Bully for Cheri DiNovo!
I'll spare you the Michael Bryant jokes circulating in Ontario's pit bull-loving circles.
All I will say is, the former Liberal attorney-general who championed the misguided legislation that banned bully breeds from the province at least gets a court hearing to defend himself from charges of ''criminal negligence causing death'' and ''dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death'' in connection with his fatal run-in with cyclist Darcy Sheppard.
Any pit bull charged with killing a person just biting gets an immediate date with the needle.
Not that there has been more than one fatal mauling in recent memory.
At least not by a pit bull.
In fact, since Bryant's tragic legislation passed in 2005 -- against the advice of more than 45 experts, including humane societies, breeders and trainers -- there have been five reported fatal maulings in Canada, and only one involved a dog possibly with some pit bull type heritage.
Here are the stats. Roll back through the years. See which dogs are the most dangerous. It ain't pitties, despite their reputation and ubiquity.
Yeah, I'd be look at my Husky or German Shepherd right now, if I were you. Or my Chow. Or my Akita, a breed that, frankly, terrifies me -- but only because, of the three I have known, all were owned by idiots who didn't exercise them enough, didn't neuter them, kept them chained all day and/or had no idea how to train a dog.
Actually, I wouldn't be suspicious of ANY breed, despite the numbers. That's because ANY dog can be dangerous, even the much loved Golden Retriever.
Unfortunately for ''pit bulls'' -- and I use that term advisedly since there's no such breed -- they are the urban dog of choice, used by some as weapons because pitties are eager to please their masters, and are bred indiscriminately by morons who never neuter or properly care for them.They may be responsible for more bites -- but not because they are inherently dangerous but because there are more of them owned by idiots.
Idiots who don't follow the law anyway, and often use the dogs for fighting, which is illegal.
And by the way? Pit bulls are known not only for their strength and tenaciousness but also for their loveability. They are so eager to please that, even when they're owned by evil people who toss them into the ring for sport, even when the dogs are broken and bleeding, they turn to their masters and try to win their approval.
I know bunches of these dogs and I completely trust them, and their owners. Much more than I trust many other dogs on my street, or in the nearby park. (Actually it's their irresponsible owners that I don't trust.)
But the media never report on these other dogs, just the demonized pit bull.
If their poor dogs slip out the gate, they're as good as dead. They'll be seized and euthanized. No trial. No chance.
If a shelter takes in a vicious dog of another breed, it will work to rehabilitate that dog and make it adoptable. Pitties will be euthanized. No trial. No chance.
If a pit bites somebody, it will be euthanized. No trial. No chance. Not even if the dog was provoked.
Even if Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan (at right ) would come to Ontario with his star attraction, Daddy, the dog could also be seized and euthanized.
Humans have long demonized some animal or another. Whether we're talking wolves in the 18th century, or sharks since Jaws, or now it's coyotes, at least in Canada. As for dog breeds, in my youth, Dobermans were the dogs to fear.
It's always something.
Anyway, the reason for this post is to express my admiration for NDP MP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) who today introduced a private member's bill at Queen's Park to eliminate the breed specific parts of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, those sections prohibiting restricted pit bulls and providing for controls on pit bulls.
"It's the deed, not the breed," DiNovo told reporters.
Lawyer Clayton Ruby, who has argued unsuccessfully in court against the law, added: "The craziness is in thinking how you can judge a dog's dangerousness by how he looks."
Premier Dalton McGuinty disagreed, saying, "It's about public safety. We got the best advice we could, and put in place legislation which we think upholds public safety. "
Why did DiNovo do it?
''The time for the fear of pit bulls has come and gone,'' she told me.
Besides, she has an eight month old British bull terrier named Victoria, and she worries that her pup could be next on the dog gone list.
Showing up to support her today were some 60 pittie owners, some with their dogs, who are determined to get rid of this cruel legislation which has caused some very good people unspeakable heartbreak -- and has resulted in the needless death of so many dogs and even newborn puppies, many of them cherished pets.
Toronto pit bull owners fighting this legislation have a Facebook group, here. (The photo of DiNovo with her supporters is from the site.)
If you're a true dog lover, you will recognize the unfairness and stupidy of this law, and help them save their dogs.
Why can't Ontario?
Please help these people. Please help these dogs.
Support DiNovo. Write your MPP. Tell McGuinty he's barking up the wrong tree.
UP WITH BULLIES DATE: I just read my friend Laura's touching story. You should too.