March 02, 2005 - TORONTO - The Humane Society of Canada says the new law Bill 132 passed yesterday by the Ontario Government ignores the overwhelming evidence of experts that demonizing a handful of dog breeds will not reduce the overall number of dog bites.
The organization is also concerned about the provision in the law that without any public debate would allow the government to ban any other breed of dog which the government decided should no longer be kept as family members in our homes.
"The government squandered an opportunity to save the lives of people and dogs by ignoring a range of recommendations to prevent dog bites," according to Michael O'Sullivan, the charity's Executive Director.
"The Attorney General's arrogance has been most recently put on public display by his pronouncement that he would expect other provinces in Canada, states in the USA and Mexico to follow his lead and pass similar laws. Instead of turning this into a clash of wills, the Attorney General should have put his ego aside in the interests of public safety," said O'Sullivan.
"Our fifteen point action plan reflects recommendations that place 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," according to HSC Executive Director Michael 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. A copy of the fifteen point plan can be found here.
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."
"Most of the six million dogs sharing our homes never bite anyone, and each day there are a minimum of twelve million interactions taking place between people and dogs. 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," said O'Sullivan. "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."
The Humane Society of Canada does not support banning dogs referred to as "pit bulls" because they don't believe it will solve the problem of dog bites and even worse will offer up a false sense of security. According to a 1996 study conducted by the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Reporting Prevention Program (CHIRRP) German Shepherds followed by Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers and Golden Retrievers were the most common breeds involved in biting incidents.
"Failing to have a healthy respect and understanding for all dogs is like telling my daughter when she crosses the street that she can ignore the small cars and just watch out for the big trucks."
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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