National Post Pit Bull Slip up?

I really don’t like to get involved in the great pit bull debate, but there are times where I must step in and say something.

This morning, the National Post’s Barbara Kay posted an article addressing Ontario’s Pit Bull ban. (Bill 16)

This blog post isn’t going to address all the horse-poop quoted in the article, but the fact that when first published, the photo included atop was this:

“Two Pit Bulls. The province of Ontario has banned the breed, but lobbyists are trying to have it annulled.”

The photo has since been changed, but not before many commenters had pointed out that the dog pictured on the right, is in fact, a boxer.

This is the problem with breed bans; what actually constitutes a pit bull?

A pit bull as defined by Bill 16, The Dog Owners’ Liability Act,  is quoted as such:

“pit bull” includes,

(a) a pit bull terrier,

(b) a Staffordshire bull terrier,

(c) an American Staffordshire terrier,

(d) an American pit bull terrier,

(e) a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those of dogs referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d); (“pit-bull”)

So really, a ‘pitbull’ can be any breed of dog that looks ‘substantially similar’ to breeds (a) to (d).

There you have it.
If Mrs. Kay wants to describe the dog on the right as a pit bull, she has every right to. She obviously believed the dog looked ‘substantially similar’ to the Staffordshire Terrier sitting on the left; enough so to post the photo in an article without a second thought.

Therein lies the problem…

17 comments

    1. Yes.. boxers are common, along with Mastiffs, American Bulldogs, and Rottweiler mixes.
      Kyuss was mistaken for a Pit Bull once when he was a pup… long before his nose grew and gave him away.

    1. Yes. The law was a knee jerk reaction to the media’s portrayl of dog injuries.

      Tougher laws are needed that put the onus on the owners of dogs vs. the dogs themselves. Sadly, the provincial government elected in Ontario at the moment will not grow a pair and deal with the issue properly.

  1. I’m willing to weigh in on the pit bull issue because it’s about ignorance and prejudice. It could be Dobermans, it could be Rottweilers, it could be about any number of breeds, and it shouldn’t be.

    People need to be more responsible as dog owners, and non dog owners, especially law enforcement and law makers, need to learn just the TINIEST freaking bit about what dogs are about, in order to understand and assess potential (or not) dog bite situations.

    Media hysterics make people do things like lock their car doors when they’re at a traffic light and I walk past with my Doberman (true story). Media hysterics make people dive off the sidewalk when people walk a Doberman, or a “pit bull”, or a Big Black Dog, or a dog with a square head. Because of the media’s faulty focus on breeds rather than ownership and training, people are willing to let their smaller and/or “non dangerous” breeds act like misbegotten fiends, and they’re smug in their ownership, because THEY don’t have a dangerous dog. I do. Or that pit bull owner does.

    This isn’t to say that some dogs aren’t wired poorly, but pit bulls aren’t the only dogs with the potential to be dangerous. And that’s my problem with pit bull prejudice; I’m not going to swear up and down that they’re all cuddlebug angels, but I won’t say that about any breed. Dogs are dogs, and certain human behaviors and allowances make them better or worse behaved. Some genetic and environmental factors make them more stable, or less.

    1. That’s crap! Pits are dangerous and Rotti’s can be, in pairs. It’s the nature of the breed. Boxers are not dangerous! Sometimes it has something to do with the owners, but not always!

      1. Deanna, your ignorance amazes me.

        “Pits are dangerous and Rotti’s can be, in pairs.”

        So a Rottie is not dangerous if singleton? Boxers can be dangerous too. They’re a powerful breed as well.

        Deanna, ANY dog can be dangerous. Terriers were bred to kill. Does that mean we should ban terriers too?

        1. Disclaimer: This is just my opinion.

          Perhaps for the sake of brevity, Deanna generalized.

          Pit bulls were bred for dog aggression. That is a fact that cannot be denied, just as Jack Russell Terriers were bred to be aggressive to small animals and Labradors were bred to retrieve dead birds and so on and so forth. It is the inherent nature of the breed.

          And that inherent aggression within the pit bull breed is far more dangerous when it manifests than when a JRT, for example, displays aggression (although there is a story of a JRT mauling an infant.)

          That doesn’t mean ALL pit bulls are dangerous, but debilitating and fatal dog attacks are disproportionately attributed to pit bulls.

          A single Rottweiler can be very dangerous, however it is true that dogs in pairs and packs are more dangerous. Common sense.

          Breed specific legislation should be kept local, IMHO… Let specific, small communities decide how they want to word the laws and how they want to enforce them.

          1. Thanks for commenting! I agree that dogs are bred for a specific purpose and sometimes undoing their insticts isn’t easy. It can be done, but I’m sure your average Joe doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to do so.

            Here in Canada, fatal dog attacks have been recorded since the 60′s, and since then, the most common reported breed for the killings were “Husky”, “Sled Dog” or “Husky X.” There aren’t that many fatalities attributed to pit bulls here.

            Local BSL is a great idea, and already implimented where I live in Quebec. Pit bull type dogs are already deemed dangerous and must be registered, muzzled and leashed at all times (even in off-leash areas). This is in a province where pit bulls are legal. I don’t think it’s fair, but then that is my opinion and if I wanted to own a pit bull badly enough, I would move to a local where the rules were not as strict.

            If breeders of the usual ‘pit bull’ breeds started selecting for a softer temperament, it wouldn’t be long before we had a breed where the majority of it’s individuals were “laid-back” so to speak. This happened with the Doberman; since the 70′s temperament has been a big deciding factor in breeding in North American lines. Due to this, the Doberman of now, is a much better, more even tempered dog vs. 40 years ago.

  2. I second Jen; a woman once scurried off the street when and I’m quoting “there’s a big ass black dog {Justus on leash well controlled} coming at me!” on her phone. We politely smiled, wished her a good day and walked on.

    1. People are strange! People often cross the street when I’m walking Kyuss… if only they knew how sweet he was. I’m sure most pit bull owners feel the same.

  3. Pit bull bans are ineffective. Any breed of dog can be dangerous. It’s all about responsible ownership.

    Actually, a lot of Labrador owners, especially the show-bred Labs with the really broad heads, have trouble in areas where there are pit bull bans. Because, you know, Labs look exactly like pit bulls. If it’s got a big head, it’s got to be a bully!

      1. You’d have to tell that to the media Deanna, as often times the media will portray a labrador mix as a pit bull.

  4. I honestly feel that breed specific legislation should be prohibited. A puppy turning out to be vicious isn’t according to the breed of dog, but on who brought up the puppy, as well as for what purpose.

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