April 6, 2008

On the good, the beautiful, the true, and the knuckle-draggers who wouldn't recognize rational, ethical behavior if it slapped them upside the head

"What are you?" Photo from Today's Arthur.

So I needed a photo to illustrate the boundless, staggering ignorance that is BSL [breed specific legislation], and specifically the obscenely boundless, staggering, Orwellian idiocy that is BSL in Ontario, Canada; and sure enough, Google Images turned up a perfect photo — the one above. More about the source of that photo in a minute.

Is the dog in that photo a pit bull? Of course he'd be a pit bull if he'd bitten someone and the media picked up the story, but what if he were a friendly, tail-waggin', obedient stray? Would he be a pit bull then — or a lab mix, or a Heinz 57?

"Perhaps a more scientific approach is warranted: say, reading tea leaves, flipping a coin or spelling out the breed name using a ouija board."

The question takes on a certain urgency in Ontario, Canada, where the answer determines whether the dog can be put up for adoption. Excellent behavior and flawless temperament be damned: if the answer is "pit bull," the dog must be killed.

Where is Oprah when you really need her?

Blogger John Stewart of the Mississauga News holds idiocy's feet to the fire:
[Ward 6 Councillor Carolyn] Parrish is incensed by a part of the [animal control shelter] policy which outlines what will happen in cases where stray dogs are picked up and there is doubt in the minds of officials about whether or not it is a pit bull.
That procedure calls for a "pit bull identification voting card" to be posted on the kennel of the dog in question.
"All full-time officers and full-time shelter cleaner are eligible to vote. Each staff member is allotted one vote per animal. Once the allotted time has expired, the voting card shall be removed and brought to the animal services manager for a tally of the votes. Should a tie occur, the animal services manager shall have the final and deciding vote.
"If the dog is found NOT to be a pit bull, the dog may be moved up to the adoption room as long as it has met or exceeded all other adoption criteria as specified under the shelter's screening process. This shall include, but is not limited to, the dog's temperament, health condition and age.
If the dog is found to be a pit bull, the dog shall be euthanized in a reasonable time frame."
An incredulous Parris says, "a dog's fate is decided by who walks through the room during the days that they are voting and whether they vote yes or no. The caretaker can be the deciding vote. And our manager only gets to vote to break a tie."
Never mind the details of the vote procedure.
The bigger problem here is the absolute inanity of a law that is based on something as flimsy as someone's personal opinion on whether an animal has "substantially similar" characteristics to a pit bull.
What we have here is a reverse beauty pageant with death as the door prize for any perceived loser.
File under "Evil: banality of." Read all of Stewart's excellent post here, and check out the comments, including this gem by LauraG:
Perhaps a more scientific approach is warranted: say, reading tea leaves, flipping a coin or spelling out the breed name using a ouija board.

None of these is any more ridiculous than the current "methodology". It would be laughable if it weren't such a tragedy for the dogs and the people who love them.


Now for the good, the beautiful and the true. First, I've added a section of links [in the right sidebar] to some most excellent border collie blogs. The writer/photographers are good, smart, talented people with smart, talented dogs and [in many cases] livestock, which may or may not be smart and talented but is invariably well cared for. I'm so happy these folks are blogging and so happy I've discovered their blogs I could just plotz. Most of these bloggers are also regular posters on the Border Collie Boards, as I am when I'm not bloggin' bloggin' bloggin'.

The photo up above was discovered on a site-featuring-rescue-dogs masquerading as a terrific blog: Today's Arthur. The blogger loves pibbles, loves photography, loves collie/spaniel mix Arthur, of course, and comes up with stuff like this. And this. What's not to love? [Besides the end of spring break, but that's another post.]

Oprah, where are yooooooo...?

Edited to add: Slaps self upside head for neglecting to thank the wonderful Caveat for the John Stewart link.


Anonymous said...

I'm voting Heinz 57 on this one. He looks a lot like Nikko -- a dog we're fostering after it was confiscated by Kansas City, KS Animal Control for being a pit bull, hung out at the KCKAC Concentration Camp for 9 months during all the legal hubbub until the DNA test results came back (paid for by the owner). Yip, Heinz 57. No more than 1/12 anything -- and one of the more dominant breeds was Miniature Schnauzer.

Nikko's pics are here:


This whole thing is just ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Two ways to resolve this:
1. Require the owners - at their own expense - have a veterinarin certify that the individual dog has no Pit Bull blood lineage;
2. Advise the homeowner to produce documents showing that they and/or their tenants (if renters) are specifically covered with homeowners' insurance in an appropriate amount for all damages caused by the animal.
.... When in doubt, knock them out!.....unclecj

Unknown said...

I just wanted to thank you for your comments on my blog (which comes nowhere close to yours for readability). I love checking out what you have to say on such a wide variety of topics!

As for the wannabe in the photo, I would have called him a lab (oops! accidentally wrote "lamb" at first) mix.

Keep up th egreat work!


No BSL said...

That`s funny Brent.
I thought Nikko also when I first saw the picture.
In Ontario this dog would be Legal but restricted if born before the cut off date of Nov 27/05.
If born on Nov 28/05 or later this would be an illegal/prohibited dog with a death sentence hanging over it`s head.
Our Gov`t won`t even tell you if your dog is "SS" before it`s picked up.
As a joke(or so I thought),I requested a designation on my Lab look a like named "Up Yours Dalton".
Her friends call her Tupper.
The Provincial Gov`t downloaded this crapola to the Municipality
to enforce or not.
I put my request in writing,took her in for a picture and asked them to indicate whether she was "SS" or not "SS" to the 3 banned breeds.
I gave them a deadline to put it in writing because they had been ignoring my verbal requests.
On "Call my lawyer" Day,I phoned and asked if my letter from the Township was ready.
Yes it was.
I could pick it up.
In I went,fully expecting that this designation would be fairly easy.
I almost hit the floor when I opened the letter.
My township does not know if this dog is a "pit bull" or "SS" and they aren`t prepared to guess.
So there you have it.
Some townships are picking up anything that isn`t a cat and killing it and my township doesn`t wish to guess at my LabX.
I did indicate last Fall(when I officially changed her name) that I had heard a rumor that her maternal grandmother`s first cousin might have been a "Pit Bull" whatever that is.
That might have thrown them.
Ontario is absolutely insane.
I don`t think the Ontario Gov`t wants to take on an owner with a dog named "Up Yours Dalton".
That may be the answer.
Move to my Township with your "Pit Bulls" and name them after members of the Fiberal party.
The letter from my Township declining to designate is 1/2 way down this page.

No BSL said...

[quote]1. Require the owners - at their own expense - have a veterinarin certify that the individual dog has no Pit Bull blood lineage;[/quote]

Ah Anonymous
Please read this testimony by the OVMA prior to this law being passed into law in Ontario


Here`s a snippet

[quote]First, difficulties associated with breed identification will make a breed-based ban very difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. There are many breeds and crossbreeds that resemble the potential banned breeds, and municipal law enforcement officers do not generally have sufficient training to determine if a dog is in fact a banned breed. Even if they have that training, they will lack the scientific means for determining a dog's breed that can withstand the rigours of a legal challenge. I think Mr. Bryant has proved that conclusively.[/quote]

If you want to see that video.I have it.
Contact my blog,I`ll send it to you.
I was warned...advised to remove it from my blog due to copyright but it`s available for home viewing.
The Architect of Bill 132 was unable to pick out one of the 3 banned breeds from 24 other Pure Breed dogs.

This ban is based on shape.
Even other unnamed Pure Bred dogs can be picked up under "SS".
They are not exempt from the "Pit Bull" ban.
They don`t have to have the blood of those 3 banned Pure Breeds.

Anonymous said...

Hey Luisa, thanks for the kind words.

Hey Anonymous (as usual), there's a wee problem with your suggestions.

1. It's not about breed, it's about looks. It doesn't matter what breed the dog is - if some goon thinks he's a 'pit bull', then the owner gets put through the Inquisition - reverse onus and everything.

Veterinarians are not trained or qualified to judge the breed of a mongrel - and no one else is, either. The DNA tests are nothing but snake oil because all dogs are basically the same with a few fillips here and there.

2. We already had a law on the books to cover damage, etc, by dogs. Owners are responsible for property damage and anything else their dogs might do. What was added is not only superfluous but, as Luisa says, pure evil. Theatre for the cheap seats.

Most people up here already have liability insurance for their houses, cars, etc. I know the insurance industry is dancing in the streets over their new line of business but it hasn't caught on up here yet. Which is a good thing because it's a total ripoff.

Repeat after me: Dogs are the safest animals around. Dogs are the safest animals around. Safer than cows. Safer than deer. Much, much, much safer than humans.

Anonymous said...

Hey Luisa,

Here are a couple more regularly updated working border collie blogs that I like:



Thanks for your great blog!

Anonymous said...