP to vote according to his or her conscience?
Maybe 17-month-old Korie Lyn Edwards would be alive today instead of dead from an attack by her family's Rottweiler/German shepherd cross.

What if we really are all to blame for this needless tragedy?

Coleen Wilkinson, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Be responsible
The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, July 05, 2007
Re: Pet dog mauls toddler to death, July 2.

More than half of all dog-related fatalities are from chained dogs. Statistically, chained dogs are more dangerous than free-running packs of dogs. Ninety-five per cent of all dog bites and attacks occur with the family dog, or a dog owned by someone the victim knows.

This has nothing to do with a breed and everything to do with education and responsible dog ownership, supervision and management.

All dogs can bite or attack, but until common-sense legislation that is directed at the irresponsible owner, not the dogs or responsible owners, is put in place and enforced, preventable injuries and deaths will continue to happen.

The current McGuinty government failed miserably in this law reform. They had the chance to listen to the experts and enact legislation that had the potential to save lives and heartache, but they chose to ban a type of dog that cannot be identified and let irresponsible owners off the hook.

Dog bites and attacks can be prevented with proper training, socialization, choosing the right breed for the right person and proper containment and management of the dog.

Lori Gray,
Alliston, Ont.

Preview of Pit bull Pictures

Here are the previews of the Pit bulls that were taken in Toronto by Christine D'Onofrio.

We have some very happy bullies smiles to show their wonderful dispositions and it shows how they love the spot light. LOL

Don't forget to scroll on the bar to the right to see more pictures.

With so many pictures, I'm not going to show you Shasta. You can find her on your own.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dogs seized shipped out of province

FANTASTIC NEWS even if it breaks the hearts of the owners, but to have them alive is far better than their close incounter.

Dogs seized shipped out of the province
The Observer Local News
Friday, June 29, 2007

Four dogs seized by Sarnia animal control officers and judged to be Staffordshire bull terriers by the city were scheduled to be shipped out of the province today.

A dog rescue team from Windsor-based Advocates for the Underdog were expected to leave with the mother and her three puppies this morning, said city solicitor Brian Knott.

The team assessed the dogs’ temperaments and said they are suitable for adoption in a jurisdiction where there is no pit bull ban similar to Ontario’s Dog Liabilities Act, Knott said.

Three weeks ago, the four dogs were taken from the home of Brian Edwards and his girlfriend Cassie Bates.

City officials said the dogs were unregistered pit bulls and would be euthanized. But a public campaign to save the dogs and the help of a Bay Street lawyer led to the reprieve.

The Edwards family said a tearful goodbye to their pets at the Sarnia Humane Society Thursday.

“We all broke down,” said Brian Edwards Sr. who organized a demonstration outside city hall to save the dogs.

The mother, Rowen, and her three pups have never so much as growled or shown other signs of aggression, Edwards Sr. said. He considered his campaign a success, noting the city has euthanized other dogs in similar circumstances.

“Most people only have four days after the dogs are seized but my protest worked,” he said.

He intends to formally speak to city council and make his opinions about the Act known at Queen’s Park.

“There are so many options other than putting down these dogs,” he said. “We’ve got to look at adopting them out-of-province and we have to look at the legislation that allows dog catchers to go into someone’s home without a warrant.

“They have more power than the police. I won’t stop working at this because this is a terrible law.”

Tami Holmes, general manager at the Humane Society, said shelter employees were also in tears as they prepared for the dogs’ departure.

“Several staff would take Rowen home if we could. She’s such a nice dog,” Holmes said, stressing that the Humane Society was providing shelter only and had nothing to do with the dogs’ seizure.

“Whoever gets them will be a lucky family. They are fantastic dogs,” she said.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

17-month-old mauled to death

Why must a child and a dog die because of lack of adult supervision? First the child, a 17 month old toddler is put in the back yard, but is able to wander out from the yard to where the dog was tied.

Another horrendous story of dog attack from an non-aggressive dog and no charges laid. Sure, kill the dog and that settles everything. Whoever was responsible for that child at the time was the one at blame...not the dog. If the child had been hit by a car, would they have destroyed the vehicle? That's how stupid these articles make me feel people are and where they put the blame.

Worse yet, the reporter goes on about dangerous dogs and the grandmother calls the little girl, her little spitfire. That tells me the toodler was on the go all the time and needed to be constantly supervised, yet the dog that never harmed a hair on a child suddenly turns when it's been used to children? Did the child get caught up in the rope or chain? Was the dog trying to snap and chew the tie out from the child and gotten the child instead while trying to free her?

There's more to this story the meets the eye and I guess it's for that family to know and we never will. It's so sad!

17-month-old mauled to death
Family dog attacks girl at grandparents' home near Smiths Falls
Ciara Byrne and Katie Lewis,

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Tuesday, July 03, 2007

MONTAGUE TOWNSHIP - Korie Lyn Edwards, a bright blond-haired, blue-eyed toddler had spent Canada Day at her grandparents' house.

A little before 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the inquisitive 17-month-old was playing outside in the yard, when she wandered over to the family dog, a 10-year-old Rottweiler-German Shepherd cross that was tied up outside her grandparents' home in Montague Township about 70 kilometres southwest of Ottawa,

The dog had no history of violence, but for reasons still not known, it snapped, mauling Korie Lyn so viciously that she died of her injuries after being airlifted to CHEO from the Smiths Falls Hospital.

"She was my spitfire and she's gone now," said Katherine Ivey, the little girl's grandmother yesterday, adding she was too upset to say anything more.

Outside the bungalow on Montague Boundary Road where the attack took place, family and friends were stunned and distraught.

A cluster of mourners sat on the lawn of the woodframe bungalow. A man, voice worn by sadness, said family members were simply too devastated to speak. Nearby, a woman paced the length of the driveway.

Hester Grodde, who runs a cattle farm on the rural road, said she didn't know Korie Lyn, but called her death a tragedy. "Like everyone I'm saddened," she said. "This is very, very unfortunate."

OPP Const. Paige Whiting said the family dog was socialized and accustomed to having children around.

"The dog did not have any prior history," said Const. Whiting.

Neighbours said they recalled a number of dogs living at the house, but were unaware of any problems with the animals. Others, however, said they'd been concerned about the pet Rottweiler-Shepherd.

Emile Therien, a spokesman for the Canada Safety Council, estimates about 460,000 Canadians are bitten by dogs every year.

"It's an awful way to die," said Mr. Therien. "It's vicious and brutal. These dogs are very strong and when they do attack, the severity is extreme."

In 2005, under the Dog Owner's Liability Act, Ontario became the first province to ban people from acquiring pit bull-type dogs. Existing pit bull-type animals must be neutered as well as leashed and muzzled in public. Violators face a maximum penalty of $10,000.
Although Mr. Therien says he doesn't agree with breed-specific bans, nobody has died since the implementation of the ban.

"Actually, the lead biter is the Labrador retriever," said Mr. Therien. "The problem is that if you try to ban a particular breed, you never stop."

The dog that mauled Korie Lyn was a Rottweiler-German shepherd cross.

Adele Foley, president of the Rottweiler Club of Canada, says Rottweilers are often portrayed as vicious dogs.

"The breed itself is actually a cattle dog," she said.

"It's a big, smart, muscular dog. So if people want to use this dog for the wrong reason, they do it."

Ms. Foley said above all, the responsibility lies with owners, not the dog.

"Owning a dog is not a right, it's a privilege," she said. "People can't leave children alone with dogs. The dogs need to be fenced."

The dog that mauled Korie Lyn has been turned over to animal control and will be euthanized today, at the request of the family.

The Lanark Country OPP continue to investigate the case in Montague Township, but "charges are not expected," said Const. Whiting.

An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Steve Barkers reports in

The original blog article at:

Here is the full text:

June 29, 2007

Judge does not rule on the remedy for Ontario's Dog Owners' Liability Act

On June 28, 2007, Justice Herman listened to arguments regarding the remedy for the Dog Owners' Liability Act. The purpose of the remedy is to determine what to do with the law, now that three portions of it were found to be unconstitutional.

This is my interpretation of what occurred in the courtroom.I apologize for the late report. This is the first chance I've had to get to a computer.There were approximately 50 people in a courtroom designed to hold perhaps 20, so a lot of chairs had to be grabbed from offices and other courtrooms.

Present for the Applicant's side (us) were Clayton Ruby and Carolyn Wawzonek. Clayton Ruby did all the talking for us.

Present for the Respondent's side (them) were Robert Charney, Michael Doi, and Zachary Green (the usual three), along with another gentleman who I did not recognize. Robert Charney did all the talking for them.

Mr. Ruby went first at about 10:20 and talked for about an hour and fifteen minutes. We took a break, then Mr. Charney talked for just over an hour. Then Mr. Ruby responded, they had some further discussions about costs, and we were done around 1:30.

To get the bad news out of the way first, the judge did NOT make any decision today. There were a number of written submissions, as well as the verbal arguments presented today, and based on the amount of notes and highlighting she was doing, she's got some reading to do before she can make a judgment.

So for now, the law stands as is. It is important to note that, even though she has found parts of the law unconstitutional, until she rules on the remedy (which I'll explain in a minute), the law has not changed from its original form.

I personally am choosing to continue to act now in the same way that I have done since the law was enacted, until I know for sure what is going to be taken out and what is going to be left in.

Both sides presented their submissions regarding costs (i.e., who pays for the lawyers and court costs and how much of the costs is each party responsible for). This was done in writing and the judge will consider these while she is making her decision about the whole thing.

This remedy, as it's called, is necessary because of section 52 of the Constitution Act of Canada, 1982. Section 52 states:"The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect."

Therefore, it is clear that the following three sections of the Dog Owners' Liability Act are of no force or effect, since the judge found them unconstitutional:
a) Section 1(1) - The phrase "pit bull includes:";
b) Section 1(1) - The phrase "pit bull terrier";
c) Section 19(1) - The requirement that the court accept that a dog is a "pit bull" based on a document from a veterinarian.

The first two were found unconstitutional because the judge felt they were vague. The last was found unconstitutional because it placed a significant evidentiary burden on the defence for the sole purpose of being convenient for the prosecution. This, if I understand it, was a violation of the principles of fundamental justice.

This is all just preamble from me to explain some of Mr. Ruby's arguments.


Mr. Ruby proceeded to list the three questions that the judge has to answer regarding this now partially constitutional law:

1. Is the law, with the unconstitutional parts removed, consistent with the original objective of the legislature?

2. Can the law stand alone with the unconstitutional parts removed (i.e., is it still understandable and enforceable)?

3. Should it be suspended while the remedy is being determined?It seemed that both sides agreed on question 3, presumably that it did not need to be suspended.

Mr. Ruby's primary argument, and the area where he spent the most time, was the removal of the phrase "pit bull terrier". His argument is that "pit bull terrier" was one of five clauses designed by the legislature, confirmed by the committee, and accepted by the legislature and that it was an essential element of the law. Now that it is no longer there, the very substance, the core, of the legislation has changed dramatically. This entire legislation, at least the breed-specific portion, depends on the definition of "pit bull" and, if the judge is choosing to throw out a piece of that definition, then she cannot just take the rest and say, "well, the legislature would have been okay with this new definition". It is not her job to read the legislature's mind.

Also, Mr. Ruby argued that, because the initial intent of the legislature was to go after all "pit bulls" (as Peter Kormos put it during the committee hearings, the "small p" pit bulls, the mixed breed, backyard bred mutts), the legislature never intended to go after ONLY the purebreds.

The legislature had determined that there was a reasoned apprehension of harm from "pit bulls", yet they did not specify percentages or proportions regarding how many attacks could be attributed to dogs within each of the five clauses individually. So they didn't say how many American Staffordshire Terriers had been responsible for attacks vs. how many "pit bull terriers" had been responsible.

Because they didn't do this (and they couldn't), it is entirely conceivable that the vast majority of those attacks (as perceived by the legislature) could have been from the dogs in the group "pit bull terrier". So, by removing that phrase, the judge could possibly be removing from the law most of the dogs that were the problem, leaving only the purebreds who, by all accounts, could only have been responsible for a "vanishingly small" number of incidents, if any.

Mr. Ruby argued that it is not the judge's place to so drastically change the scope of the law's targets. It is the legislature's responsibility and, as such, the law should be handed back to the legislature to redefine their targets. In other words, the whole law should be thrown out.

In addition, when given the opportunity, the legislature chose not to remove the phrase "pit bull terrier" from the definition. So, if the judge is now removing that phrase, how can she know what the legislature's preference would have been if they had known ahead of time that "pit bull terrier" couldn't be used? Again, neither she nor the government lawyers can pretend to represent the will of the legislature.

Mr. Ruby's main argument is that the Dog Owners' Liability Act is a single comprehensive scheme with a shared definition (i.e., a definition with multiple components that is needed throughout the rest of the law) and shared goals. You cannot simply change the definition with affecting the rest of the law. There is no evidence as to what the legislature would have written into the law had it been forced to not use (or forced to redefine) "pit bull terrier".

Regarding section 19, which is now invalid, this means that, in order to prove their case that a dog is a "pit bull", the government must now bring in an expert witness (likely, but not absolutely, a veterinarian). Due to the expert witness fees charged, this will substantially increase the cost of each and every prosecution, of which there may be thousands. This violates another principle stated by the court in one of the precedent cases, that the changes made by the judge in order to keep a law constitutional must not have a significant budgetary impact on the government.

A good quote from Clayton Ruby: "It is not for this court to pick apart this scheme and put it back together".

There was a lot of talk about "reading in", "striking out", and "reading down", so I think I'll quickly explain these:

"Reading in" is the practice whereby a constitutional judge will add words to the law to make it constitutional. The net effect of these new words may be to include something that was not included before or to exclude something that was included before.

"Striking out" or "striking down" is the practice of removing the unconstitutional words from the law. Again, the net effect could be to include something that was not previously covered by the law or to exclude something that was previously covered by the law.

"Reading down" is to change the wording or to more narrowly interpret the existing wording in order to make the law less broad (i.e., make it constitutional).

Based on prior comments from other Superior and Supreme Court decisions, Mr. Ruby argued that you should only "read in" in areas where the law is SUBSTANTIALLY constitutional and PERIPHERALLY problematic. In other words, if the law is basically sound, but has a few minor technical problems that don't fit with the constitution, you may be able to "read in" additional words to better define those minor areas without substantially changing the effect or purpose of the law.

Mr. Ruby argued that, because the law depends so heavily on the definition of "pit bull", including "pit bull terrier", that it is not substantially constitutional, but on the contrary, because it is a single scheme with a shared definition, any problem with the definition creates a problem throughout the rest of the law.The other major issue was the phrase "pit bull includes:". Note that the judge did not find the word "includes" vague in and of itself, but rather the entire phrase "pit bull includes:", because, she said, there is no generally accepted definition of "pit bull", so the word "includes" becomes very important.

The government says that the word "includes" is exhaustive (i.e., the list of things that follow are the ONLY things that can be pit bulls). Mr. Ruby says that it is inclusive (i.e., yes, the things listed are pit bulls, but maybe other things could be too, and nobody knows for sure). This may seem like semantics, but it is very important because, if the interpretation is that the list is "closed" (can't possibly include anything else), then the phrase "pit bull includes" could remain constitutional, but if the interpretation is that the list is "open ended" (may possible include something else), then the phrase "pit bull includes" could be unconstitutional and, therefore, would have a huge impact on the rest of the law.

There have been extremely few cases that allowed the word "includes" to refer to a closed (exhaustive) list, so history tends to be on our side in this.The question of whether or not the list is "closed" is a case of "reading down". Within two possible interpretations, the judge is more narrowly interpreting the phrase in order to keep it constitutional.

Previous courts have held that, in the cases where Parliament (in this case the Ontario legislature) chose "unequivocal means" of accomplishing their objective, "reading in" or "reading down" in those cases would be a judicial rewriting of the law, which is not allowed. When the choice of means (i.e., how did the legislature choose to go about reducing dangerous dog bites) is unequivocal, then changing the law to use a different means is effectively frustrating the original intent of the legislation.Since documents such as those from the Canadian Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) do not include any of the three purebred breeds AT ALL in any of the bite incident reports, then it is inconceivable that the legislature intended to go after only the three purebred breeds. Rather, it intended to go after "pit bull terriers", which the court has already found don't exist (i.e., are unconstitutionally vague).

The definition of "pit bull" is the CORE of this legislation and it cannot be changed by the judge. It must be thrown out.


Mr. Charney, on behalf of the government, requested that clause 1(1)(a) and the entire section 19 be "severed" (removed) from the legislation. His argument is that the law will operate just fine without these.

Severance is an example of "reading down" (removal of parts by the judge to make the law constitutional).

According to prior courts' rulings, the court should interfere with the original legislation as little as possible. Severance (the removal of offending parts) is an ordinary part of constitutional adjudication and should be considered as interfering less that throwing out the whole law.

The court should not invalidate portions of the law that it has already found to be valid, i.e., clauses (b) through (e).The purpose of the court is to keep as much of the law as possible in order to maintain the objective of the legislature that created the law.

The judge has already found that there was a reasoned apprehension of harm from the dogs in clauses (b) through (e), because the judge found that those clauses were constitutional. Therefore, Mr. Ruby can't come back now and argue that these clauses refer to a miniscule number of dogs and should not be kept. That was argued during the main case, the judge made a decision on that already (deciding to keep four of the five clauses), and that overbreadth argument should not be re-argued now, during the remedy phase.

When the committee voted to keep clause (a), even though it had been pointed out to them very clearly that there was no such thing as a "pit bull terrier", that there was no breed standard, and that nobody knew what it was, Mr. Ruby argued that they must have felt that "pit bull terrier" was an essential element of the definition. Mr. Charney states that the committee never voted to keep clause (a) specifically. They did, however, vote specifically to keep clauses (b), (c), and (d). The vote that included (a) was actually a vote on the entire definition of "pit bull", not just clause (a). Therefore, Mr. Ruby's argument that removing clause (a) was frustrating the intent of the legislature is not valid.

A somewhat humourous moment occurred when Mr. Ruby had used statements during the committee by a Mr. Lewis, a lawyer from the government's policy division. Mr. Charney argued that Mr. Lewis' comments could not be considered because he did not represent the government (such as a minister would), but was rather simply a civil servant in the employ of the government. Not much later, Mr. Charney claimed to be representing the government's point of view and the judge responded by suggesting that he too did not represent the government, but was rather only a civil servant in the employ of the government. So that part of Mr. Charney's argument kind of went out the window there.

Mr. Charney stated that the court has to consider two major questions:

1. Is the part that remains so inextricably bound up with the part that was removed that the remaining portion cannot stand on its own?

2. Would the legislature have passed the constitutional portion alone without the unconstitutional part?

He stated that the judge had already determined in her section 1 analysis that the law could achieve the objective of the legislature using only clauses (b) through (e). Section 1 of the Charter deals with the principles of fundamental justice, part of which considers whether or not a law is overkill considering the harmfulness (or lack thereof) of its targets. The judge had already found that, after removing "pit bull terrier" and leaving only the purebreds and "any dog that is substantially similar", the law was still reasonable (and therefore constitutional).

A fair bit of discussion now started regarding the phrase "pit bull includes:".

Mr. Charney stated that the judge has three options regarding this phrase:

1. Leave the phrase as is and interpret the word "includes" narrowly (i.e., that the list following it is exhaustive, complete, and closed). This was Mr. Charney's preference.

2. Change the word "includes" to the word "means". This would require "striking out" the word "include" and "reading in" the word "means", to produce an effect of "reading down" the law by making it less broad.

3. Add the word "only" after the word "includes" so that the phrase would read "pit bull includes only:". This is also "reading down" by "reading in" an additional word, in order to make the law less broad.

Mr. Charney argued that this is all simply a matter of style and that the most important thing to consider is the effect of the change. Look at the original intent of the law and then whatever choice the judge makes in order to make it constitutional would be perfectly acceptable to maintain the original objective of the law.

"Reading in" or "severance" are important tools to avoid intruding on the legislature.

Avoiding interfering with the original legislative objective must be the prime consideration of the court. Courts have held that the techniques of "striking down" and "reading in" do not unduly intrude on the legislature. Mr. Charney argued that the law, as it stands after removal of the unconstitutional parts, is substantially constitutional and only peripherally problematic (the opposite of what Mr. Ruby said it is).

"Reading in" (e.g., adding the word "only") is only appropriate when the objective of the legislature is obvious and where it would further the objective of the legislation or minimally intrude of the legislative objective.

Striking down the entire legislation would interfere with the legislative objective and would cause the intended targets to be left untargeted until such time as new legislation could be drafted. This is more intrusive than simply adding or changing a single word in order to accomplish the original objective.The judge really pushed Mr. Charney with Mr. Ruby's argument that the court cannot know if the legislature would have targeted only the three purebreds and similar dogs, if it had known that it would not have been able to use the phrase "pit bull terrier".

Mr. Ruby stood back up, responded to a couple of arguments by Mr. Charney, and then reiterated his request for the entire legislation to be struck down because the removal of the unconstitutional parts has dramatically changed the scope and impact of the legislation and has increased the cost of enforcing and prosecuting it.The judge thanked everyone and left.


Nobody seems to be too worried about section 19 (the veterinary document). The government is quite happy for it to be severed. We probably are too, but we did argue that section 19 was inextricably linked to the definition of pit bull and therefore couldn't just be struck down on its own.

The key seems to be the other two vagueness issues.

The judge is going to have to decide two things here:

1. Does the removal of the phrase "pit bull terrier" so substantially change the definition that the legislature needs to go back to the drawing board and figure it out again, rather than simply having the judge remove an offending phrase?

2. Can the judge reword the phrase "includes" to "means" or "includes only" without substantially altering the legislature's original objective?

Both sides did well. I really liked some of Clayton Ruby's arguments that I had not thought of before, particularly the idea that throwing out "pit bull terrier" might be throwing out 99% of the dogs responsible for bites.

I recognize, as does he, that pit bull bites are not significant in this province when placed in context with other breeds or types of dogs, but that was not what was at issue here today. Mr. Ruby had to act within the findings of the judge in her original decision. So, even though he may not personally believe that all generic "pit bulls" are dangerous, he had to work within the judge's findings that pit bull bites were significant enough that the government appeared to have reason to target them. So rather than repeating his original argument from the main case that generic "pit bulls" weren't dangerous, he argued instead that removing "pit bull terrier" from the list may indeed be removing a substantial number of dogs that may have originally the main objective of the legislation.

Basically, he said, you can't tell exactly what dogs the legislature was talking about when they talked about "pit bulls", so you can't just remove one piece and say, "well, they weren't really talking about that clause, only the other four". You have to go back to the legislature and get them to rewrite it if you really want to know what they intended.

So, that's about it.

If the law gets sent back to the legislature, we have won, pending an appeal by the government.

If the law gets changed to "pit bull means" or "pit bull includes only", or if the judge narrowly interprets the word "includes" to be exhaustive, then the law will still target the three purebred breeds and dogs that are substantially similar, so we will appeal.

In the middle of all of this comes the election. We may have a decision before then (I would certainly hope), but it will be just before the election and I don't think the legislature will be doing any more work before the campaigning starts.

So, if we win, it is likely that any action by the government would be postponed until after the election. Then the government, assuming that it's still the Liberals in power, can decide whether they want to appeal, rewrite the law to target pit bulls again, rewrite the law to target truly dangerous dogs, or shrug their shoulders and let the law die a natural death, leaving in place the original Dog Owners' Liability Act.

Hope this helps.

Steve Barker