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November 2006 - Nr. 11


The Editor
At Lake Huron
German Gala 2006
German Pioneers Day 2006
An Evening in Vienna
KW & Beyond
SOS-Herwig Wandschneider
Bitzer Event 2006
Diaspora Conference
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
German Christmas Cookies
Heaven or Hell
TSO November Listings
Christmas at the TSO
Forte in Formal
Despite Kyoto Rift
Eggs Can Be Good
Schumacher's Farewell
Canadian Ski Areas
After the World Cup
FIFA U-20 World Cup
Canadian Holiday Stamps


by Dave McKague


My Dog Teaches
… about Pets, Lies and Videotapes

Hunny: "Throw the ball and I love you forever!"Freedom is a fragile thing. If we are not alert, we lose it. This doesn’t happen all at once, but piecemeal, bit by bit so that we barely notice. It sometimes takes a very personal experience to jar us into action to protect it. And so it is with me.

I had lived in England for several years until 1981. Last year, I returned for a few days to visit my son who is playing professional hockey there. And I had a rude awakening.

I brought a video camera with me to film some of his games. To my astonishment, I was prohibited from doing so. Not for property right or copyright reasons, but because of "child protection laws". Because there were people in the crowd who were under the age of 18, filming became illegal. (I learned later that parents are not even allowed to video their own child’s birthday party if it is held at a public venue.)

Here in Ontario, dog owners have had their freedoms seriously trampled upon with the Dog Owners’ Liability Act. Especially owners of "pit bull" type dogs such as my Staffordshire Terrier, Hunny. Simple freedom to play with our dogs. To find a bit of greenery in which to let our dogs run unhindered as nature intended. (And no, we have never had the freedom to let our dogs run uncontrolled and to harm people or other animals – that was already covered under existing laws.)

Based on lies and misinformation, the Attorney General Michael Bryant, rammed the "Pit Bull" legislation through despite the objections of every dog expert organization in the hearings. (To demonstrate the shallowness of his insight and the depth of his ignorance on the subject – Mr. Bryant actually identified the wrong dog when asked to pick out a Pit Bull from several photographs.)

In the last Petitorial, we looked at some of the distorted statistics that were used to justify this draconian law. Now we will look at some of the myths and false information broadly disseminated through the media and which made their way into the hearings.

Lie #1 – Locking Jaws: Pit Bulls are dogs, not alligators. Referring to studies that have been done on the subject, Dr. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia comments, "There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of ‘locking mechanism’ unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier."

Lie #2 – They are Aggressive Towards Humans: Generalities founded on fear and ignorance can be the most dangerous. While it is true that, over a hundred years ago, Pit Bulls were bred to fight other dogs, they were also bred to be very stable, loyal and reliable with people and children. Contrary to the common perception, because Pit Bulls are so friendly towards people they are known among dog experts to generally make rather poor guard dogs. (In my own case, when a stranger comes to the door, Hunny does not even bark, wags her tail excitedly and runs to get a ball to play with the new person.) It actually takes a considerable amount of brutal treatment to turn a Pit Bull into an aggressive animal.

Lie #3 – Pit Bulls are Unstable and Can’t be Trusted: One of the most pernicious myths promoted about Pit Bulls is that they can "snap" and go berserk at any time. (I could state that the Attorney General might "lose it" some day and no one could prove me wrong, being about a hypothetical future.) Vets and dog experts generally acknowledge stability and evenness of temper as among their best traits. Because they can take a considerable amount of rough play with equanimity, many dog experts consider these breeds excellent for families with children.

There is nothing wrong with sensible laws. But when governments fashion laws based on lies and false information, the individual loses and freedom diminishes. When completely innocent activities like filming your son’s hockey game or playing with your dog become illegal, freedom is in trouble. It’s not a healthy situation for the honest and responsible citizen to be continually looking over his shoulder wondering if "Big Brother" is watching his every innocuous move.



Previous "Petitorial" articles by David McKague:



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