August 11, 2006

From Good Citizen to Criminal at the Stroke of a Pen

One entry to the Toronto Sun's 2006 "guest column" competition got an honourable mention and was printed in the August 11 paper. The newspaper's title for it was "Dog Ban is the Pits".

Here's the full text of the column:

I am an intelligent, well-spoken, middle-aged male. I graduated high school and college at the top of my class. I have a good job as a computer professional, a house in a nice neighbourhood, and a decent car.

I live in Toronto with my wife, my daughter, my 4-year-old grandson, and two dogs.

I obey the law and consider myself to be a good citizen of society. I am not a drug dealer, a gangster, or a hoodlum.

Life would be good, except for one thing.

Thanks to a new Ontario law, I am constantly at risk of being branded a criminal and facing six months in jail.

My two non-purebred dogs appear to be American Pit Bull Terriers, one of North America's oldest, most decorated, and most trusted family breeds.

Does that change the way you think of me? Have I suddenly become a bad person or a second-class citizen?

Does it matter to you that my dogs have Canine Good Neighbour titles and obedience titles or that my older one would have become a therapy dog if not for this law?

Does it make a difference that my dogs will ignore belligerent and aggressive dogs or that a perfect stranger can put their hands into my car windows with no fear of anything other than a good lick?

If a "pit bull attack" happens, it won't be one of my dogs. I don't allow my dogs to run loose and bite.

I don't want to be painted with the same brush as someone who can't figure out that his out-of-control, untrained, unsocialized, alone-in-the-backyard mutt might one day get out and hurt someone.

I have met and worked with enough dangerous dogs in my life, of many different breeds, to know that this law will not make you or your family safer. All it's really doing is making mine miserable.

We cannot enjoy our walks through the woods and on the beach like other dog owners, because my "girls" just keep trying to get their muzzles off. I know of other owners who go out at 2 a.m., just so that their dogs can get some exercise.

They're always looking over their shoulders for police officers because the penalty for what they're doing is the mandatory death of their dog: Average citizens forced by a discriminatory government into becoming criminals.

Forget the breed of my dogs for one moment and imagine that you were targeted this way.

How would you react? Would you stand up and fight or would you lie there quietly and let them kill your dog and thousands like her?

Ontario is killing healthy, well-adjusted dogs at a rate unimaginable two years ago. Not aggressive. No behaviour problems. Not sick. Not injured. Perfectly adoptable. Wrong body.

Newborn puppies are required to be destroyed in this province. I don't use the word "euthanized," which is the mercy killing of sick or injured animals. This is destruction, plain and simple.

Want to help? Look up "Bill 132" on the Internet and help the organizations that are fighting this discrimination. Then, in October 2007, vote this Ontario Liberal government out of office and send them a letter now telling them why. While you're at it, send a copy to the Sun.


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1 comments:

liz Sullivan said...

I am with you and appreciate your letter. I have served my country well, but will fight the injustice of BSL til my last breath. I feel ashamed for the state we are in right regarding about BSL.
Proverbs. 13:10 A righteous persons regards thier beasts.
Thier is noting "right" about BSL and I to am not a criminal, but t his law may make me one too.

 
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