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I’m a supporter for an international, non-profit dog attack victim’s group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks and supporting victims – National Pit Bull Victim Awareness (NPBVA). NPBVA speaks for more than 75 organizations and Facebook pages concerned with breed legislation and victims of pit bull attacks.
Thank you for keeping your citizens safe by banning pit bull-type dogs. In Canada, 265 cities and towns outside Ontario have breed-specific legislation that bans or restricts pit bull-type dogs, and defines them as dangerous, aggressive or vicious. [https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Canadian-Locations-with-Breed-Specific-Legislation.pdf] There are 1,160 U.S. cities and 50 countries with breed specific laws because pit bull type-dogs present an unreasonable and unjustifiable risk to health and public safety. [https://www.scribd.com/doc/56495216/Estimated-U-S-Cities-Counties-States-and-Military-Facilities-with-Breed-Specific-Pit-Bull-Laws]
The Ontario ban is a pro-active response to community safety. The purpose of breed specific legislation (BSL) bans is not to prevent “simple” bites, but rather to prevent maulings. Bites require band-aids or a few stitches; maulings require amputation, plastic surgery, and rehabilitation therapy.
The main issue with pit bull attacks is that they cause much more serious damage than most dogs. Pit bulls can be deemed dangerous or euthanized after an attack, but that doesn’t prevent their attacks in the first place. On average, 30 people are directly killed every year by pit bulls in Canada and the USA. Hundreds more people die of related causes such as falling downstairs to escape an attack, having a heart attack during the mauling, or being hit by a car escaping an attack, and thousands are hospitalized for emergency surgery. Reconstructive surgery with skin grafts often requires multiple procedures over a period of years. Please follow our Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/NationalPitBullVictimAwareness/] for daily reports of multiple pit bull attacks in the media, and read about the victims. The same data is pictured visually in our maps, which link to media reports of pit bull attacks and deaths. [https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/attacks/map-of-attacks-2019]
In the USA, pit bulls make up 7% of the dog population but inflict 72% of dog bite-related human fatalities. [https://blog.dogsbite.org/2019/05/2018-dog-bite-fatality-statistics-discussion.html] The temperament and behaviour of most dogs is heavily determined by their environment and their upbringing, but not in the case of pit bulls. Year after year, more than half of the approximately 30 people killed by pit bulls each year are killed by their own dogs. Many of these people loved and trained their dogs for years before they inexplicably attacked. The groups represented by NPBVA are made up of tens of thousands of victims, including former pit bull owners, whose lives have been changed forever by pit bull injuries and deaths. It is clearly not a matter of educating owners.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) notes most insurers don’t cover pit bulls because they can’t afford the actuarial risk. [https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/breaking-news/pit-bulls-and-rottweilers-scare-insurers-away-ibc-44324.aspx] This is not a good situation for victims, who must rely on policy makers to keep them safe.
It is hard to justify removing restrictions on pit bulls given the medical evidence. Thirty-four articles published in refereed medical journals conclude pit bulls pose the highest risk of biting, cause the most damage per bite, and the most deaths by dogs. Some studies examine thousands of cases. Compared to one study published by the AVMA journal 6 years ago, which relied entirely on articles dating back to the 1970s [https://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/dog_bite_risk_and_prevention_bgnd-1.pdf], ALL MEDICAL STUDIES in the past 6 years conclude pit bulls pose the highest risk of biting and cause the most damage per bite. [https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Articles-in-Refereed-Medical-Journals.pdf] Level 1 trauma center dog bite studies are reporting a higher prevalence of injuries from pit bulls than all other breeds of dogs, a higher severity of injury, and require a greater number of operative interventions. [https://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-studies-level-1-trauma-table-2011-2018.php]
Supporting breed specific legislation not only increases public safety but decreases pit bull breeding and the number of pit bulls being euthanized at shelters. BSL cuts down on the importation of potentially dangerous pit bulls across the border from American “No Kill” shelters, which are desperate to reduce their numbers. Repealing the ban would open 11 official Ontario border crossings to an influx of pit bulls from the overwhelmed shelters of Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
It is not an accident that your ban is being challenged. Politically active pit-bull promoters have been targeting Canadian towns and cities outside Ontario that have restrictions or bans on pit bulls. A CBC Fifth Estate segment by Mark Kelly examined the influence of the American pit bull lobby on Canada, yet few Canadian policy makers are aware that this is a coordinated and well-financed effort. [https://youtu.be/iFa8HOdegZA]
No other type of dog needs lawyers and million-dollar lobbies to protect them. No other breed-specific group claims their dogs can’t be recognized or identified by people outside their group. And no other group uses the tactics of the tobacco lobby to convince people their dogs are safe. There are more than 300 types of dogs that won’t attack people, even if they’ve been abused or neglected. These are all red flags that should make legislators question the intentions of special interest groups much more closely.
Your current legislation is well-written and comprehensive. For the sake of the victims and those to come, I ask you to oppose Bill 147 and retain your ban.
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