For your interest, I am posting the affidavit by Dr Karen Overall from the case against Denver by Dias et al.
Dr Overall is an accomplished person on many fronts but her expertise in canine behaviour and genetics is unparalleled. She also writes in a compelling and clear manner, so is fun to read.
It's unfortunate that most lawmakers who target dogs and their owners appear to know absolutely nothing about them. They don't understand what breed means, how behaviour is conditioned, what is and is not heritable and so much more. Everyone can't know everything, but that's what experts are for - to inform legislators so they don't inadvertently become a bigger threat to public safety than the bugaboos they purport to control.
As MPP Cheri di Novo (Parkdale-High Park) said the other day when we were at Queen's Park, BSL is like climate change. Over 99% of all experts agree that climate change is real, and that we can do something to arrest it. Over 99% of all experts agree that BSL is a complete failure and that there are better ways to create a culture of responsibility. But media and others, including dishonest legislators, can always find someone, somewhere who will tell them what they want to hear, justifying their confirmation bias and making it look as though they are 'listening to both sides'. With BSL, there is no other side, it's a loser no matter how you look at it.
These people are playing with other people's lives and should all be ashamed of themselves for trying to get ahead by inflicting tyranny on innocent people.
Anyway, enjoy the affidavit, it's a thing of beauty.
Dr Karen Overall on BSL
Our friends at the American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Canada have prepared a note for media and other interested parties around the situation in Montreal showing CKC registration numbers for their breed as well as Staffordshire Bull terriers in the province of Quebec.
Are you wondering why The Netherlands decided to abandon breed-specific legislation, after having the policy in place for 15 years? The simple answer is that the grownups on the planet collect real data, analyze it and decide whether or not a scheme is providing value. If it isn't, they modify or abandon it, whichever makes the most sense.
Here in Canada, public officials seem to have forgotten that they are hired to serve the citizenry and are instead serving themselves, especially in Ontario where corruption is so rampant it barely generates outrage anymore. Politicians are more concerned about saving face and stonewalling than admitting they have been mistaken and moving forward to benefit the public.
Beware the ideologues, Baby, because they don't need no stinkin' data and they'll sell you out every time.
I must add a caveat around this version. When the report came out in 2008, I spent almost three weeks translating it using only Google and Babylon, then rewriting it to reflect our sentence structure, which is very different. It was fun and informative to say the least but was also a big job. A translation service wanted $10K to do it. Yeah, no. I just wanted the nut of it. I am fortunate in having a couple of good friends in Holland who helped me with the very few slang expressions I came across. I kept the original graphs/pictures and translated the legends.
Because I loves ya, here is the report from 2008, Hondenbeten in Perspectief (Dog Bites in Perspective, right?) It is a treasure trove of data. Use it if you need it.
You can find and download original report in Dutch at this link:
This guest post is by Jody Robson, a long-time supporter of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada, an experienced owner of many breeds and shapes, a successful dog walker and someone who is well informed about BSL and the tragic consequences of its implementation.
So while states and cities all over the U.S.A. are repealing their breed specific legislation and/or creating laws that prohibit the discrimination of breed specific laws, Quebec will follow in the footsteps of Ontario and implement laws that will do nothing to improve public safety.
I wish people would get their heads out of their asses and get off the "pit bull" bandwagon.
Most people who say they own a "pit bull" do not in fact own any such thing. Most people with short haired, muscular, block-headed dogs, have mutts. I know, I know, it's a hard reality to accept. Everyone who has a fake "pit bull" thrives on some sort of warped need to say they own a "pit bull". But unless you have a registered, papered, purebred American Pit Bull Terrier, and most people do not, then you do not have a "pit bull".
There are dozens of dogs that if they were bred would create dogs that look what the average Joe "thinks" is a "pit bull", literally dozens.
Under these laws dogs are identified by said average Joes and because of these average Joes, dogs are taken from their homes based solely on their appearance and they are either rehomed or killed. Either way, lives are destroyed and innocent ones are ended because of fear, ignorance and blatant discrimination.
I walk dozens of dogs every week. Of those dogs I would say 90% of them have behaviour issues that could lead to serious harm to either a dog, person or other animal. None of those dogs are so called "pit bulls".
The facts have been laid out for everyone; the government, the public, everyone. Yet, everyone believes all the hype, the propaganda, the fear mongering. It's truly unbelievable. It has been proven over and over again that bites have gone up since Ontario's ban on so called "pit bulls". I guess as long as no one is bitten by a "pit bull", bites are okay? However, since most of the people who think they own "pit bulls" and the average Joes who are identifying dogs as "pit bulls", have absolutely no idea what they are talking about...all of this "pit bull" BS is just BS.
Everyone needs to pull their heads out of their asses. Stop calling your dogs "pit bulls", stop believing every dog with short hair you see is a "pit bull" and for dog's sake stop believing the media and government who are thriving off the term "pit bull"!!!!
We are going backwards while the rest of the world goes forward. While the rest of the world is realizing BSL isn't working, while they work on laws which target responsible ownership of all dogs, regardless of breed, we continue to implement and maintain laws that target a specific "look", not the behaviour of each individual animal, but a look. That seems pretty idiotic and dangerous to me.
On another note, the unicorn I met the other day told me I should really consider asking the fairies out for a drink on Friday. I think I might.
Someone in a Facebook group I follow (the "Pit Bull" Co-Op) raised an excellent point. How is it that Quebec plans to ban "pit bulls" as quickly as possible? The province of Quebec recently passed a law stating that animals such as dogs are sentient beings.
They will ban sentient beings because of qualities they can't change, their physical characteristics? Talk about cognitive dissonance.
We all agree it's not the dogs, it's the owners who are being marginalized. Dogs don't have civil rights, probably because they can't read or give informed consent. They are just the tool in the toolbox, right? The way in.
It's about targeting the perceived 'other': the gangsta, the dealah, the punk, the thug, or, if you prefer your bigotry straight up, the black, the brown, the young, the poor. "Those people" as city official Bob Fitzgerald said in Aurora CO to media, weren't welcome in Aurora if they were trying to escape Denver's ban.*
There are no data to support the rather whimsical view that physical characteristics are a predictor of behaviour. In fact, researchers who study this kind of thing are finding more evidence all the time that breed is also not a reliable predictor of behaviour. Neither breed nor shape would be able to predict a behavioural pathology, which is what people who fear "pit bulls" are talking about.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) could be funny, I suppose, from the right angle. It is definitely the stuff of theatre and one day, we will hopefully all look back, shake our collective heads and wonder what the hell was going on in our legislative offices in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Right now, though, it's obscene, unsupportable and alien to anyone who believes in a democratic society. The beauty of targeting a tiny minority - and according to kennel club registrations, the three breeds usually named are among the rarest in Canada - is that most people will not care. They certainly don't care about "pit bulls" (whatever they are supposed to be - the definition seems rather, er, fluid, to say the least) because of a long-running propaganda campaign by a complicit media structure desperate for audience share.
They don't care about punks and thugs either because if you aren't doing anything wrong, well, you know how it goes, except that BSL allows the state to target people in the absence of any wrongdoing. It allows the state to walk into your house, stop you on the street, search your car, seize your property, all without a warrant, simply because you own a dog.
Think about that for a second.
If you doubt what I'm telling you, take a couple of minutes to read the current version of a once-useful but now destructive law, Ontario's Dog Owners' Liability Act. Think outside the "pit bull" and you'll see what I mean.
* Council Woman Molly Markert was even more fun:
"Oh, you bet if I could, I would ban the owners, too," said Markert. "By banning the dogs, we lose the violent behavior that comes with the owners."
Markert said, for her, the bottom line is that breed bans make people feel safer.
"It's not about a fact, it's about a feeling," said Markert.
Well, at least she's honest.
Toronto--Theodore Nippentuk is a typical Canadian. During the long, dark hours of winter, he finds solace in his cozy lair snacking on various treats - treats which embroiled him in one of the most terrifying events of his life.
It was January. The winds howled, the snow blew, the salt-trucks spewed. He had just snapped on the TV and settled in with a bowl of goodies when there was an aggressive knock on the door.
"Open up, Nippentuk! We know you're in there! We have a warrant!"
Heart pounding, head rushing, Theodore peeked through the spy hole and saw strangers outside.
"Wh-who is it?" he asked.
"Canadian Diabetes Association. We have reason to believe you have a bowl of wine gums and other contraband inside your residence. If you don't open up, we will break the door down!"
You may be asking yourself how this is possible. You know Canada is run by bossy intrusive meddlers, with Ontario being among the worst, but how can private health associations be raiding people's pantries looking for universally legal products that are now also banned? Confusing, isn't it?
Under the Ontario Liberal government's new legislation, the Public Safety Related to Confectionery Act, a private charity is now enforcing the law in Ontario, deciding what people can and cannot shove into their cuke-holes. You thought I was going to say cake, right? Not in this province, not any more.
Ridiculous? Uncalled-for? You're right. But Ontarians let this happen. The government is already dictating almost every aspect of people's lives.
It is a short hop from telling folk what kind of dog to get to making sure they aren't enjoying items on the prohibited list: wine gums, Bounty bars, cakes, pies or substantially similar products, unless the amounts are controlled and registered with the CDA annually. For a fee.
What happened to Theodore? His candies and cakes were seized and he was charged under the Act with buying in bulk to save money on illegal quantities of prohibited sweets. He was given a random glucose test and found to be on the cusp of a high reading. His BMI was not good, his muscle tone flabby. He had to appear at Boot Camp Fitness for a period of not less than six months, twice weekly, to get into shape and had to stick to fresh fruit (no pineapple, banana or juice), and sugar-free treats. He had mandatory blood screens every six weeks to ensure compliance.
The next time you are buying sweet things, especially at the Bulk Farm, make sure nobody is watching. Pay cash. Wear a hat. Ontario and its private enforcement squads won't tolerate scofflaws who should know better.
Remember, it's for your own good.
We had purebred dogs in my childhood but so did most people. As an adult, I adopted mixed breed dogs from the shelter and now I have purebred dogs again. Some dogs were great, some could be a drag - quite literally - but I loved them all as much for their quirks as anything else. I should mention that I was raised to reject any kind of snobbery, and it stuck.
Today, due to social media and other enhanced forms of mass communication there is a lot of misinformation that is either being deliberately spread or is just a result of a high-speed crazy game of pass the word.
The rescues slam the breeders, the shelters and pounds slam the innovators and social workers, the kennel club breeders huddle together and talk to each other. The puppy farmers make a killing while the USDA and Ag Canada do nothing to stop them, likely because the pet industry is b-i-g business and they don't want to piss off Hunte, or whomever. I presume that's why it's legal to raise dogs in outdoor chicken coops in Iowa, for example, regardless of weather, or to have 200 dogs in a barn in Grey-Bruce county here in Ontario.
The breed snobs play My Dog's Better Than Your Dog in their heads while the noose tightens and the money runs out because due to decades of propaganda, nobody wants what they are selling these days. The irony is something they never grasp: dogs are the least snobbish beings on this planet.
The raw feeders sneer at the kibble feeders, the cooked people scoff at the raw people and so on and so forth and everybody forgets that dogs will eat garbage (and worse) quite happily. I'm a fan of good nutrition and have read a fair amount about it, so I get it, but it's becoming pretty nuts out there. Foodies. Yikes.
Everybody looks down on somebody. The purpose-bred owners sneer at the pet fanciers who backstab each other relentelessly and of course nobody likes the flat-faced dog people but me. The doodle-dogs are almost universally despised except for the people who believe all the hype about 'hybrid vigour' and 'hypoallergenicity' and 'non-shedding coats'.
The 'pit people' keep acting as if they are under siege, even though everybody is telling them that war is over if they want it so they can come out now and play with the rest of us. The crackpots who promote discrimination based on the shape of a pet are such a tiny number (let's face it, most of us can name them all quite easily) that they really don't warrant any attention, but the 'BSL fighters' keep advertising them. It's like a symbiotic relationship of some kind, a bizarro yin-yang setup that I just can't fathom.
The people who own Heinz 57s want to play in the kennel club sport rings with the purebred people but those folk think the barbarians are at the gates so they resist, becoming more exclusionary and isolated from the mainstream. If they were smart - I mean really smart - they'd invite everybody to play in the sandbox because that is the only way to win them over. What's wrong with different types of owners getting to know each other? What's wrong with people wanting to get out and have fun with their dogs? What's wrong with mixed breed owners actually getting to know purebred breeders and owners, and vice versa? Knowledge is power, isn't it?
And as long as everybody is running on propaganda and hatred - you can just call it bullpucky if you like - the people with the nasty agenda are gaining ground faster than you can say mandatory neutering, breed ban or warrantless entry. Or, just call it what it is, class warfare. Why can't we all just stop buying what they are selling?
Everybody is exploiting dogs (for good and bad). Everybody is in the same business, you know. Rescues, shelters, pounds, dog fancy and working breeders sell dogs - they don't 'adopt' them out. Purebred breeders actually invented private rescue, decades ago. People who import pariahs sell dogs and so, of course, do puppy farmers. I don't see anything wrong with being paid for work and breeding or rescuing dogs is most definitely expensive work. That's not the point. The point is, everybody is doing the same thing so why not break down walls instead of reinforcing them at the behest of those who do not have your interests at heart?
Politicians use dog owners as whipping boys when their failings are obvious to even the most dim-witted constituent. Dishonest people use dogs to beg for money on social media sites and elsewhere. I wondered for awhile if the big animal liberation groups might be running their own puppy farms to assist with revenue generation. It's easy enough to do, according to them. That way, they'd have an endless series of poster pups and undercover filming opportunities readily available. I think it was just a flight of fancy on my part, though, likely after an especially hard year.
You know who doesn't sell dogs? Kijiji, Craigslist, Petfinder or your local newspaper or magazine. They are just tools to get the word out. It seems so obvious, doesn't it? Did you know that CKC members are strongly discouraged from advertising anywhere except in the Annual or on the CKC website? No? Well, it's true. Did you know that selling an unregistered, unmarked dog as purebred violates federal law in Canada? That's true, too.
And while CEOs at provincial shelter headquarters cry poor while receiving tens of millions of public and private dollars, they slam No Kill as they push a scheme with pet limits, restrictions on hobby breeders (and more) using a fifteen-year old poster of puppy farm inmates which shocks people who aren't hardened to that type of 'visual aid'. It works very well. They always forget to mention that hoarding is a psychiatric disorder and breeding or keeping dogs under squalid conditions is probably one, too, so a bylaw will have little effect. Meanwhile a private charity, which is unaccountable, is enforcing the law for monetary gain, but nobody seems to care about that because it's all about the puppies, isn't it? Isn't it?
I like to imagine how nice it could be if everybody got together and shared ideas on ways to improve the health and longevity of dogs, on strategies to help each other to keep dogs out of the pounds and shelters in the first place instead of swapping slogans and looking for scapegoats and being so nasty most of the time. Too much emotion, too little reason makes for a bad mixture.
Imagine the reaction among the bad guys of all stripes if everybody who truly cares about dogs started working together, or at least stopped being so damned judgemental about people they've never met and know nothing about. Let's defeat sleazy politicians, groups who don't want us to share our lives with dogs, and cruel people who only see the dollar value of these marvellous friends of ours.
Maybe people should start behaving more like their charges, who have an uncanny ability to see both the forest and the trees. They do have better senses than we have (and, I'd argue, more sense) and don't give a damn about trappings; that's not what they judge at all. They judge intent. Intent is everything to them, as it should be to us. But you have to be able to look past all bloody distractions, and there are a lot of them these days. Disinformation. Misinformation. Us and Them.
There are enough homes for dogs. There is room for everybody who has a heart to participate in dogdom. Your dog may be better than mine, although I doubt it, but if he is, it won't be because he's a member of a rare family or is FCI rather than CKC or isn't a Peke, Pug or Bulldog.
It will most likely be just because he is yours.
E pluribus unum, baby.
Josephine with one of her beloved Pugs
In an unexpected turn of events, internet social justice group Anonymous has turned its gaze on Peta, the animal liberation outfit that exemplifies the motto "Better Dead than Led".
Here is their scary video for your entertainment:
My friend who blogs at iHowie.ca (check it out) kindly typed up a transcript for people who have trouble loading videos.
Here is the transcription:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Now is the time that we must see the true lies of the PETA organization. People take animals to PETA instead of local shelters because they believe the animals will be placed in a home and not put down. Unlike local animal shelters, PETA doesn't even bother trying to find homes for these pets. All of them are killed within a few hours.
PETA doesn't stop with animals that are dropped off at their facility. No, they actively seek out animals throughout the community to kill. PETA sends traps to catch roaming animals all over Hampton Groves. These traps are designed to catch traps. Many of these are not just strays but people's pets. They have even ventured onto a local federal installation where they captured dozens of cats and immediately killed them. The cats at this particular facility were living in a federal cat colony. They were well fed, spayed and neutered and received regular veterinary care at the expense of the government workers.
PETA in their renowned arrogance decided they knew better and illegally entered the installation several times, stole these people's cats and ended their lives. PETA employees and volunteers regularly enter private property to capture animals, which according to former PETA employees are often times people's pets, someone's cat out for a midnight stroll or even just sitting in their owner's yard.
Car loads of cats are regularly brought to PETA headquarters by employees and volunteers whose job it is to round them up. One such volunteer has brought in hundreds of cats, many wearing tags bearing the name and address of their owner.
The animals are loaded into a small storage shed where they sometimes sit for several hours in the heat and cold waiting awaiting their date with the executioner.
We must address this now and not waste time. PETA must be exposed and not allowed to conduct any further activities. We will not stand by and allow the creatures of gods creation to be brutalized and killed for profit or cheap thrills.
The time is now. We are anonymous. We are legion. For we are many. Expect us."