Opinion Column

Will anyone ban pit bulls in B.C?

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

Pitbull dogs play with a rope during the Pitbull show on June 19, 2010 in Prague.  (MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Pitbull dogs play with a rope during the Pitbull show on June 19, 2010 in Prague. (MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

"Pit bulls and children are best kept apart.” - Dr. Michael Golinko, director of plastic surgery, Arkansas Children's Hospital

Pit bulls – the most dangerous dogs in the world – continue to kill and maim large numbers of both humans and animals here in British Columbia, but will anyone act to stop it?

In the United States last year there were 31 dog-related fatal attacks – and 71% of them – 22 deaths, including seven children aged nine or younger – were attributed to pit bulls. Even though they make up just 6% of the dog population.

And so far this year 2017 fatality reports compiled by advocacy group indicate 19 pit bull or mixed pit bull breed deaths.

Between 2005 and 2016 there have been 392 dog attack fatalities in the U.S., with 65% or 254 of them involving pit bulls.

It’s why October 28 is Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day in Canada and the U.S. because already in 2017, media have reported a stunning 620 pit bull attacks on people.

That’s why Ontario banned pit bulls in 2005 – and dramatically reduced attacks – while Winnipeg did in 1990, as did many other Canadian cities.

Montreal banned them after a woman was mauled to death in her own backyard last year, and Quebec introduced ban legislation.

Even U.S. military housing – with armed soldiers everywhere – bans pit bulls as too dangerous to allow them as pets.

But here in B.C.? Nothing for 16 years from the ex-B.C. Liberal government.

So to new B.C. New Democrat government, it’s time for action – before a child dies from a pit bull attack.

The need is great. In late August a pit bull seriously injured a Chilliwack woman and her dog – and despite its owner having a criminal record, as of September, the dog had still not been seized.

And in 2015 a Fort St. John man was severely injured by two pit bulls who invaded his home in an attack described as a “Texas chainsaw massacre” because of the blood and violence.

Such attacks are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

So if you worry about the danger of pit bulls to yourself, children or pets, tell your MLA to ban pit bulls in B.C. – it’s time our safety came first over the right to own a potentially deadly animal.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at billtieleman.blogspot.com. Twitter: @BillTieleman