There is a special affinity shared between animal lovers. Those who have been touched by the unconditional love animals are willing to provide us with understand that the bond we share is significant. Animals are willing to give that unconditional love asking nothing in return. Many feel this model example of love through the bonds they share with their dogs.
On Oct. 3 a Montreal law will come into full effect that outlaws the new ownership of pitbulls. The law was proposed after a woman was fatally attacked. This controversial law will mean that as of Oct. 3, thousands of pit bulls in Montreal will be euthanized. As for the pre-existing pit owners, they will be asked to register their pets for a fee of $125, kept on a regulated short leash as well as required to muzzle their pets in public.
Upon hearing of this law I was completely devastated. The thought that thousands of dogs are going to be senselessly put down is shameful to say the least.
When looking at the law it left me thinking ‘What the hell does this even mean?’ The law is so vague that it leaves room for so many questions. The law states that not only pure bred pit bulls, but in fact any dog that has similar physical characteristics of a pitbull is up for euthanization. This means any dogs that have muscular bodies, broad faces and/or blocky jaws are subject to euthanasia.
This on going vilification of pitbulls needs to come to an end. More often than not, pit bulls are loyal, family oriented dogs that aim to please their owners. Maybe we should stop criminalizing an entire group of dogs and look at the real issues at hand here.
During an interview conducted with NPR, journalist Bronwen Dickey shed light on where the negative stereotypes may come from. In the 1980s, America was waging a rapid war on drugs. Dickey comments, “I think part of what the media did during the 1980s for various reasons was to link the pit bull, in particular, to the urban underclass and make it this proxy for the, quote, “drug dealer” or thug or gang member.” Pit Bulls should not be classified as inherently bad dogs. When it is more often than not the owners fault for their negligent treatment of their animal.
There was an article I read by Stanley Coren in the Canadian publication, The Globe and Mail that said it best. There are only 2-3 deaths per year in the entire country of Canada by dog bite. Now there are 55 deaths a year in the country attributed to bicycle injuries. The mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre has ignorantly responded to criticism of the ban by saying I was deeply shocked at the recent events involving dog attacks,” he added. “As a responsible administration, it was our duty to examine this issue closely and make the appropriate decisions. Coren, then posed the brilliant question that if this was really a matter of safety for the people of Montreal than why are bikes not outlawed?
I guess the counter argument would be that bicycles are good for the heart. But what about what animals do for the heart? According to the American Heart Association, “owning a pet is associated with greatly reducing your risk of heart disease.”
There is no other rationalization for this law other than that it was a knee jerk decision.
Another important thing to keep in mind is, “A survey of 26 Canadian municipalities showed that there was no difference in the rate of dog bites between those cities which had breed-specific legislation and those which did not” (The Globe and Mail).
These aren’t pieces of furniture we can just carelessly dispose of. This isn’t okay. This law is permitted the murder of thousands of dogs that have committed no wrong doings. These are living things capable of providing you with that special unconditional love.
Stop demonizing pits and understand this is unacceptable.
Ali Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at alexandraschultz@unr.