June 13, 2007

Sarnia and "pit bulls": city on shaky legal ground

There's a little thing going on in Sarnia, Ontario, this week that illustrates some serious problems with cities being far too eager to apply the vague, unenforceable, and unconstitutional Dog Owners' Liability Act.

The Sarnia Observer has four related stories:

Dog census underway in city

Seized dogs face execution

Dogs gain stay of execution

Local rallies to protest pit bull law
The following is a letter I wrote in the past week to the Sarnia Observer that summarizes my feelings on this issue.

After reading about this incident, I feel more than ever that no dog owner is truly safe in this province.

June 7, 2007

To the editor of the Sarnia Observer:

Re "Seized dogs face execution" (June 7), regardless of whether or not these people broke the law (and keep in mind that they are fighting these charges, saying that the dogs are not "pit bulls"), here are my issues with this:

a) Killing seven-week-old puppies, regardless of breed, temperament, ownership, or anything else, is an evil and despicable act that has no basis in reason or conscience. Since when did our government turn into puppy-killers? We've got Animal Rights groups going ballistic over keeping animals in captivity or over the hunting of this type of animal or over the possible extinction of this one, and yet, right in front of our noses, we could not have a better example of government-sponsored extinction.

b) It is not possible, at seven weeks old, to tell the breed of a dog, especially when that identification determines the life or death of that dog. It is impossible (and illegal) to identify a purebred dog if it doesn't have kennel club registration papers.

c) Failure to keep these pups (or any dog) alive during a court case is an abuse of the protection afforded poundkeepers when they choose to destroy a dog. It is simply wrong to try to kill the dog as quickly as possible before the owners can win their court case.

d) According to the judge's recent decision, the onus is no longer solely on the owner to prove the breed of their dog (or lack of).

So, ultimately, the Sarnia authorities are saying, "we think it might, possibly, look like something that we think might, possibly, be illegal, so we're going to kill these living, breathing animals, even if you prove us wrong later".

This reminds of one of the white supremacists' favourite sayings: "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out".


Steve Barker

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