Saturday, January 5, 2008

Media skips covering dog attack because....

...the dog wasn't a mythical "pit bull". This is not the only incident where this has happened. I guess the media and politicians believe that victims of other types of dogs don't deserve the same compassion and coverage as victims of "pit bulls"...or do these attacks get ignored because they don't fulfill media and political agendas?

In the Niagara Region, over the Christmas holidays, a child was "viciously attacked" (as the media and politicians would say, if it were by a banned dog) by the Airedale terrier-type dog owned by acquaintances of the child's mother. Reportedly, the child was crawling away from an adult while playing; the dog came in through another doorway and grabbed the child by the face. The child lost half of his upper lip and part of the nostril, torn from inside the eye down to the chin.

The child was rushed to St. Catharines, then had to be transported to Niagara Falls because there was no pediatric surgeon on duty in St. Catharines. He will require at least one surgery on his lip so he might be able to drink properly.

The attacking dog has a history; it apparently attacked another family member's child at Christmas 2006. The bite was bad enough to require stitches. No media coverage then, either.

A reporter, employer unknown, went to the pound where the dog had been taken for euthanasia but no one has seen a word printed about this attack - probably because the dog wasn't a "pit bull".

And mainstream media wonders why average citizens don't trust it anymore.

Let's see what's wrong with this picture:
- dog has previous bite history
- no indication that the owner(s) worked with the dog, got in a trainer, anything responsible to try to prevent a repeat incident
- dog with previous bite history is allowed to roam loose in a house with a child
- owner responds to dog's issues by having dog killed

Child loses. Dog loses. Irresponsible owner gets off free and clear, free to get another dog and screw up again.

And the media ignores it.

Make animal cruelty a federal election issue

I'm absolutely sick. According to media reports, four teens broke into an Alberta home, put the owners' cat in a microwave and cooked it to death.

Personally, I'd like to see eye for an eye justice. Put those wastes of oxygen into a microwave and cook them to death. It could only improve the gene pool.

Write the Prime Minister, the Justice Minister and your federal MP to demand that Criminal Code penalties for animal cruelty immediately be increased.

Here are e-mail addys for the PM and Justice Minister - use @ instead of (at), the (at) is to fool bots that collect e-mail addys.


You can find your federal MP by your postal code through this link.

And to give you an idea for your letter, here's mine.

Dear Sirs:

It is past time to revise the Criminal Code to provide stiffer penalties for animal cruelty. To quote the Toronto Sun of January 5, 2008, the most recent publicized incident was by four teens who broke into an Alberta home, put a cat in a microwave and cooked it to death.

This is a stunning example of mindless cruelty, and the perpetrators must be harshly punished. To take a defenceless animal and cause it such pain leading to its death is inexcusable.

I strongly recommend that you immediately amend section 446 of the Criminal Code to provide automatic jail terms of not less than five years and a lifetime prohibition on ownership of animals for persons convicted of animal cruelty in any form.

This is, to me, an election issue and my vote in the next election will depend on what you do.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Twits in the U.K.

After reading this U.K. Telegraph article, I can only say that the Liberal Democrats in the U.K. embody the definition of insanity - repeating the same action and expecting different results.

These UK Fiberal Undemocrats sound like their namesakes, the Ontario Liberals, who trotted out their unfounded, unjust, vague and shoddy province-wide breed-specific legislation when their approval rating was extremely low, creating anxiety and pandering to the uninformed (including Liberal MPPs). This is the "look at me, Ma, I'm doing something!" syndrome.

It has been proven time and time again that breed-specific legislation does absolutely nothing to prevent dog bites and attacks. The only element that affects the dog bite rate is the responsibility of dog owners.

The flashpoint for this yelping seems to be the death of a toddler, described in this Telegraph article. I point out some statements in this article which lead me to believe that this toddler's tragic death was entirely preventable. The owners had the 2-1/2 year old dog for six months. Was it spayed, or was it in season? Despite their claims of socialization, the dog lived in the yard, and there are reports that the dog was territorial, rushing the fence. Was this dog at all socialized with humans, had it received any obedience training, was it a pet or a yard dog? The toddler was being carried by a seven year old girl. What was a seven-year-old doing carrying an infant? Knowing how children squirm, what was the dog's perception of the child? Was the child perceived as a toy, or food? Did the dog perceive the children as intruders on its territory? Each is quite possible. Why was a seven-year-old allowed to carry an infant out to interact with a dog? Why was this interaction not supervised by adults?

Yvette Van Veen, a noted Canadian dog behaviourist, trainer and award-winning writer, wrote a wonderful article about a mauling from the dog's point of view, available for about a week from today on the Londoner (which doesn't seem to archive articles). People have got to stop thinking that their dogs think as they do. A dog is a dog is a dog, thinks like a dog, and behaves like a dog. Until the uninformed and uncaring get this hammered through their thick skulls, dog bites and attacks will continue to happen.

The story of this child's death is the same sad story heard over and over again. Children left unsupervised to interact with a dog. Dog bites, child is injured or dies, dog dies. Politicians yelp. Media rub their hands with glee at increased profits from "if it bleeds, it leads" headlines. No one stops to think that common events are not reported as news. Remember the old saw, "Dog bites man is not news. Man bites dog is news." It proves how uncommon these tragic dog bite incidents are, to garner media coverage.

Karen Delise's excellent book on dog attacks, Fatal Dog Attacks (available at tells the true stories behind the statistics. Data is not truth.

The UK Liberal Democrats should do some research before opening their yaps and yelping. Their cries for further "breed bans" make them look uninformed and uncaring, playing with a tragedy for their own ends.

And UK dog owners had better open their eyes because when breeds start to fall to legislation, it's the domino theory, running until the last one falls.