September 12, 2006

Therapy dogs? No thanks. Not here.

This Hamilton Spectator article demonstrates the absurdity of Ontario's "pit bull" ban.

A friend of mine has a 10-year-old "pit bull" type dog who is easily one of the best dogs I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

  • He has almost no teeth left from chewing on rocks and diving for them in Lake Ontario.
  • He is people-friendly and dog-friendly. He was a leash-free park dog for his whole life.
  • He has been assaulted numerous times by human "pit bull" haters without any aggressive response from him.
  • He watched his owner be severely assaulted and did nothing (some say this is bad, but that is his temperament).
  • He has been attacked by other dogs, including having his side ripped open by a German Shepherd, without responding.
  • He is not a wimp or fearful. In fact, he's the opposite. Very proud and regal, very much in control of himself and aware of who and what he is.
  • He was a therapy dog at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and at another children's hospice. He would thread his way through IV tubes to climb up on the bed and lie down with the kids.
He can't do therapy work any more because the new legislation has created fear as well as legal and liability issues. The kids cried when he had to leave. Now, after ten years of service to his owner and his community, he has to wear a muzzle in public.

Another friend of mine has a dog that helps with developmentally handicapped children. She works for a government organization and looks after these kids in her home. She was told to get rid of her dog or lose her job. Every parent of every child wrote letters of support saying that they wanted the dog to be with their children. The organization eventually backed off, but the dog still has to be muzzled inside her house when the children are there.

A number of therapy dogs have been "ejected" from the St. John's and Therapeutic Paws programs, not because those organizations feel there's anything wrong, but because of public fear and because of an inability to get insurance companies to provide liability insurance. Somehow these dogs, that have been working so diligently and reliably with children or in retirement homes, will suddenly turn into raging monsters just because Dalton McGuinty, Michael Bryant, and their hacks say so.

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