Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bailey the Pit Bull

In 2004, the Ontario government introduced legislation to ban ownership of pit bulls in the province. If passed, fines for dangerous dogs that bite or attack would double to $10,000 and allow for jail sentences of up to 6 months!

Individuals who already own pit bulls would have to muzzle and leash them while in public, AND they must be spayed or neutered. As a breed, pit bulls would essentially disappear.

To be honest, I didn't really have an opinion about the legislation. I hadn't given it much thought. I'd just never been exposed to any pit bulls. Of course, like everybody else, I'd read terrifying reports in the news. And these reports were terrifying. Nobody wants to read about a menacing dog chasing down and ripping apart someone else's pet dog or causing broken bones and disfigurement to a young child. Even worse were the reports that a dog in the midst of one of these attacks, could only be stopped by shooting them.

I admit it. I had a healthy fear of the dogs from the news reports alone. Unconsciously, I would skirt a wide path around any unmuzzled dog that looked like a pit bull. It was a very particular form of discrimination, but discrimination nonetheless. At the same time, when I saw a poor, muzzled pit bull, I felt sad. Somehow, it didn't feel fair to me, even if I did feel safer.

This past weekend, I met Bailey the Pit Bull. When my friend Emily had mentioned it earlier in the week, I had dismissed the flutterings of fear as inconsequential. But now, as I walked through the entrance of Lisa's house, I felt a wave of real fear. When Bailey jumped up on me and lunged for my face to lick it, terror washed over me momentarily. Bailey was a massive piece of muscle. There was no denying it. Would he chomp my face with his powerful jaws? Would he grab hold and not let go? I quelled the fear as best I could. This was Lisa's dog, and she would not put me in danger.

Over the course of that weekend, I fell in love with Bailey. He is the colour of Bailey's Irish Cream (hence the name), and has the sweetest, most loving chocolatey brown eyes I have ever seen. When we went outside to kick a ball around, there was nothing but innocence and joy in those eyes of his. When I laid on the bed, he curled up next me, resting his warm, furry head on my legs, and I was lost forever. It isn't fair that a dog like Bailey should have to be muzzled in public. He wouldn't hurt a fly. Like most dogs, he only wants to give and receive unconditional love.

It's true. I wasn't sure how I felt about the ban. Until now. I am totally against it. Without a doubt. There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.


hattigrace said...

I, too, was terrified by pit bulls until one of my friends had two that were just like Bailey. Sweet, loving dogs. . . they just happen to have the equipment to be more dangerous than other dogs that are badly trained by mean-spirited owners.

Again, why are we so soft on the criminal, making all sorts of excuses for them? If pet owners had stiff sentencing for their dogs wounding other people, maybe there would be fewer violent dogs?!

Have a great day!

EM said...

I absolutely and completely agree and I hate the fact that irresponsible owners have given entire breeds of dogs a bad rap. It makes me SOOOOOO MAD. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRARRRRRGH. Hard to police I know, but stiff sentencing, mandatory licensing and training classes for the owners, and even putting into place fines for non-registered breeding of large "aggressive" breeds...all these things would help.

As mom to a 100lb+ Rottweiler, I've been on the receiving end of so much ignorance, you would hardly believe it. The one thing I cannot stand are people who buy toy breeds or "friendly" breeds, and then think that they are absolved from training or responsibility because they have dogs that are inherently "good". What is that all about?

One of my experiences here -

I'm really you got to know Bailey Shellz. The people who lose out are those who are unwilling to have an open mind!

May said...

Awww he sounds really cute. ou have such a soft spot for little furry creatures!

Hmmm, was just wondering, does that same saying apply to kids as well....there are no bad kids, just bad parents??? just food for thought.

Furtheron said...

I agree with you. I've a friend who has a Staff Bull Terrier - most soft dog in the world. Another friend has a Bull Mastif and I know from personal experience as a guard dog the thing is useless. Both these owners though are people who care deeply about their pets and treat them with love and kindness.

dee said...

I totally agree with you shellz. it's about responsible dog ownership. the ban only multiplies this fear. a good friend of mine is a pit own and trainer ( and she's trying hard to fight the ban. her dog Jael is the sweetest girl b/c of her excellent training.

Sally said...

My sister owns a pit bull, and while he's protective of her, he's one of the sweetest dogs ever.

David said...

Exactly. It's like people too. True we've all got meanness in us, but we've got goodness too. And in most cases it's how you're raised and brought up that determines what kind of person you'll be. Of course, there are those that will defy their upbringing no matter what, but thats why we gotta keep on trying, instead of just giving up on them and having them run loose, terrifying all those around them, you know?

Shellz said...

Hattigrace: I agree that it's the pet owners that should be punished! Those poor dogs are at the mercy of their owners!

Em: I read your post about poor Roscoe - who is SUCH a cutie! People are just so ignorant sometimes. I'm glad you gave them a piece of your mind!

May: Yeah, I admit it. I'm a softie when it comes to the furries. And absolutely, I think there are no bad kids, only bad parents...AND no bad employees, only bad managers!

Furtheron:LOL "most soft dog..." for some reason, that sounds funny to me! perhaps it's cuz I hear it in a British how I read all of your comments. Heh Heh.

Dee: Yeah, the ban multiplies the fear. I wasn't scared of pit bulls, until I heard all this nonsense on the news and the radio. It's almost like I felt like I SHOULD be afraid or something...

Sally: Yeah, Bailey was really sweet too. I guess a pit bull would definitely be good protection too!

David: So true - it's the whole nature vs nurture thing again...and I mean really, if we applied this ban to humans, it would basically be genocide or ethnic cleansing. What gives us the right??