August 28, 2006

One Year Anniversary Vigil in Toronto Ontario

On Sunday, August 27, there was a one year anniversary vigil at Queen's Park in Toronto Ontario. For those of you unfamiliar with the city, Queen's Park is the location of the Provincial Legislature where Bill 132 was hatched and passed.

Here is one attendee's brief summary of the evening.

Turnout was less than expected. I would attribute that to a number of factors, including summer time, thunderstorms all day (although we were fortunate to not be rained upon during the event), and a general lack of desire to attend with a muzzled dog. There also appears to be an apathy among dog owners regarding this law, almost an acceptance of it.

The crowd that did attend was enthusiastic and supportive. Great people. Great dogs. It was nice to see a number of people attending with non-targeted breeds as well, showing that they really get what this law is about.

Some common themes threaded their way through all the speeches:

  1. This is not about dogs. It's about the government being allowed to create laws that violate the constitutional rights of a small group of people (owners of dogs with a certain look). In fact, the constitutional rights of all dog owners are capable of being violated and abused by this law.
     
  2. We are seeing more and more laws targeting and restricting all dog owners and breed-specific legislation is one piece of that. A perfect example is how, amid all the coverage and uproar about the "pit bull" portion of Bill 132, people missed the fact that police may now go into any private residence, regardless of the breed of dog, in some cases without a warrant. They missed the fact that, no matter what breed or mixed breed they own, they may face $10,000 in fines and six months in jail if someone who doesn't like them or doesn't like their dog accuses their dog of having threatened a person, another dog, or a cat!
     
  3. In order to continue this fight, we need people to talk with their friends and get more people to join the organizations that are fighting this. We need bodies and we need money. It is not enough for people to pat us on the back and say what a great job we are doing or that they think the law is stupid. We have to get people to act, with their time, their effort, and their cash. This fight has been and will continue to be expensive and time consuming. Without financial and physical support, we will not be able to continue.
     
  4. As the provincial election date draws near, our focus must change to become more political. The rallying cry of My Dog Votes will draw dog owners of all types together to persuade politicians that the dog-owning public is a huge and powerful force, one that will vote based on how they and their dogs will be treated. The micro-managing laws that are becoming the norm must not be allowed to continue. Breed-specific legislation is just one symptom of a larger problem - the desire to separate dogs from the public, from interactions with people, with other dogs, with children, and ultimately the desire to end dog ownership, particularly in the urban environment. This cannot be accepted or, not too long from now, nobody will be owning dogs, period.
City TV attended. Their coverage of the event, including video, can found here.

To those who did attend, thank you.

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