March 29, 2017
The Experts Have Been Excluded
... Or How the McGuinty Government has Used Smoke & Mirrors and a Whole Pack of Lies to Deceive the Ontario Public
Comments by Michael Bryant:
"You don't ask an Attorney General to be the dog expert … The bottom line is it's going to be up to the experts."
"There was someone who is -- I think everyone would agree -- an expert in this: Cathie Cino, the director of Cat and Jack Canine Safety. She's a dog trainer, author, and behaviour consultant with aggressive dogs. She talked about her experience with those dogs."
The expert input on Bill 132:
"Bill 132 wilfully legislates profiling, prejudices and paranoia, which is what it will create."
- Cathie Cino, expert cited by Bryant in legislature
- 81 of 103 presenters spoke against BSL
- 49 organizations representing dog experts spoke against the ban; 4 represented breeds named in the bill and two represented animal rights organizations.
- Not a single expert organization representing dogs approved of this approach.
- These experts included animal control from Mississauga and Sudbury.
- Victims of bites by other breeds spoke against breed specific legislation
The experts' professional opinions:
- "Pit bulls" are not inherently or genetically different than other breeds.
- The top 4 biters by breed are German Shepherds, Rottweillers, Cocker Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers.
- Bites by "pit bull" type dogs account for less than 5% of all serious bites in Canada.
- It is a myth that "pit bull" type dogs are unique in how they attack. Other breeds also have a bite and hold pattern.
- There is no qualitative difference between a serious attack by a "pit bull" and one by another breed of a comparable size.
- A bite and hold attack is not qualitatively more severe than a series of slashing bites typical for a breed like the German Shepherd.
- Dogs in attacks are regularly misidentified as "pit bulls". If "pit bull" attacks were qualitatively different then this confusion should not exist.
- Breed bans are unenforceable.
- Breed bans are extremely expensive.
- Breed bans unfairly punish responsible owners while irresponsible owners ignore the laws.
- 80% of bite victims are children who will be bitten in their home or at a neighbour's by the family dog. Research shows that just 1 hour of dog safety training in grades 2 and 3 can reduce these attacks by 80%.
- There is a better solution: the Calgary model. It is proven to work.
- To achieve the same success in Winnipeg that was seen in Calgary using its 'breed ban' aproach, Winnipeg would have to ban 58% of its dog population.
The victims who spoke out against Bill 132 said:
"Please, let's not look at banning specific breeds of dogs. Let's look at banning the irresponsible, dangerous owners who either train their dogs to attack or don't train them in good behaviour. Put them in jail. Fine them as you would a drunk driver. Make our society aware that if their dog attacks, there will be serious consequences, not months and years of lawyers battling in the legal system. That's what happened to us and that's just not right."
- Donna Trempe, whose daughter Courtney was killed by a Bull Mastiff in 1998
"My mother stopped counting stitches at 250. That was before the top layer of my skin was reattached. One third of my scalp had to be reattached to my skull. An opiate-class narcotic was prescribed for the pain. I take exception that this bite would have been quantitatively less painful than one from a dog under section 1. The pain was very, very real, and the trauma was real."
- Krys Pritchard who was attacked by the family dog (not a "pit bull")
The bottom line:
Calgary enacted dangerous dog legislation in response to an escalating bite problem. The results were incredible. Bites have dropped by 70% and the city's animal control program pays for itself. Police work with animal control in dangerous situations like the one mentioned by Julian Fantino last week; the Calgary approach effectively manages the problems Fantino outlined. This is the model that Ontario should be looking at. This was the advice of the experts.