Good morning lovely readers.
I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re doing better than the dog lovers in Montreal.
For those who may not know, October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month and I was hoping to start the month off by sharing a few fun and easy ways to advocate for our pit bulls. On Tuesday, however, Montreal passed a ban against all ‘pit bulls’ and my heart – heavy with sadness, disappointment, and frustration – feels the urge to ask many questions but this one keeps popping up in my head: What Exactly is a Pit Bull, Anyway?
And why are these dogs being banned? And why does this specific legislation not allow the remaining pit bulls in local shelters to be adopted to areas that haven’t banned them? And, most importantly, why do the dogs who don’t have owners the day the legislation passed have to be euthanized?!
A death sentence for many, many dogs because they are simply considered a ‘pit bull’.
Which brings me back to my original question…
What exactly is a pit bull, anyway?
Is it the mean looking, blocky headed, solidly built dog that society has come to fear? A type of terrier that’s known for mauling anything in its way? Or an inherently dangerous dog that should be banned to keep communities safe?
Or is it a dog whose head is so big he must rest it on you at all times? A type of terrier who rolls around in the grass, giving you that upside down alligator smile? Or an inherently affectionate dog that can’t go a day without cuddling?
It’s funny that for as much as I advocate for this breed, pit bulls aren’t actually even a breed. The phrase ‘pit bull’ is really just an umbrella term that covers a broad range of dogs that look somewhat similar. And a lot of the time, these somewhat similarly looking dogs aren’t, in fact, pit bulls. The American Bulldog, Boxer, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, and Mastiffs are often misidentified as pits. That alone proves how unreliable, unfair, and incredibly dangerous breed specific legislation is.
Unfortunately, with a 37 to 23 vote in favor of the ban, the majority of Montreal legislators don’t agree. Even the mayor himself, Denis Coderre, told reporters, “I have a responsibility as the mayor of Montreal to protect the citizens.”
Again, leading me back to wonder what exactly a pit bull is in the first place. And do the legislators of Montreal even care to find out?
Because I know what one is.
And chances are if you’re reading this, you probably do too. And so do the millions of people who love or have once loved a pit bull. Just this week I started bringing Romeo to the bus stop to get Christian off the bus, and a grandma of one of Christian’s friends got to meet him. She was completely unsure of him the first day. She mentioned how scary he looks. How big his bark is. How he appears to be such a handful.
By day two, as Rome laid like a little frog in the grass, she couldn’t stop telling me what a good boy he was.
She got to know a pit bull.
The Truth Is…
Some pit bulls have attacked, yes. Some pit bulls have killed, yes. And yes, all the rehabilitation in the world may never save that one dog because they’re too far gone. These are all true. But this is not specific to one breed. This is especially not specific to any dog that has a big, blocky head and muscular build. Breed specific laws don’t address the root of the problems. They don’t penalize bad owners. They don’t promote healthy, happy, and responsible relationships with dogs.
They are based out of fear and ignorance. And sadly, many well-adjusted, happy, healthy dogs will lose their life because of it. BSL doesn’t work. I encourage you to look at some of the ways you can help below. As disappointing as this week has been, I am confident that if we rally together we can make a difference.
Ways You Can Help:
- Sign & share the petition against the city and Mayor of Montreal: SIGN PETITION HERE.
- The Dodo has a very informative article regarding the details of the ban, share on social media to spread awareness of what is really going on: THE DODO’S ARTICLE.
- Maybe you’re on the fence and think BSL isn’t so bad…read and continue to educate yourself (and others) by checking out StopBSL.org: WHAT EXACTLY IS BSL? And, WHY BSL DOESN’T WORK.
- Continue to share pictures and stories of your own pit bull or pit bulls you know
Please be their voice. They need us more than ever right now.