July 10, 2007

Welsh Corgi mix identified as "pit bull" and destroyed

My apologies in advance to the Peterborough Examiner. I'm copying the full text of this article from their online newspaper. Unfortunately, these stories have a habit of disappearing into the "archives" and this is one I don't want us to forget.

The original story can be found here, at least for as long as they keep it on their website.

This article was written by Lynn Reynolds, a dog breeder and trainer who has been directly involved with the case.

Printed from www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com web site Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - © 2007 Peterborough Examiner

Great dog, ugly label


Monday, July 09, 2007 - 00:00

Editorial - Re "First pit bull euthanized under new provincial law" (June 29) -

Ziggy was a friendly, happy, tail-wagging, glad-to-be-hugged little dog with a very ugly label attached to her - "pit-bull cross." This label was given to her by a system which cannot prove that that is what she was. It took only one or two individuals to attach that label to her. She could, however, be proven to be a Welsh corgi cross. DNA testing could have eliminated the doubt about her lineage, but that was not allowed to be done.

This little dog had harmed no one. Her only offense: she accidentally got out of the home where she was loved and cherished, and she supposedly "looked like a pit-bull" (which according to a ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal, is "unconstitutionally vague as there is no such breed").

The "breed specific legislation" was rushed into being with little thought to its consequences, and with a great deal of protest from the dog-related community and concerned individuals, which is ongoing as I write this. Where are the people who enacted this law? They certainly weren't there to witness the killing of this innocent creature and the agony of those who had to do it. Nor were they here to witness the tears of the many people who have been involved with this dear dog over the many months of her incarceration.

Where are these lawmakers as the young women who owned the dog faces huge costs incurred for the incarceration and court proceedings? If this dog had been correctly labeled the "corgi-cross" that she definitely was, her owner would have faced a fine and the dog would have gone home, probably the same day she was picked up. As it is, her body lies waiting to be buried, not even able to be claimed until all costs are paid.

This young women, and her dog, and those forced into upholding this law are all victims: victims of a system which refuses to listen to the many protests against this unfair and uncompromising law. How many other dogs have already been unjustly sentenced to death and killed under this law? Many are sitting on "death row" right now! How many more people are going to be devastated emotionally and financially by this ill-designed law?

This is not a protest about "biters" and aggressive dogs being destroyed. It's for the dogs who are being mislabeled and destroyed for no valid reason. Why are these unfortunate dogs not even allowed to be assessed and temperament-tested by a panel of knowledgeable professional trainers?

Which breed of dog will be harassed and/or banned next? Could it be mine?

To label an entire breed as dangerous because a few poorly-bred, untrained, improperly socialized dogs cause problems is like labeling all human individuals within a specific ethnic group as lazy or violent.

Caring, responsible dog owners must continue to speak out against this unjust "breed specific legislation" to the members of our provincial government. Justice was certainly not done for those involved in this travesty. We couldn't save Ziggy. Let's pray we might be able to help the next ones in line awaiting the same fate.

Lynn Reynolds has been showing, breeding and training dogs since 1979. She became involved in Ziggy's case when she was asked to pray for those devastated by the event.


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© Copyright 2007 Steve Barker