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Letter to The Editor: The Pit Bull Ban

Thursday, September 2, 2004

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Written by Derek Parsons

This letter was originally sent to Ontario Attorney-General, Mike Bryant

Dear Mike:

While I appreciate that you are simply attempting to protect citizens from
harm by improperly trained and ill kept American Pit Bull Terriers, a ban
will not solve the problem. I am as disgusted and appalled at what happened
to that gentleman from Toronto who was mauled by two Pit Bulls he was caring
for, and concur that their destruction was inevitable, yet, I propose that
the real party to blame is the owner. Had those two dogs been trained
properly, and cared for positively, this incident would not have happened.
From various reports I've read these two dogs had shown aggression before,
and were not well trained, therefore, not well cared for.

I own an American Staffordshire Terrier, a breed along with the
Staffordshire Bull Terrier, that is often classed as a Pit Bull type dog.
She is a well trained, and an obedient dog. I have never had one issue with
her, and she plays freely with other dogs when in designated off - leash
areas. This stems for the effort and time I put forth in training and
working with her, which is continuous. She has lots of energy and is very
tenacious in postive ways. We are an ideal match, as I am always outdoors
hiking and exploring various trails, one of our favourite passtimes. Other
breeds I have owned do not have the strength or stamina to keep up with some
of my treks, while, on the other hand, I have to struggle to keep up with my
Staffy.

It is important to note that there is a breed named the American Pitbull
Terrerier. The Pit Bull type breeds, although not pure bred, were initially
created for 'pit' fights with other dogs. While I detest dog fighting
(fighing of any kind for that matter), biting humans was a quality that was
not accepted by Dogmen of the time. Infact, dogs the bit humans were put
down, as the handler needed to be able to 'handle' the dog in a fight. When
Britain banned dog fighting the Pitbull Breed was used to work on farms, and
sports such as weight pulling. The breed is very easy to train, loves to
learn, and is always willing to please their owner. The are very
affectionate, and thrive off companionship. In the hands of a responsible
owner who takes the time to train and exersice the dog, Pitbulls are as
friendly as a kitten; conversly, in the hands of an irresponsible owner
Pitbulls can be very dangerous. However, by banning Pit Bulls these
irresponsible 'masochists' will simply move to another breed such as Presa
Canarios, Rottweilers, Boxers, or German Shepards. Perhaps, even
Doberman's, the 'devil' dog of the early 1980's that every 'tough guy'
owned, and some Politicians wanted to ban.

I'm sure you all will aware that in temperment testing Pit Bulls rank as one
of the best breeds with a average 83% pass ratio which is higher that many
other breeds including Labrador Retreivers. Also, in Dog Bite statistics by
breed in the US, Pit Bulls rank in the lower percentile as one of the least
likely dogs to be bitten by.

Being a responsible owner, it is important I provide postive feedback in
regards to this breed. Certainly, enough myth and negative feedback already
exsist. They are not all, "...four legged, 'dangreous weapons.'" The real
'dangerous weapon' is the owner, and if they didn't have access to a Pit
Bull, they would have used another breed to meet their warped values.

I would like to suggest that rather than something as drastic as a ban,
perhaps a special license should be obtained for owning this breed.
Breeders of Pit Bulls should also be licensed, as part of the problem
disgracing the animal is bedroom breeders. Owners of this breed, and even
perhaps other 'dangerous' (I aruge it's the owner who is dangerous not the
dog) breeds should have to go to mandatory obedient classes. Enforcement of
this would not be easy, as is such with most licensing issues. However,
with persitence and education it could be instrumental in decreasing the
number of 'shady' types who own these noble dogs for not so noble reasons.

Nothing would make me happier than to see that Pit Bulls, and like breeds,
are kept out of the hands of irresponsible owners who get the dog to satisfy
their machismo.

Your time considering this situation objectively is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Derek Parsons
Toronto, ON

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