The most aggressive breed, one study found, was the Dachshund. The researchers discovered that one in five have bit or attempted to bite a stranger, and one in twelve has lashed out at their owners. Chihuahuas were in second place, and Jack Russells were the third most aggressive breed. Up to 30 percent of these smaller breeds have bit or attempted to bite unfamiliar dogs.

Surprised? One of the study’s researchers thinks that bigger dogs were thought to be more aggressive because past research looked at bite statistics – but most bites are not reported. Bigger dogs have bigger bites, which makes it more likely that those, not Dachshund bites, are the ones being medically treated and therefore reported. This study, however, surveyed 6,000 dog owners instead.

The least aggressive breeds included Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Siberian Huskies and Greyhounds. Pit Bulls and Rottweilers scored about average to below average in the study.

Of course in Quebec we have sadly become anesthetised to the whittling down of our rights and freedoms. When did we give up? When did we decide it was okay?

Be it our language laws, burkas or  niqabs, or dog breeds, the central theme is the same, we are no longer permitted to do something that for decades, if not centuries, we did until that next law forbade us from doing so.

Instead of treating the issues at the root, politicians more often than not legislate only the end results.

Such is the case in this latest loss of a right by banning the “Pit bull” or pit bull mix, and this notwithstanding that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) does not solve the actual problem and does not really work.

When did you ever know Quebec to be a follower of Ontario? Yet our elected officials have chosen their legislation to copy – and this albeit the Ontario experience is a proved failure – not too bright. To prove my point, the banned breeds of Ontario are:

– American Pit Bull Terriers

– Staffordshire Bull Terriers

– American Bulldogs

– Any dog whose sire or dam is one of these breeds.

In Montreal, Pit Bulls will be defined as any of the above same breeds [although for the moment the American Bulldog is safe] and to this pack Mayor Denis Coderre has added:

– ANY DOG that presents characteristics of one of those banned breeds.

So basically, any dog can effectively be YOUR DOG, or as Mayor Coderre has slid in, a type of dog!

The result according to the SPCA will be that “adoptable, healthy and behaviourally sound puppies and dogs that come through the SPCA will be “condemned to death”, as stated by Alana Devine Director of Animal Advocacy at the SPCA.

MPP Cheri DiNovo in Ontario has pointed out that stats since the 2004 Ontario ban indicate that the ban “is a predictable failure” as any (large) dog could be dangerous, if mistreated or trained to be violent. I would add and so can smaller dogs, a topic addressed above already.

In fact, the top 4 breed biters in Toronto have been Labradors, Shitzus, Golden Retrievers [don’t even dream Mayor Coderre of coming after mine] and German Sheppards between 2004 and 2014. Oh yes Pit Bulls too but they fall behind the German Sheppards.

If we had to copy any system, it should be the one employed in Calgary where BSL was avoided while promoting education of dog owners and their children; combined with enforcement. Bites and dogs related issues have dropped dramatically there since the mid-80s.

But what about fatal dog attacks you ask?  Interestingly enough, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] tracks such stats, in the US at least, and there are studies based on media reports since 1887.  The CDC study in 2000 reported of the 227 fatal dog attacks studied for which data was available, between 1979 & 1998, less than 1%, or 2 people, died when the dog involved was restrained. Ergo, it’s not the breed, it’s the owners ultimately who need training.  Further, “reliable” verification of the “breed” of dog is only possible in 18% of incidents.

This may be but one of the legal loopholes by which owners can save their pets from being euthanized. If you are against this ban write to the Minister of Public Security, Martin Coiteux, since racism and pit bulls are apparently priorities for the Quebec Liberal Government this fall. After all, why bother with the important issues of finances and infrastructure when race and pit topics grab the headlines.

If it really was about public security, as Minister Coiteux hints, then address the issue of dog ownership which is where the responsibilities, negligence and blame actually lie.

Me. Hammerschmid has practiced Family Law since 1982; Senior Partner at Hammerschmid & Associates; founding & current member of Family Law Association of Quebec (past Secretary for 28 years). Inquiries treated confidentially: 514-846-1013 or hammerschmid@vif.com © 2016 Linda Hammerschmid 

Barbara Kay’s response to this article: A different point-of-view concerning the ban of dangerous dog breeds

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