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EDITORIAL – ‘Ban the deed, not the breed’ approach isn’t good enough

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I WASN’T GOING TO jump into the pitbull debate because, well, I’ve written about these dogs for quite a few years now and attacks keep happening.

Many communities severely restrict pit bulls, some ban them outright. According to the website Ban Pit Bulls, there are more than 25 such communities in B.C.

Across the country, the number exceeds 200. There’s a reason so many places have serious concerns about pit bulls — just check out the stats.

Another Canadian website, National Pit Bull Victim Awareness, chronicles pitbull attacks and there are many. Adults, children, other dogs — no one is immune. Sometimes, they’re lucky; in other cases, people and dogs are severely mauled, disfigured or killed.

Which brings us to the death of a man in Kamloops from a pitbull attack. Police haven’t revealed much about this incident but we do know a man is dead.

And, another case has come to light in which a local couple’s border collie was recently attacked by a pit bull and badly injured. Google “pitbull attack” and you’ll find no shortage of recent incidents elsewhere.

But our local lawmakers continue to espouse the “ban the deed, not the breed” approach of groups like HugABull and Loveabull.

Whenever an attack happens, the excuses pour out. You know what I’m talking about — you can’t prove it was a pit bull without DNA, pit bulls are not a breed, the dog never did anything like that before, it’s the owners not the dog. And on it goes.

Undoubtedly, there are good owners and good pit bulls but the trouble with the “ban the deed, not the breed” rationale — including “aggressive” or “dangerous” dogs as defined under the Kamloops bylaw — is that once the deed is done it’s too late, with often tragic consequences.

Sorry to say, the only way to stop pit bull attacks is to ban the breed.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7768 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – ‘Ban the deed, not the breed’ approach isn’t good enough

  1. Will Williams // July 11, 2020 at 7:25 AM // Reply

    David. I cannot understand how you read so much into the comment. I think your statement, “I probably got that wrong, but thats seemed reasonable for the first take away” seems very accurate. You probably got it wrong is one thing most would agree on.

    • To quote Mr. Noakes own words as heard from Municipal folks;
      “you won’t see very many Dachshunds tagging along to the ponds in the fall to hunt ducks and geese. “Try as hard as you want, it isn’t bred into them and they’ll never make a good dog for hunting ducks.”
      … and yet the subject matter is Pitbull aggression.
      Not reading so much into it, as its obvious the point the person was making.

  2. John Noakes // July 9, 2020 at 6:01 AM // Reply

    Hi Mel,
    I had some “educational feedback” from a couple of our elected municipal folks about this topic.
    One pointed out the view of the corporation and that didn’t particularly interest me.

    In a reply this morning, I passed along some info which was given to me by a fellow who hunts waterfowl (ducks and geese).
    He said there is a reason you won’t see very many Dachshunds tagging along to the ponds in the fall to hunt ducks and geese. “Try as hard as you want, it isn’t bred into them and they’ll never make a good dog for hunting ducks.”
    Was he trying to make a point that there really is something to the notion that the breed of a dog has something to do with what characteristics it shows?

    • Your final generalised point regarding breed equalling the characteristics is absolutely fair, but your hunter using a Dachshund as a poor example for duck hunting is a bit over the top, and rhetorical in nature. At the other end of the characteristic = task line would suggest he is defending Pitbulls as being the most appropriate dog for duck hunting, and somehow as argument for not banning the breed.

      I probably got that wrong, but thats seemed reasonable for the first take away.

      If so, thats as rhetorical as saying you need a Mclaren F1 to drive the kid to school … ya, you’ll get there … but an SUV is all around more practical and less problematic. You dont want to parallel park a Mclaren in a school zone at 9am.

      The comeback to his angle would be to say that for duck hunting, a good old hound breed would be far better suited for hunting than a Pitbull, and certainly a more rounded and gentle breed for families and communities, with far less of an instinct for instant aggression.

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