Debunking Michael Bryant
The people of Ontario owe it to themselves to question the truth in what Michael Bryant is saying. The information he presented at his press conference was primarily inaccurate, erroneous and grossly distorted. It appears that Mr. Bryant is sensationalizing one issue to make the people of Ontario forget the Liberal's broken election promises.
The claim: "I am convinced that pit bulls are ticking time bombs. I am convinced that they are inherently dangerous animals." - Michael Bryant
Response: The United States the Supreme Court in Alabama ruled that there was no genetic evidence that one breed of dog was more dangerous than another, simply because of its breed. All of the experts support this view - experts that Michael Bryant refused to include in his round table discussions. Why is Michael Bryant manipulating the truth to make one group of dogs look like monsters?
The claim: "... a neighbouring pit bull knock[ed] her fence over and a 150 pound beast charged her kids." - Michael Bryant
Response: 'Pit bulls' do not exceed 100 pounds - most are in the 40-80 pounds range. In other words, Michael Bryant did not even use real 'pit bull' examples for his news conference. This proves the fears of pet owners are valid - any shorthaired, medium-to-large sized cross bred dog cannot be distinguished from 'pit bull' crosses and will be affected by this ban. This would include most boxer crosses, many labrador crosses, rhodesian ridgeback crosses, mastiff crosses ... many, many dogs.
The claim: "... experts in Canada or the studies and statistics in the United States which found that pit bulls, in study after study, make up about 1 to 3 percent of the dog population in any given area and pit bulls cause somewhere between 48 and 56 percent of the serious dog incidents ..." - Michael Bryant
The response: These numbers apparently come from one obscure study - again showing the extreme bias that Michael Bryant has brought to this issue. There is no scientific evidence that a single breed, over a period of time, has been the responsible for the most number of bites. Science experts point out that the breeds involved in serious bite attacks change over time, following changes in ownership patterns.
For example, between May 1975 and April 1980 the German Shepherd was responsible for close to double the number of fatalities (16) of the second ranked breed, husky-type dogs (9) - and in this period there were no 'pit bull' related fatalities. In recent years Rottweilers were the most commonly reported breed involved in fatal attacks.
The claim: "... I have not been presented with any compelling evidence to suggest that there is another breed like this. It is a breed apart. This is far more "bull" than "pet" and yes, there are big dogs out there, but they just don't cause the damage proportionately to their number, that pit bulls do." - Michael Bryant
Response: Again Michael Bryant shows either his ignorance, or his willing to manipulate the facts to further his agenda. Why do I say this? Because the very studies that Michael Bryant cites to support his ban clearly indicate that other large breeds have been involved in serious and fatal dog attacks recently. In fact, in Winnipeg bites by two of these breeds jumped significantly in the year that immediately followed the ban. Other breeds have emerged in recent years as a much more serious danger to public safety than the 'pit bull' because ownership trends are changing.
The claim: "We also know that when you institute a pit bull ban, it does not take long to have no more pit bull problems in your jurisdiction. That was the experience in Winnipeg ..." - Michael Bryant
The response: Mr. Bryant is knowingly deceiving the people of Ontario with this statement through exclusion. Yes, by reducing the number of 'pit bulls' in Winnipeg the government significantly cut the number of 'pit bull' incidents. However, a critical point is excluded. In the four years that immediately followed the 'pit bull' ban the overall number of bites in the city of Winnipeg went up.
The real numbers are this: in Winnipeg the overall number of bites in 1990 (the year when the ban was introduced) was 214 compared to 275, 264, 256, and 301 for the years of 1991-1994. More importantly, Winnipeg's statistics show a sharp increase in bites by two specific breeds that began in 1991 - immediately after the ban was implemented.
The claim: "The bull terrier is not captured. It is not a pit bull. Boxers are ugly dogs too [laughter]. I boxed for years, so I can say that and I'm showing it right now. So no, Don Cherry's dog is safe [laughter]. Which means I am too [laughter]." - Michael Bryant
Response: Again, the Attorney General demostrates his ignorance. Don Cherry's new dog is no longer a Bull Terrier - it is an American Staffordshire Terrier, one of the proposed breeds that will be banned if Bryant's law is passed. And Don Cherry's daughter owns Staffordshire Bull Terriers, yet another breed on Michael Bryant's hit list.
The claim: In England regarding identification problems under their Dangerous Dogs Act "... it wasn't the pit bull identification problem, it was these other breeds ...". - Michael Bryant
Response: Wrong again, Mr. Bryant. I would like to see you tell that to Henry Bates, the owner of Otis, a great dane cross that was seized and then held for 3 years at a cost to the owner of over 8 pounds a day for care on the basis that Otis was a 'pit bull'. A full transcript where British parliamentarians discuss the Otis case, and in fact serious problems with their dangerous dogs act, can be found online here.
What is Michael Bryant's agenda? This is a man who is willing to distort, manipulate and ultimately EXTERMINATE 3 unique dog breeds for his own political gain. This is not a politician that should have any power over anyone in Ontario.
Our response, Mr. Bryant, is that SOMEONE SHOULD BAN YOU. You have shamed the people of Ontario.