After a petition supporting the removal of the breed specific language of the city’s bylaw was presented to the Burnaby, BC, Canada officials in 2012, the city decided to revisit the law. As a result, city staff recently issued an animal control bylaw report in that regard. Despite the wealth of information received that would support repeal, based on the report, city officials are recommending maintaining and strengthening the breed-specific provision in the bylaw.
If the city council agrees with the recommendations and votes “yes” at their September 9, 2013 meeting, pit bulls will remain listed as vicious dogs in the animal control bylaw.
The animal control bylaw report claims that “pit bulls” and German shepherds are the most frequently identified biting breeds from 2007 to the present.
German shepherds, however, will not be added to the city’s vicious dog category.
The report goes on to state:
From 2012, there was a 17 per cent increase in bites reported, from 69 to 81 cases. Since 2007, there have been 477 dog bites in Burnaby – but in only 50 per cent of the cases was it possible to identify the breed.
Of the 239 bites where breeds were identified, 59 (24.7 per cent) were committed by pit bulls. Of the total 447 reported bites, pit bulls were responsible for at least 12.4 per cent of the incidents.
In 2013, 30 per cent (10) of the biting incidents where the breed could be identified were committed by pit bulls, according to the report.
German shepherds ranked as the second highest breed with the number of bites since 2007. There were 35 cases where a breed was identified, and 7.3 per cent were by German shepherd.
It is well documented that visual identification of “pit bull-type” dogs is difficult and extremely subjective and varies upon the person(s) charged with said identification. It is also well documented that over 20 purebred breeds of dogs have the physical appearance and characteristics of “pit bulls.” When you add mixed breed dogs to the equation, visual identification of a “pit bull” becomes virtually impossible, which means the data collected in the animal control bylaw report can in no way be true and accurate.
And let us not forget the most compelling reason of all to pursue strong breed-neutral laws — experts have opined repeatedly that animal control laws that identify and target irresponsible and reckless owners who allow their dogs to behave in a dangerous manner prove to be substantially more successful at maintaining community safety than laws that deem dogs dangerous based on appearance (or perceived appearance, as is so often the case).
If you are in the Burnaby area, please make every effort to attend tomorrow’s council meeting to show your support for those who have been working for over a year to bring positive change to Burnaby. Meetings are held at City Hall and begin at 7:00 p.m
Those not in the area, please take a moment to send your polite and respectful opposition to breed specific legislation to city officials.
Burnaby City Council:
Acting City Clerk Maryann Manuel
4949 Canada Way
Burnaby BC V5G 1M2
City Council meetings can be watched live here. Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.
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