The View From Here – Banning pit bulls in urban areas is the responsible thing to do

by Tom Henihan

As anyone who has a dog or cat knows, animals can make a real claim on our affections and in most cases become a valued and integral part of the household.

However, I disagree with the humanizing of animals, of people referring to their cats or dogs as “our children, our babies.” I believe that we should never put animals on the same level as humans and if a specific breed of dog poses a real danger to people, then people must come first.

Following the mauling death of a 55-year-old Montreal woman, Christiane Vadnais, who was attacked by a pit bull in her backyard, Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre announced a proposed ban on owning pit bulls within the city, beginning in September.

Naturally, in response to the mayor’s announcement the ubiquitous protest got underway with rights taking precedence over responsibly.

With protest and the touting of rights comes the inevitable hyphenated words, in this instance it is “breed-specific.”

Montreal’s SPCA criticized the proposed pit bull ban, saying it sees breed-specific legislation as a form of ”discrimination” another indispensible word at any protest.

The SPCA cautioned that policies such as the ban on pit bulls could result in the unnecessary deaths of nonviolent and obedient animals. The organizations’ executive director, Nicholas Gilman, stated in a news release,
“We are not going to let that happen here.” The SPCA is considering a legal challenge to the ban.

Many at the Montreal protest posed the argument that no dog is born inherently dangerous, that it is the environment and rearing that decided the temperament of the animal.

With all of this dissent and selfish justifications there is no mention of the fact that pit bulls are selectively bred to be strong, aggressive and relentless once they attack, and that there is a very good reason for a breed-specific ban as this specific breed is notoriously unpredictable and lethal when riled.

I cannot imagine any responsible parent letting a small child play in a neighbour’s yard if the neighbour owned a pit bull.

I can extend some understanding to people who already own a pit bull and are reluctant to get rid of it but the proposed legislation in Montreal is a ban on new ownership, not animals that people living in Montreal already have.

In those instances, pit bull owners are obliged to muzzle their dog when in public.

This, of course, is asking too much, though to any reasonable individual it would seem perfectly reasonable.

There is also the question, if you are fond of dogs why not get a Labrador retriever or some other placid breed instead of a pit bull, a breed that is responsible for approximately seventy percent of all disfiguring and fatal dog attacks in North America over the last thirty years.

In a photograph in the Huffington Post, a woman protesting the ban in Montreal holds up a sign with the words “Proud pit bull mom of two” alongside photographs of her two canine progeny, Tigg and Rocky.

The sign also says, “Walking 4 them and all dogs that do not have a voice to stop this.”

Well, the only voice Christiane Vadnais has now is the voice of her grieving family who are also calling for legislation banning pit bulls in Montreal.

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