Opinion Column

Time to ban pit bulls in B.C.

Bill Tieleman

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

Pit bull. (FILE PHOTO)

Pit bull. (FILE PHOTO)

"How do I go from a birth certificate to a death certificate? … Those dogs cannot be domesticated. They cannot." - Jeremiah Rutledge, father of two-year-old Beau, killed by family pit bull, 2013, Fulton County, Georgia

 

A 16-day-old baby is viciously attacked in her own Saanich home by the family dog, suffering serious lacerations requiring extensive plastic surgery.

A six-foot-five man weighing 250 pounds is mauled by two dogs outside a Langley store, requiring 19 stitches - after he said “Hi pups” to the pair tied to a mountain bike, which they dragged behind them to get at their target.

A miniature pinscher therapy dog is literally disemboweled in front of its shocked owner outside a Kitsilano post office by a sudden, unprovoked attack by another dog.

The common element? The attackers were all pit bulls.

Those three reported B.C. incidents happened in just the last two months.

In the United States, statistics show that 25 people were killed in pit bull attacks in 2013 alone, including 18 children - that’s 78% of all fatal dog-bite deaths, even though pit bulls make up just roughly 6% of all U.S. dogs.

The non-profit DogBites.org tracks fatal attacks and reports that between 2005 and 2013 pit bulls killed an astonishing 176 Americans - or one every 19 days - representing 62% of all dog bite deaths. Rottweilers, another fighting/guard dog, killed 33 in the same period, for a combined total of 74%.

The website chronicles each human death in horrifying, sourced stories.

It’s time British Columbia followed the lead of Ontario and Winnipeg to ban pit bull breeds here as well, for the safety of us all.

Ontario banned pit bulls in 2005: no breeding or importation; existing pit bulls must be neutered; and if in public they must be leashed and muzzled.

Toronto city statistics prove it works - pit bull bites are down 92%, from 168 reported bites in 2004 from 984 licensed dogs to just 13 bites in 2014 from 501 pit bulls.

B.C. should ban pit bulls too because continuing to whine about bad owners, not bad dogs and doing nothing didn’t save a baby, a man or a therapy dog from vicious pit bull attacks - only a ban will.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman  

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