Megan’s Musings: The BS of BSL

mya

They did it. Montreal passed the pitbull ban today. I knew this was likely going to be the outcome but I still had this lingering optimism that we know better by now and this would not pass. It has been proven that Ontario’s breed ban did not work and experts in the industry denounce breed specific legislation (bsl). Yet they still passed the ban on pitbulls (or any dog that resembles them) and added some ridiculous and scary items to their dog bylaws. I read it and my heart sank. And then I was overcome with emotions. I felt anger and a desire to get out and change things, but ultimately just a deep sadness.

dmDuke & Mya

I am sad because I share my home with two beautiful, sweet and loving pitbulls and another Canadian city has passed BSL which threatens the safety of my dogs in the future. I am sad because I really thought we were smarter than this and made more educated decisions. I am sad because every time we have a knee-jerk reaction and make decisions based in fear, it causes severe and negative consequences for our future. And I am utterly heartbroken for all of the dogs and people in Montreal that will be impacted by these horrific laws.

bsl-bylawThe details of the laws passed today

Fear Brought Us Here
This was triggered when a woman was killed by a pitbull type dog in Montreal. We still do not know the exact breed of the dog and we know nothing about its upbringing or how it was trained/handled. We do know it had previous incidents of aggression. It has only been 3 months since this tragic incident occurred, so to say this is a knee-jerk reaction is an understatement.

rainDuke The Unlikely Pitbull

Fear is what has brought us to this decision. We continue to perpetuate this fear of pitbulls and it is rampant in society, even amongst dog loving people. I see it all the time when we are out with our pitbull, Duke. He is a big boy, but he is a happy, goofy and affectionate dog who loves all that he meets. Still, it is not uncommon for people to shy away from him and move to avoid him. We use him for classes and helping dog-reactive dogs at dogma and people often react out of fear and are nervous of him at first. I don’t even mention his breed now when I introduce him before I bring him in, but people are still unsure of him when they first meet him. Our neighbour even called bylaw for a bogus claim the same day she learned we had pitbulls. People are frightened of them and we know that fear does not produce logical responses.

The BS Part
Why is it bs? Because it does not work! It is bs because extreme knee-jerk reactions that promote fear and hate never work. They do the opposite. They make it worse. I am not going to go into all the reasons why it does not work. Instead, I direct you to this informative page that outlines why it doesn’t work, provides some educated and intelligent solutions and has links to some excellent resources. You can even take action and sign the petition and share your thoughts to the politicians responsible for this. Please take the time to do this. If what happened in Montreal angers or saddens you, you must speak out. The lives of many dogs depend on it.

bsl-mapWhere BSL exists in Canada

How We Respond
I have been all over social media, news sites and anti- and pro- pitbull ban groups today to learn more on the ban and how we are responding. People are outraged and devastated. But what stood out to me the most is all the hate. On both sides. Name calling, insulting intelligence and more. I understand why people are upset. I get it. I was emotional when I heard the news and I understand the impact this will have. I do not think this was an educated decision and it should never have passed. However, spewing hate, assuming all who support the ban are idiots or threatening violence is not the answer. Isn’t that the exact same behaviour/emotional response that led to this ban being passed? I’m not going to lecture, but stop it. We need to be logical. We need to find solutions. And we need to take proactive action.

The problem is that today I do not know what that action is to reverse this decision or prevent it from happening any more than it is. I am sad. This has affected the reputation of pitbulls. The damage is done. This does not mean we cannot change it, but it is a sad day for dogs in Canada. BSL is happening more and more and we need to stop it. We must do better for our dogs.

I have much more to say about BSL and pitbulls, so will be doing a series of posts over the next few days. But tonight, I am going to go and snuggle up with my dogs. I am going to be grateful that Duke and Mya are with us in Alberta. Hug your dogs tonight. Spend time with them and think of what our poor friends in Montreal must be feeling while holding their dogs close tonight.

upper-lake-2Sharing a moment with Dad
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