This is why it's so important to maintain control of your dog, as in on a leash when in public and ensuring that fencing around your house is secure. Never let it run free in the neighborhood or other public areas; it's irresponsible no matter how sure you are that Poopsie would never harm a fly, and as was mentioned here last week here in Portland, Poopsie just may find herself on the receiving end of a bullet. Irresponsible dog "owners" are a hazard to others and in many cases, to their own dogs. And the latest example comes from Montreal, where starting in five days, ownership of certain kinds of dogs becomes illegal:
The city announced that the new rules, including the ban on new ownership of pit bull or pit bull-type dogs, will go into effect across all 19 Montreal boroughs starting Oct. 3.
This follows the mauling death of a 55 year-old Montreal woman about three months ago by a dog that was described as a pit bull. As noted here previously, there really is no such thing as a pit bull per se; they are bulldogs crossed with terriers, combining the strength and tenacity of the bulldog with the agility, speed, and hyperactivity of the terrier. Thus, their new ban attempts to define what, exactly, a pit bull actually is:
The new bylaw will apply to all 19 boroughs and will define pit bulls as:
- Staffordshire bull terriers.
- American pit bull terriers.
- American Staffordshire terriers.
- Any mix with these breeds.
- Any dog that presents characteristics of one of those breeds.
Those who now own a dog of those breeds and already live in Montreal will have to acquire a special permit in order to keep their pet by Dec. 31, 2016.
The American pit bull terrier is labeled "pit bull" primarily in order to distinguish it from the British Staffordshire terriers. Note the common denominator, however: all carry that manic terrier characteristic.
Although the Montreal ban is doubtless done with the best of intentions as a means of protecting the public from the sort of death so gruesomely suffered weeks ago by the woman, it has aroused indignation and protest in a number of quarters, and there are plans in the works to initiate a legal challenge to the ban. Everybody who has a Poopsie loves their Poopsie, so this act strikes far more emotionally than, say, having their car towed. Poopsie is a member of the family (albeit a potentially lethal one).
In my view, the ban will be next to impossible to enforce, due to the nebulous definition of "pit bull or pit bull-like" dogs.
It would be more effective for all dog owners to be required to be licensed after demonstrating that they possess the means and the ability to properly care for - and control - the dog. That sort of tool would also afford a means for pursuing damages against the owner, which would likely provide an impetus for the owner to secure the animal's quarters, leash-condition it, and so on.
However, if I were a Montreal resident with a dog of any kind - and especially one of the terrier mixes listed - it would behoove me to ensure that my dog is muzzle-conditioned as well.
As I see it, the problem is less with the breed of dog than with owners who lack any knowledge of behavior and conditioning.