November 16/04, TORONTO - The media's extensive and dramatic coverage on pit bulls has led to a move by the Ontario Government to ban pit bulls and any other large dogs that politicians believe should be added to the list. "There is no question that the media continues to be a powerful moving force for change. Nowhere is this more evident than the way in which reporters have helped shape government policy in the matter of pit bulls. In our view, only the media can help us now to set the Liberal Government straight about the facts and make them see reason," says Michael O'Sullivan, Executive Director of The Humane Society of Canada. The charity is also concerned that if the law passes, other provinces and even other countries will follow suit.
After trying without success to get the attention of politicians for years to prevent dog bites, O'Sullivan admits he is frustrated that Attorney General Bryant and his government are not listening to his charity, or any other animal experts for that matter, about the proposed new law.
"Banning one breed of dog is not going to solve the problem of dog bites. In our report, "Saving Lives: An Action Plan to Prevent Dog Bites" we have outlined a fifteen point action plan that places responsibility for a dog's actions on the people who care for and control the dog. We are willing to work with governments on these public policy initiatives in a sustained way that is also revenue neutral," says O'Sullivan.
The plan calls for street proofing children about how to approach dogs, mandatory spaying and neutering of pets to reduce aggression, requirements for training courses for dog owners, heavy jail terms and fines for dog fighters, and strict inspection and licensing requirements for all dog breeders, pet shops, guard dog companies and animal trainers.
"Bryant's Law also calls for a ban on any dog which politicians, and not animal experts, decide should be banned. And if he believes that people are going to sit still while he draws up a 'hit list' for their pets, then he is badly mistaken. Most of the six million dogs sharing our homes never bite anyone, and each day there are at least twelve million interactions taking place between people and dogs all across Canada. However, as recent events demonstrate, the safeguards and public policy initiatives now in place need to be strengthened in order to protect our communities, which include our dogs. We are a nation of animal lovers, with 6 out of every 10 households sharing their homes with a pet of some kind. And we also need to respect the concerns of those who choose not to live with pets," says O'Sullivan.
A father with two children and someone who has worked with animals all of his life, he believes that we can care for people and animals at the same time. "Preventing dog bites is a complex health care issue and we have the tools at our disposal to prevent many tragedies from ever taking place. We can also reduce health care costs, and animal care and control costs."
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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