Sunday, November 10, 2013

Burnaby NewsLeader

To: The Burnaby NewsLeader

 On Monday, September 31, the Burnaby BC Council voted unanimously to approve changes to their animal control bylaws. The new law establishes increased fees and fines for infractions by vicious dogs, of which pit bulls are the only breed specified.

On the day before the Council vote the NewsLeader published an article which cast doubt on the proposed bylaw changes. We are writing to correct several misrepresentations in your article.

* * * * *
She [Mary-Catherine Kropinski] also questioned the report's use of statistics from the U.S.-based dog-bite victims group,, on pitbulls being responsible for a high number of fatal American dog attacks.
In the six day period from October 30 through November 4, 2013, there were three fatal pit bull attacks. There have been a total of 27 fatal dog attacks in the US and Canada during calendar year 2013; 24 of them have been committed by pit bulls.

Your article appears to question whether these attacks occurred, even though each attack is thoroughly documented. If Ms Kropinski dismisses the data on dogsbite she must explain how these deaths occurred; it is not enough to discount the data without proving how it is incorrect.

* * * * *
Rebeka Breder, a lawyer who specializes in animal law, said focusing on the breed does not ensure public safety.
Nothing can ensure public safety, so Ms Breder is technically correct in making that claim.

But regulating pit bulls does without question reduce the number of fatal and disfiguring pit bull attacks. In 1989 Miami-Dade county in Florida passed legislation restricting pit bulls, and remains the only county in Florida with Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Since that time Miami-Dade has experienced no fatal pit bull attacks, while 18 people have been killed by pit bulls elsewhere in Florida.

Statistics such as these are repeated across the country: where well-written BSL laws are enforced, the number of pit bull attacks causing death or grievous injury declines.1

Conversely, also in 1989 California passed a statewide law which prohibited municipalities in the state from passing BSL ordinances. Since that time the pit bull population has ballooned and there have been at least 38 fatal pit bull attacks in California.

* * * * *

These are documented cases, as is every fatal pit bull attack on Dogsbite and on Fatal Pit Bull Attacks. The NewsLeader has, without cause, attempted to cast doubt on these fatal attacks, and thereby slandered a responsible public safety and victim's advocacy organization.

Advocates of fighting breeds have long attempted to discredit the accurate reporting of fatal pit bull attacks. The attempt to suppress disagreeable news is reminiscent of attempts by political parties (and before them, fascist governments) to control the news.

Many animal advocates believe that pit bulls deserve the same protections we accord to other dogs. SRUV and millions of other committed animal advocates believe that human and animal victims are more deserving of protections than the type of dog responsible for 89% of the fatal dog attacks this year.

Well-intentioned animal advocates like Ms Kripinski and her dogsitter must realize where the danger lies. Perhaps when the death rate in Canada approaches that in the US, they will. But by that time it may be too late to do anything about it.

* * * * *

Pregnant cows attacked by pit bulls
   CBC News, October 14, 2013
Burnaby stands by pit bull 'vicious dog' bylaw, increases fines
   The Province, October 2, 2013
Council approves new pit bull fines
   Burnaby NewsLeader, October 2, 2013
Farwell pit bull victims shocked by lack of city action
   Revelstoke Times Review, October 1, 2013
Problem pit bulls are relocated
   Chilliwack Times, September 24, 2013
Pit bulls terrorizing neighborhood
   CBC News, September 16, 2013
Pit bull attacks raise call for tough restrictions
   Huffington Post B.C., September 13, 2013
Burnaby council looks at new rules and higher fees for owners of ‘vicious dogs’
   Global News, September 10, 2013
Dog trainer defends pit bulls after attacks on children
   CBC News (audio file), August 28, 2013
Two four-year-old children in B.C. have been mauled by pit bulls in the past week. Dog trainer Shelagh Begg says the media is to blame for the breed's bad reputation.
It's time to ban pit bulls in B.C.
   The Province, August 30, 2012
   Vancouver Courier, October 19, 2011

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here. This page may also include information from Dogsbite and Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Information on euthanasia rates is from Pit bulls and Political Recklessness, by Merritt Clifton. Shelter  intake and euthanasia rates are published annually in the July/August edition of Animal People.
Google News: Today's pit bull attacks