October 31, 2007

An illogical leap

Craig McInnes of the Vancouver Sun wrote this article in September which initially appeared to lament the dangers of loose dogs to children.

The basic premise of the first third of his story, and certainly the gist of the headline, is that a child, when walking or playing in a place where the child is supposed to be and allowed to be, should not have to worry about being bitten by a dog.

Owners of dogs (of any breed) should not risk children's safety by assuming that their dogs won't bite and thus leaving their dogs loose and unsupervised.

AMEN! I couldn't agree with you more, Craig.

The story begins with McInnes being threatened by two dogs (a black Labrador retriever and a younger dog of similar size) who were in the back of a pickup truck and not restrained in any way.

He then moves to two examples of dogs that simply should have been left alone because, unmolested, they would not have bitten anyone.

Again, perfect examples of situations that should not have happened.

The last example McInnes uses is of a pit bull shot by a police officer while attending a call about a dog biting its owner. The dog was shot on its own property, apparently as it threatened the police officer.

Although I believe that there is a tendency among police officers to shoot "pit bull" types more quickly than others, there appears to be some justification for these actions. I don't know the whole story, so I won't comment further. The particular details are actually not the point here.

The point is that, in the last third of his article, Craig makes a leap from this story (of a dog biting its owner inside its own house and then being shot by police) to how parents of children should not have to be worried about the trustworthiness of an approaching pit bull.

It doesn't appear to matter that he just finished talking about a Labrador Retriever threatening him!

It doesn't appear to matter that he just finished talking about a boy whose skull was ripped to shreds by a team of sled dogs!

It doesn't appear to matter that that he just finished talking about the owner of a Cocker Spaniel who bugged his sleeping dog and almost lost his nose as a result!

All of these incidents have faded into the background because McInnes translates a single case of a dog biting inside its house into public concern about dangerous, unpredictable, overly strong, loose running pit bulls!

It doesn't seem to matter to him that a "pit bull" type dog has never killed a child in Canada. Ever.

McInnes started off great and, if he had stayed in that vein, he might have actually accomplished something in terms of helping prevent dog bites.

Instead, he's simply become another source for "pit bull ban" protaganists who want to justify their tunnel vision approach to dog bite prevention.

Stop loose running dogs.

Good idea.
Don't allow protective, territorial dogs to reach the general public.
Makes sense.
Prevent children from reaching tethered or backyard dogs.
Another good idea.
Teach children (and others) not to bother dogs that aren't bugging anyone.
Perfect.
Tell everyone that "pit bulls" are really the dogs that everyone should be worried about if they're loose.
HUH?
Comments like those at the end of McInnes' story lead directly to comments like this from Kory Nelson, city attorney for Denver, Colorado:
"Anybody who shoots a pit bull running loose is justified," said Nelson, the Denver city attorney. "The only difference between a pit bull and a gun is that a gun won't chase you down the street."
And comments like that lead inexorably to breed bans and the deaths of thousands of dogs, simply because people like Craig McInnes decide to conveniently ignore the fact that it was not a pit bull that threatened him from the back of that pickup truck.

Instead of focusing on the issues, the lack of control and training, the irresponsibility of particular, individual owners, McInnes felt it necessary to turn the whole thing around and make it about "pit bulls".

Instead of using his newspaper space to do something good, the only McInnes has managed to accomplish is to increase the likelihood of vigilantism and legislation aimed at pit bull owners.

In the end, he has done nothing to help reduce dog bites.

Read the rest of this article

Media catches up

Tuesday uncovered a few more media outlets covering the story of the eleven-year-old boy ordering his dog to attack other children.

I won't be so presumptious as to pretend that letters to the editors from myself and others made a difference. It's probably just the rest of the news organizations catching up to the Toronto Star.

Globe and Mail

City News

The most detailed story to-date is, surprisingly, from the Vancouver Province (the story happened in Toronto).

Vancouver Province

Interesting that two of these three organizations chose to identify the dog as a German Shepherd rather than the Irish Wolfhound / German Shepherd mix that was reported in the original story.

I am constantly reiterating that breed is the least important factor in dog bites. In this case, we have unsupervised children, a dog with a biting history, and a boy that decides to settle his arguments with the others by ordering his dog to attack. Clearly, breed was not the issue here.

It still bothers me, however, when I see these inconsistencies, because it is these very media reports that politicians use to justify breed banning.

Read the rest of this article

October 29, 2007

Where is the media?

Thank you to the Toronto Star for being the ONLY paper to print this story.

I was not able to find the story in any other newspaper. This incident did not happen in a small, obscure town with only one daily or weekly paper. This happened in Toronto, with at least six daily newspapers and many online news organizations, as well as television and radio.

Yet, only one newspaper deemed this story fit to print.

Note that there is no mention of breed in the headline. In fact, the breed of the dog is mentioned once, in the sixth paragraph.

I have included the entire story below so that you can play a game. It's a very easy game.

Simply replace the phrase "Irish Wolfhound / Shepherd mix" with the phrase "pit bull".

No change in circumstance. No change in injuries.

Imagine what the media response would be to that story. Imagine how many news organizations, not only in Toronto, but across the province and the country, would grab that story and run with it.

Imagine the headlines.

"Pit bull mauls eight-year-old girl"
"Pit bull used as attack dog"
"Pit bull used as weapon of revenge"
"Pit bull chases and attacks four children"
"Girl lucky to be alive after being mauled by pit bull"

Instead, we get "Girl suffers leg injuries in dog attack". Is "Irish Wolfhound / Shepherd mix" too long to put in the headline?

Imagine the questions and comments.

Where were the parents?
What was an 11 year old child doing with a "loaded weapon"?
Why was the dog "trained" to attack (based on the ability for a child to "sic" it on other children)?
Why has the dog not been destroyed?
Why was the dog not destroyed and/or the owners charged in the previous biting instances?

I'm not necessarily suggesting that the dog should have been destroyed earlier or even that it should be now, just that these would probably be the questions if the breed were different.

There could not be a better example of the double standard in the media when it comes to certain types of dogs.

Here's the full text of the story.

Girl suffers leg injuries in dog attack

TheStar.com
October 28, 2007
Rachel De Lazzer
Staff Reporter

Children throwing berries at each other allegedly prompted an 11-year-old boy to sick his dog on a girl on Saturday.

Injuries to the girl, 8, were not as serious as initially thought, police said yesterday. She underwent surgery on the day of the attack but suffered no muscle or tissue damage and was kept in hospital for a 48-hour period as a precaution so hospital staff could watch for signs of infection.

"Her leg was surgically repaired and will be scarred," said Det. Martin Woodhouse, referencing the incident report.

The attack occurred on Kingston Rd. near Manse Rd. when four neighbourhood children in a townhouse complex began arguing after the children began throwing berries at other children.

One boy became upset and fetched his dog PJ from his house and allegedly sicked him on the offending children, who were frightened and fled. Police said the dog pursued them and bit the victim in her left leg thigh area.

The dog is a seven-year-old Irish Wolfhound-Sheppard mix that has a history of biting, said Woodhouse.

The boy is too young to be charged, but Woodhouse said typically police will talk to the parents about discipline in such a case.

"We'll interview the boy and we'll interview the parents and tell them what's right and wrong" he said.

The dog was turned over to Animal Control for quarantine and it's not clear whether the dog will be destroyed. Woodhouse said police would typically suggest it be put down especially in a case where a dog has a history of biting.

With files from Jackson Hayes

© Copyright Toronto Star 1996-2007

Read the rest of this article

October 26, 2007

Agenda? Who? Us?

The blatant media pandering to an irrational public fear is starting to get a little old.

Below, I've copied all three articles from the St. Catharines Standard about a dog and woman being bitten by a "pit bull". I had to do this because, unfortunately, the Standard, like the rest of the Osprey Media publications, start charging for their stories after seven days. It's a shame, because I can get stories from the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and Globe and Mail from months ago for free.

So what gives a newspaper the right, after being told that a dog is a cross between two separate and distinct dog breeds, to forget about the one breed and focus only on the other?

Is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever any more one than the other? Should the media just call it a German Shepherd? How about a Labradoodle (Lab + Poodle)? If that dog bites somebody, should the headlines read "Poodle mauls boy"?

Why is, then, that the phrase "pit bull" causes everyone to just focus on that one word? Is it because it MUST be the "pit bull" part that did the attacking?

Sorry, folks, the statistics, especially in this country, do not support that view. There are many dogs in this country, including the Labrador Retriever, that bite more, maim more, and kill more.

Labrador retrievers and mixes have attacked just as many people and, in many cities, more people than "pit bull" types. Does that make me dislike Labs? Of course not, but it simply recognizes that many different types of dogs bite, sometimes very seriously.

Labrador retrievers and mixes have killed more people in Canada than "pit bull" types. Does that make me afraid of Labs? Of course not, but it simply recognizes that many different types of dogs kill, even though dog bites are one of the least likely causes of death in the world.

I'm not picking on Labrador Retrievers here. That breed just happens to be the second half of the dog in this story.

But what rationale, what logic, what facts, support the instant dropping of the identifier "Labrador Retriever" in favour of the identifier "pit bull"?

We can argue all day about whether "pit bull" is even a breed. In fact, if you use the word "pit bull", you should really just use the word "retriever" instead of "Labrador retriever" because it's the same concept - a group of dogs that may look similar or that may be used for similar purposes.

What if the Labrador Retriever had a huge number of bites in this country and the Golden Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever weren't even on the radar in terms of biting? What if the statistics just said "retriever - 5,000 bites"? Wouldn't that just drive the Golden, Chessie, and Toller owners nuts to be lumped into the same group?

Welcome to the world of "pit bull" owners!

Just so that you can see what this St. Catharines newspaper did, here are the three articles.

Keep in mind, people get bitten by dogs in St. Catharines at least once a week. The injuries here (to both dog and woman) were minor. It appears that it was most likely a dog fight and people stuck their hands in the middle, which is always a bad idea.

It actually sounds like the Lincoln County Humane Society is being pretty decent about not overreacting to a pretty typical dog fight.

Yet, we have THREE articles about the incident in this small town newspaper. I wonder if the newspaper would have the guts to go back through Animal Services records and report on ALL other dog fights where owners got bitten and ALL other bites from dog to human over the past year.

Now that would be responsible reporting.

All articles below were written by Grant LaFleche.




http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=746433

Grimsby woman bitten by pit bull

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Lincoln County Humane Society is trying to determine whether charges will be laid following a pit bull attack Tuesday morning in Grimsby.

“The dog was not muzzled,” said humane society executive director Kevin Strooband. “All breeds of pit bull have to have to be muzzled when not on their own property.”

The incident happened shortly before 8:30 a.m. when a resident at a Slessor Boulevard apartment building was walking her Rottweiler in the hallway.

Strooband says she passed a teenaged boy walking a pit bull/Labrador cross.

“What happened was he lost his grip on the leash when the pit bull went for the other dog,” he said.

The pit bull bit the Rottweiler, and then also bit the woman, identified by her landlord as Jennifer, on the arm and leg.

However, Strooband said the injuries were minor. The 37-year-old woman was taken to the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital for treatment. She was released a short time later.

The teenager was also injured trying to separate the dogs, but his injuries did not require medical attention.

Strooband said the pit bull has been quarantined for 10 days. That is standard procedure in cases when dogs bite a human to see whether the animal develops any symptoms of rabies.

Copyright © 2007 St. Catharines Standard




http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=747834

Pit bull quarantined after attack

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Lincoln County Humane Society is trying to determine whether charges will be laid following a pit bull attack Tuesday morning in Grimsby.

"The dog was not muzzled," said society executive director Kevin Strooband. "All breeds of pit bull have to have to be muzzled when not on their own property."

The incident happened shortly before 8:30 a.m. when a resident at a Slessor Boulevard apartment building was walking her Rottweiler in the hallway.

Strooband said she passed a teenaged boy walking a pit bull/Labrador cross.

"What happened was he lost his grip on the leash when the pit bull went for the other dog," he said.

The pit bull bit the Rottweiler, and then also bit the woman on the arm and leg.

Strooband said the injuries were minor. The 37-year-old woman was taken to the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital for treatment and released a short time later. The teen was hurt trying to separate the dogs, but his injuries did not require medical attention.

Strooband said the pit bull has been quarantined for 10 days, standard procedure when dogs bite a human to see whether the animal shows symptoms of rabies.

Copyright © 2007 St. Catharines Standard




http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=749545

Pit bull involved in attack released from quarantine

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A pit bull that bit a Grimsby woman Tuesday has been released from quarantine by the Lincoln County Humane Society.

The dog was placed in quarantine as a matter of procedure following the Slessor Boulevard incident. Dogs that bite humans are kept in quarantine for 10 days to see whether symptoms of rabies develop.

However, humane society executive director Kevin Strooband said Wednesday the public health department gave him the green light to release the animal.

The dog is going with its owner to Milton where it will be observed for 10 days.

The pit bull bit a 37-year-old woman around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The woman was walking in the hallway of her apartment building and came near a teenager walking the pit bull. The pit bull bit the other dog and its owner. Both the woman and the dog are fine, Strooband said, and suffered only minor injuries.

Ontario law requires all pit bulls be muzzled outside their own property. This dog was not. However, Strooband said charges will only be laid if the victim wants them to be. As yet, no charges have been laid.

Copyright © 2007 St. Catharines Standard

Read the rest of this article

October 19, 2007

Dangerous and Disruptive Pets Survey

Here is a brief summary of a survery conducted by Ipsos Canada. The summary was also produced by Ipsos, so the "interesting tidbits" listed for each city have been selected by the editors of the news release and, as such, may not actually be the most revealing statistics.

I'm hoping to get the full report and I certainly will be making more comments on this document in the near future.



Attention News Editors:

'Dangerous dogs are a product of poor upbringing, not genes,' says 86 per cent of Canadian Ipsos respondents

Dangerous and Disruptive Pets Survey released by Ipsos Canada at Summit for Urban Animal Strategies

CALGARY, Oct. 18 /CNW/ - Most community members polled from across the country believe that an animal's upbringing plays a bigger role than breed and size when determining dangerous behaviour. With that being the case, it is not surprising that pet owners were named as the primarily responsible party for managing disruptive pets, with local humane societies coming in second and the municipal government being named as third. These were just some of the findings of the 2007 Urban Animal Survey, released today by Ipsos Canada at the Banff Summit for Urban Animal Strategies.

The online survey asked questions about disruptive and dangerous pets to a nationally representative Canadian Household Panel, in eight communities throughout Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Although the questions focused on potentially harmful urban pets in general, an overwhelming majority (95 per cent) of Canadians who have felt threatened by pets named canines as the culprit. In fact, dogs also came out on top as the most common type of pet found to be disruptive (93 per cent of instances) - whether that be making excessive noise, or leaving feces on public or personal property.

Of the Canadians surveyed, 83 per cent have had their lifestyle disturbed by a pet. Be that as it may, over one-fifth (22 per cent) of our tolerant community members were not at all concerned about disruptive pets in the community.

"We discovered that although more than half of respondents felt that the existing legislation in their community was sufficient for managing disruptive pets, an even larger majority of constituents - seven in 10 - indicated knowing little or nothing about pet-related legislation," says David Webb, Senior Research Manager for Ipsos Canada. "Given these stats, there is clearly still work to be done on an education and awareness front."

When it came to dangerous pets, community members were concerned for their own safety, that of their family and that of others in the community in similar proportions (32 per cent, 39 per cent and 39 per cent respectively). Interestingly, 77 per cent of Canadians surveyed said that pet owners should be the responsible party for managing dangerous pets, but 70 per cent believed that the humane society or SPCA were the ones doing the job. Is there a perception that pet owners are shirking their responsibilities? Perhaps, since almost half of respondents (49 per cent) completely agree that how a dog is raised determines its behaviour - not genetics.

Despite this fact - there is still a consensus among community members (53 per cent) that people should be banned from having specific types of pets, and a similar percentage (51 per cent) are in favour of banning specific breeds of dogs from 'Leash Free Parks.' In fact, a particularly cautious 24 per cent of respondents want all dogs to wear muzzles in public places.

"In speaking with our session leaders and delegates, we discovered that the topic of disruptive and dangerous animals was one that stimulated a great deal of discussion and debate," says Larry Evans, Chair of the Banff Summit Organizing Committee. "With this in mind, we commissioned this survey by Ipsos Canada to find out how the community at large were affected by these types of animals in their everyday lives."
<< How do the Communities Compare?

Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario
  • Fifty-five per cent of people in Hamilton/Burlington, the highest of any community surveyed, do not believe that larger dogs are more likely to be dangerous than smaller dogs
  • Thirty per cent of those surveyed in this area agree with legislation requiring all dogs to undergo a behaviour assessment before entering the communit
  • Consistent with the average for all respondents in this survey, 37 per cent of people in Hamilton/Burlington would like legislation governing dangerous pets to be 'completely proactive'
St. Catharines, Ontario
  • Ninety-two per cent of people from St. Catharines (six per cent higher than the overall average) believe that how a dog is raised plays a bigger role in determining dangerous behaviour than the dog's breed and size
  • Caution wins out - St. Catharines is home to the highest percentage of those in favour of banning 'Leash Free Parks' for dogs (22 per cent)
  • One in two respondents support legislation requiring specific breeds of dogs to wear muzzles when in public places
  • Twelve per cent of respondents are 'very concerned' about disruptive pets in the community (highest of all participating communities)
London, Ontario
  • Londoners enjoy a well-heeled companion - 30 per cent support legislation requiring all dogs to undergo professional dog training (highest of all participating communities)
  • When asked how prevalent dangerous pets are in the community, over one-quarter answered 'very or somewhat' prevalent
  • People in London felt the most threatened of all communities surveyed by an animal that approached aggressively, at 73 per cent
  • Londoners make friendly neighbours - almost half of respondents (47 per cent) were concerned for the safety of other community members due to dangerous pets, and 46 per cent were concerned for their own families
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Sixty per cent of people in Saskatoon do not agree with legislation requiring all pets to undergo a behaviour assessment before entering the communit
  • Half of respondents disagree with legislation that bans pet owners from having specific types of dogs (only 17 per cent 'completely agree' with this legislation)
  • Residents of Saskatoon like their dogs to run free - 72 per cent are not supportive of legislation that would ban 'Leash Free Parks'
  • Sixty-two per cent of Saskatoon respondents, the highest of all communities surveyed, think police officers are responsible for managing dangerous pets in their community (but 80 per cent think it should be pet owners)
St. Albert, Alberta
  • Residents of St. Albert appear to be more knowledgeable about pet legislation than other survey respondents; 43 per cent claim to know 'some or a lot' - the highest of any communit
  • An overwhelming majority (90 per cent) also agree with legislation requiring all dog owners to register their dogs with the municipalit
  • Watch out for animals in St. Albert - 20 per cent of those who had felt personally threatened by a dangerous pet said the dog was biting (highest of any community) - as opposed to barking or growling
Calgary, Alberta
  • When Calgarians were asked how concerned they were about disruptive pets in the community, over one-quarter (26 per cent) said they were 'not at all concerned'
  • The people of Calgary would like the government to stay out of it - 20 per cent of respondents believe that disruptive pets are a private matter
  • Eighty-two per cent of Calgarians (highest of all communities) have not felt personally threatened by a dangerous pet in the community
Vancouver, British Columbia
  • People in Vancouver are divided on whether or not size matters - one in two disagree that larger dogs are more likely to be dangerous than smaller breeds
  • Vancouverites are the least knowledgeable about pet legislation when compared to their fellow survey respondents - 75 per cent claim to know 'little or nothing'
  • The same percentage (75 per cent) believe that the Humane Society/SPCA are responsible for managing dangerous pets in the community - but when asked who should be managing dangerous pets, 'pet owners' were named by 73 per cent of respondents
  • Respondents are concerned about their furry friends - 33 per cent were concerned for the safety of their own pets, due to other dangerous animals in the community
Capital Regional District of British Columbia
  • Only two per cent of Victorians feel they know a lot about pet legislation in their community - the lowest of all communities in the surve
  • One-third of Victorians (33 per cent) - the highest of all communities surveyed - have felt a dangerous animal has posed a personal threat to them, their family or their pets
  • Of those feeling threatened, 98 per cent named dogs as the aggressor
>>
About Ipsos Canada

Ipsos-Reid is Canada's leading marketing research and public affairs company in Canada, both in terms of size and reputation. It operates in seven cities and employs more than 300 researchers and support staff in Canada. It has the biggest network of telephone call centres, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels in Canada. Its Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, including the Ipsos Trend Report, the leading source of public opinion in the country. Ipsos-Reid is a member of the Ipsos Group, the second largest survey-based marketing research company in the world.

For copies of other news releases, please visit:
http://www.ipsos-reid.com/media/content/PRE_REL.cfm

About the Banff Summit for Urban Animal Strategies

The Banff Summit for Urban Animal Strategies (BSUAS) is a specialized conference of thought leaders from across North America who come together to consider strategies for improving animal care in the community. Delegates who are known for their contributions to Animal Control, Animal Welfare, Animal Wellness and Community Collaboration are invited by the event's selection committee. This year's Summit, which was held at the Banff Centre from Tuesday, October 16 to Thursday, October 18, focused on the theme of "Disruptive and Dangerous Animals in Our Communities."

Further information regarding the BSUAS can be found at www.bsuas.com.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted from September 7 to 21, 2007, of panelists living in the participating communities. A sample from the Canadian Household Panel was sent an e-mail invitation asking them to participate in the study. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/- 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population been polled. For individual communities, the margin of error would range from +/- 5.4 to +/- 7.6 per cent. The Canadian Household Panel is continually monitored and balanced against Statistics Canada demographics including gender, age and income to ensure it is representative of Canadian communities.

For further information:

For media inquiries, contact Charlene Lo, Optimum Public Relations - (416) 436-8651, charlene.lo@cossette.com or David Webb, Ipsos Canada - (519) 780-4704, David.Webb@Ipsos-Reid.com

Original link:
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2007/18/c5516.html

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October 10, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

As the clock clicked over to 12:00 AM, October 11, I found myself sitting in front of the TV, watching the final numbers roll in from the Ontario election. Probably the worst birthday present I've received in my life.
 

Liberals71 seats42.12% popular vote
PC26 seats31.55% popular vote
NDP10 seats16.95% popular vote
Green0 seats8.05% popular vote
Other0 seats1.34% popular vote

So, I sat in the living room, singing a song and hugging my dogs:
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday, dear pit bull (dog) owner
Happy Birthday to me.
I know it sounds like a pity party, but it really only lasted for half an hour. I'm more determined than ever to get rid of this government, succeed in court, and increase public awareness. I believe we're going to have to make significant strides in all three areas in order to be successful.

This is not just an Ontario fight, it's Canadian, it's North American, it's worldwide.

So, on with the fight.

In the words of Winston Churchill:
Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never —- in nothing, great or small, large or petty —- never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.

Read the rest of this article

VOTE TODAY

VOTE TODAY!


Today, YOU can make a difference.

YOU can change the lives of thousands of dog owners and save the lives of thousands of dogs in Ontario.

To do this, you MUST:



1. VOTE

If you don't vote, don't complain later about what you get. I hope that every dog owner in this province, not matter how tired, sick, busy, bored, or disillusioned, drags themselves to the voting booth.

To find out where to vote and who your candidates are, go to

http://faq.elections.on.ca/faq/performsearch.do?type1QuestionId=1



2. DON'T VOTE LIBERAL

Put simply, if the PC or NDP parties get in power, even in a minority government scenario, we will at least have a chance of overturning the Liberals' dog-killing, rights-trampling legislation.

If the Liberals get in power, then there will be no reversal of this law. In fact, there is a real possibility that it will get worse.


3. VOTE STRATEGICALLY

Vote for who is most likely to beat the Liberal candidate in your particular riding. I've received a number of complaints because I seem to be promoting one party over another. That is true. I am. But I'm not saying vote PC to everyone, everywhere. I'm saying vote for who can beat the Liberals where you are (see point #2). That's all.

I respect that it's a bit much to ask you to vote for a party to whom you may have been opposed your whole life. I know a lot of people who would never vote PC and a lot of others who would never vote NDP.

So, if you can't bring yourself to vote strategically, then at least go back to point #2.


4. ENCOURAGE EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO VOTE

Push people. You don't have to be over-polite at this point. Help them understand the importance of the above 3 points.

Questions like this:

You've known my dog and me for how many years?

And you've seen what we've gone through?

And the other dog owners you know who've experienced similar things?

You've seen how their lives have been changed?

Do you want us to continue to go through this, living in fear for our dogs' lives?

Do you care enough about us and our dogs to vote against the Liberals in this election?

Because I'll pretty well guarantee you that, if they win, we're moving out of this province.

That might wake them up.

I'll be up late tonight with fingers and toes crossed.

Hope it's a good day tomorrow. It's my birthday.

Steve

Read the rest of this article

October 09, 2007

AN "A TO Z" ELECTION TALE

Once upon a time, in a province called Ontario, a man named Dalton McGuinty wanted to become premier so badly that he made many promises. He said he would not raise taxes. He promised to close the dirty coal-burning plants. He would help autistic children, relieve gridlock problems and help immigrants have their qualifications recognized in Canada.
 
Here is the A to Z story of what happened when this man gained power.

A is for the autistic children.

Once elected McGuinty failed to provide the funding he had promised during his election campaign. If that wasn't enough, he then fought the parents in court. Twice. One member of parliament tried to find out how much public money was spent on the court case, but the Attorney General refused to say. He used public funds, but then said the public did not have the right to know how much the legal action cost.
B is for broken promises.
Fifty to be precise. Once in power McGuinty abandoned his list of promises, passing the blame off on the previous government. But there was a problem with his claim, because when he found a large surplus just before the next election he didn't use it to make good on any of his previous promises. No. McGuinty used the money to try to buy votes with new promises.
C is for the dirty coal plants that are still open.
McGuinty promised he would close coal-fired electricity plants by 2007. They are still burning, still polluting, while McGuinty pounds the campaign trail.
D is for the dogs that have been killed or sent to animal research.
The Attorney General said he would listen to the experts, but when every expert at the public hearings opposed the ban the Liberals pushed the law through. McGuinty and his party knew that passing the ban was going to hurt responsible dog owners and that it would result in the needless deaths of thousands of animals. They passed the law anyway.
E is for egotistical.
McGuinty broke promises, but expects voters to simply forgive him. He acts like the cat that's caught the canary, pleased with himself for getting away with his unacceptable behaviour.
F is for fear mongering.
How do you distract the public away from your long list of broken promises? Why not say you are going to ban things. Ban sushi, t-shirts, smoking in designated smoking rooms, dogs … the list goes on. Then if people are busy being afraid, maybe they won't notice what a bad job you're doing of governing.
G is for giving grants with no openness or accountability.
Under McGuinty's leadership the Liberals were sharply criticized by Ontario's Auditor General for the way they doled out over $32 million dollars in grants to multicultural organizations. The catch was that you had to know someone to get a chance to get funded, which left many organizations in the dark. The Ontario Cricket Association did well, however. They asked the province for $150,000 and got a clean $1 million dollar - 666% more than they'd asked for. So the OCA has $500,000 left over in an interest-earning GIC.
H is for the health tax hike.
McGuinty promised not to raise taxes, but almost as soon as he was elected he introduced a $2.8 billion dollar tax hike. When McGuinty found a $2.3 billion dollar surplus did he do the right thing and eliminate or at least start to phase out the hated tax? No. It was election time again, so he gave away our tax dollars in the hope that he would be re-elected.
I is for the immigrants who were betrayed.
McGuinty promised he would eliminate barriers to foreign trade professionals within one year. He also committed to see that qualified immigrants would be accepted by trades and professions within one year. These are just two more broken promises, with qualified immigrants left in low-paying jobs.
J is for the lack of justice in our province.
McGuinty's Attorney General appeared on television when a newspaper boy was bitten by an alleged "pit bull" and needed a few stitches. Yet when a young woman was gunned down, murdered, while shopping on Boxing Day where was the outrage or even just a public appearance from the same Attorney General? The McGuinty Liberals made one thing clear. Public safety was very important to them if it centred around an issue that makes people mad, like letting Karla Homolka free or banning dogs that have a bad rep. Too bad about all those other people who needed their attention, like the citizens who have been shot, stabbed or swarmed.
K is for not keeping his word.
McGuinty must have missed the lessons on honest, integrity and keeping your promises that most of us learned in Kindergarten.
L is for the lack of consultation.
Instead of working with concerned interest groups, McGuinty's government shut them out and simply pushed through legislation. It was his-way or the highway.
M is for the multicultural grants given to groups with strong Liberal ties.
One organization in Richmond Hill was too new to qualify for a grant under normal programs. There is no written record of a grant application, but somehow they got $200,000 to build a community centre. Since they don't have land yet that money now sits in the group's bank account. After getting the grant two board members moved on in their career. One became the local Liberal candidate while the other became the president of the local Liberal riding association.
N is for the 8,000 nurses McGuinty failed to hire, despite his election promise.
Just one more way that McGuinty has let our healthcare system down.
O is for Ontario, which has suffered under McGuinty's rule.
Once the most prosperous province in Canada, last year Ontario ranked 10th out of 10 for its economic growth and our unemployment rate has moved consistently above the national average.
P is for protecting the innocent.
The powers of the justice system have failed to work on one of the most important issues facing our province, the murder of our children on the streets and even in their schools. This issue didn't play well in sound bites, so while the media covered it extensively, action from the McGuinty Liberals was virtually non-existent.
Q is for the questions that were pushed aside during the 2007 election campaign.
Like a skilled politician, McGuinty put his career ahead of the issues during the 2007 election campaign. He used the issue of faith based funding to pre-empt important discussions about healthcare, taxes, education, poverty and the environment. For the record McGuinty is totally opposed to faith based funding, which he sees as divisive. Incidentally, McGuinty's children go to a Catholic school, Ontario's only publicly funded faith based school.
R is for not reducing auto insurance as promised.
McGuinty said he would reduce auto rates by 10% within 90 days of elected. Did he? Of course not. Chalk it up to yet one more broken promise.
S is for not spending every penny of the new health tax on healthcare.
McGuinty said that he would spend every penny of the new health tax on healthcare. What really happened is that health care dollars went into general revenues and McGuinty went on to cut healthcare services, starting with eye exams, chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy.
T is for the tolls on the 407 highway.
During the election McGuinty promised to roll back tolls on the 407 highway. This, of course, did not happen.
U is for failing to unclog emergency rooms.
McGuinty promised that he would unclog emergency rooms. He failed to deliver and people like Patricia Vepari have died as a result. In February 2005 the 21-year-old engineering student in Kitchener-Waterloo decided to go home after waiting in an emergency room for 8 hours. She then died at home of her infection.
V is for the victims of crime.
McGuinty said he would provide legal rights for the victims of crime, but his Attorney General was too busy banning sushi, t-shirts and dogs to pay attention to those truly in need. So another promise bit the dust.
W is for the whipped votes, another broken election promise.
McGuinty said he would allow non-cabinet MPPs to criticize and vote against government legislation. As it turns out there was too much to criticize, so votes were whipped and McGuinty broke yet another promise.
X is for excruciating.
Which is exactly what another four years of the McGuinty Liberals would be like.
Y is for "yesterday's man".
The people of Ontario bought McGuinty's song and dance once. With the issue of faith-based schools now open to a free vote, McGuinty should be none other than yesterday's man in the October 10th election.
Z is for zero.
That's exactly how many more chances McGuinty and his Liberals should get when voters go to the poll on October 10, 2007.
Courtesy of Julie King.

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October 03, 2007

That's not true. That's not true.

Dalton McGuinty completely ignores a terminally ill cancer patient at a hospital in Ottawa.




Click here if you can't see the video.

How about these instead?

"Dalton, you promised to close the coal plants"

  -- That's not true. That's not true.

"Dalton, you promised not to raise taxes"

  -- That's not true. That's not true.

"Dalton, you hoodwinked the public into believing they're safe from dog attacks"

  -- That's not true. That's not true.

"Dalton, you promised to allow MPP's to criticize and vote against government legislation"

  -- That's not true. That's not true.

"Dalton, you promised to hire 1,000 new police officers"

  -- That's not true. That's not true.

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October 02, 2007

Woo Hoo!

Not much leaves me speechless, but this story at CNN sure did.

Based on the history of cases like this in the U.S., I was not expecting a positive outcome for the dogs.

Most of Vick's dogs will go to families and a 'sanctuary'

Thanks to KC Dog Blog and Donna at Bad Rap for this info. Bad Rap had a lot to do with the evaluation process.

I've only been able to find one other newspaper that has mentioned this story, the Daily Press, a local Newport News newspaper. The town is called Newport News and is in Surry, where Vick was charged.

I'm really hoping that other media organizations besides CNN will cover this, but the story's over a day old, so maybe not. They're so quick to jump on the negative stories, but here's just about the most positive story you could find about the breed and there's virtually nothing out there.

Even the local newspaper's headlines were negative:

Judge orders Vick dog to be euthanized
Aggressive Vick dog may die

Both news organizations have clearly missed the point and it's becoming obvious that the rest don't care.

49 dogs, specifically bred and used for dog-fighting, have been evaluated for temperament with people, kids, and dogs. Only one of the 49 exhibited enough aggression that it was ordered destroyed.

Of the remaining 48, it seems that some were great and some were just OK. Some were probably happy and outgoing. Some, according to court documents, need further work to overcome their fear and lack of social skills.

Hey HSUS! Hey PETA! Hey Michael Bryant and Kory Nelson! Where are you now? Why aren't you in front of the cameras now?

Shouldn't you all be spouting your usual rhetoric?

Ticking timebombs. A breed apart. Inherently dangerous. Unpredictable. Unstable.

VICIOUS.

We tried to tell you. We showed you dogs with Canine Good Neighbour certificates, therapy dogs, obedience champions, search & rescue dogs, family pets. You didn't want to see (or hear).

We told you that an average of 86% of all "pit bulls" temperament-tested by the American Temperament Testing Society passed the tests, better than many "typical" family breeds.

Now, I'm not saying that every one of these 48 are going to turn out great or even survive the next round of tests and rehabilitation, but one thing they are NOT doing is lashing out with serious aggression, despite the abuse that they've suffered.

If you believed everything that Michael Bryant and his ilk tell you, they would be trying to kill everything they see simply because they're genetically programmed to do so.

If you believed everything that PETA and HSUS tell you, they would be reacting with extreme aggression and unpredictability because of the terrible things that have happened to them at the hands of Vick and his cohorts.

And yet, they're not!

Hold on! 48 out of 49. Isn't that 98%? I'm sorry. Did I hear that right?

NINETY-EIGHT PERCENT of these dogs are now being considered as possible candidates for adoption or law enforcement and have not yet shown any aggression significant enough to have them killed.

Yet these same dogs would be confiscated and killed if their new owners dared to step foot inside the province of Ontario.

By the way, you want to know why these dogs weren't destroyed? Because the "Humane" Society of the United States and the People for the "Ethical" Treatment of Animals weren't allowed to get their hands on this one.

God knows, they tried. But the ASPCA and Bad Rap and the U.S. Attorney's office can be thanked for saving these dogs' lives.

We all know, based on past similar events, what would have happened to these dogs had HSUS or PETA been asked for their "expert" opinion.

I also hope that anyone who donated money to either of these two organizations to help house and feed these dogs has asked for their money back. The dogs were housed and fed by the local Animal Shelter.

FYI, here are copies of the court documents, courtesy of the Daily Press.

District attorney's motion, not only for the destruction of the one dog, but more importantly, for the preservation of the other 48.

Judge's order for destruction of one dog

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Comments about Lucky the Lab

I posted an earlier article about Lucky the Labrador Retriever, whose destruction was requested by the city of Thornhill after he was identified as a "pit bull".

Well, over at Wag the Dog, where the same article was posted, some nasty comments here and here have been made by someone who says they're not a Liberal supporter and that they don't believe in breed-specific legislation.

They have a funny way of showing it!

They were immediately assured by Wag the Dog authors that, not only is this particular story verifiable, but all of the items posted on that blog have actually happened to real people with real dogs.

The daughter of Lucky's owner also posted her own comments on that same site. You can read them here.

I wonder if the comment-maker just decided to post something controversial so they could sit back and watch everyone freak out.

Probably.

Despite their idiocy, I really hope that Animal Control doesn't come knocking on their door. Now that would really cause a commotion, wouldn't it?

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October 01, 2007

If it looks like a "pit bull" . . .

A special story for those who have recently sent in comments questioning the accuracy and truthfulness of our supposed "scare-mongering" tactics about what life is like for many dog owners in Ontario.

This is a true, verifiable story (as have been all of my accounts) that was related to me by a first-hand directly-involved party.

The owner of a pit bull type dog, well known in a local Toronto park, was visiting the park. A buzz was going around the park that day because of a serious dog-on-dog attack that had occurred the day before.

The pit bull owner visited the park a couple of times that day and had at least a dozen people come up and say, "Did you hear about the pit bull attack? Did you hear?".

The pit bull owner happened to know the attacking dog which was (and is) an American Bulldog.

So, to each person who came running up saying "did you hear?", this owner repeated to them, "it was not a pit bull, it was an American Bulldog".

Finally, the owner of a Golden Retriever / Poodle mix turned to the owner and said, "For Ch...t's sake, would you stop defending your breed and admit that it will attack and injure other dogs!".

At which point, the GoldenDoodle owner was confronted by another dog owner who said, "I know which dog you're talking about and it was an American Bulldog".

The GoldenDoodle owner turned, looked at the pit bull owner, spat at that person's feet, and walked away.

This GoldenDoodle owner spewed hatred and venom at this dog owner for an incident that didn't involve that person, didn't involve their dogs, and didn't even involve their breed.

Lovely.

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