Beware of Pitbulls, they will steal your heart

Beware of Pit bulls, they will steal your heart 500 pc jigsaw puzzle by Dean Russo

When one thinks about the pitbull bans that exist across states, provinces and countries one wonders why pit bulls are the target of such hate.  In cities where they decided to ban pitbulls dog bites actually increased in the 2 years following the pitbull ban: Eg Toronto, Ontario.  In more enlightened cities where populism did not have sway they chose to increase the responsibility of dog owners to train and control their dog, ignoring breed.  This is working and in these cities dog bites are down. Eg Calgary, Alberta.

Whilst I would not advocate for any breed specific ban I can think of a few breeds that are much higher on the bite scale than pitbulls so why ban pitballs?

I think at the end of the day it comes down to class.  Pitbulls are traditionally working class dogs.  Try banning German Shepherds, Dalmations, Cocker Spaniels or Jack Russels.  All these breeds are known to bite humans more than pitbulls but imagine the outcry and rightly so.  As the Toronto / Calgary example above shows breed specific bans do not work. Forcing pet owners to be responsible for their dog does work.

As a footnote: The character of the man and the timing of the bill that introduced the pit bull ban is relevant.  Cast your mind back to 2005 and an unpopular McGuinty government and Michael Bryant, Attorney General, with aspirations for Premier.

The Ontario breed specific ban on pitbulls was introduced by Bryant in 2005.  The self confessed drunk* needed to score quick and easy points to raise his profile.

He did in the end manage to get himself noticed with his involvement in the death of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard on a Toronto street.   The cyclist died after an altercation with Bryant and after traveling 30ft on Bryant's bonnet. Lawyer Bryant was able to get himself acquitted due to lack of evidence.  Some may conclude that justice is for the wealthy and the well connected.

I suppose I have to thank Michael Bryant because when pit bulls were banned back in 2005 and the humane societies overflowed with pit bulls on death row we went to get one.  They called him Malcolm and we renamed him Pancho Villa.  The cleverest, friendliest dog I ever met.  Believe me Pitbulls do steal your heart!  Old Pancho passed this year.

*28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy, and Hope by Michael Bryant

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