Thursday, August 28, 2008

Maybe some hope for these dogs

Surrey North Delta Leader
Reprieve for seized pit bullsBy Ryan Starr - Surrey North Delta LeaderPublished: August 28, 2008 12:00 PM Updated: August 28, 2008 2:41 PM

The last-minute intervention of a dog lovers’ group has ensured that a pack of embattled pit bulls won’t be destroyed – at least, not yet.
The pit bulls were seized in Vancouver earlier this month and are suspected to have been involved in a host of vicious attacks across the province over the past year.
The Surrey SPCA and City of Surrey – which had sought to destroy the animals – have agreed to allow an independent assessment to determine whether the dogs can be rehabilitated.

The matter was before Surrey Provincial Court Thursday with lawyer Kirk Tousaw representing a group of dog advocates who are seeking the assessment and offering to pay for it. He filed an application for an intervention on behalf of his client, Lauren Phillips, a concerned citizen who felt a destruction order was “wildly premature.”
“What we asked for today was an adjournment so there was some time to determine whether these dogs in fact pose a danger to the public or whether they could be rehabilitated,” Tousaw said outside the courtroom.

“Our hope is we can get an expert in and take a look at the dogs, see if they can be rehabilitated and if so place them in good homes so they don’t have to be killed.”
Four pit bulls were found in a van that Vancouver Police pulled over Aug. 11, a day after a Surrey man and his dog were attacked by a pack of five pit bulls whose owner fled with them afterward.

Vancouver Animal Control seized three adult pit bulls and one puppy from the van and subsequently transferred them to the Surrey SPCA where they were impounded. The city’s animal control officer Phil Greene subsequently requested the destruction of the dogs, alleging they were involved in eight attacks in the past year, six of which were said to have occurred in Surrey.

Greene alleges the four seized pit bulls are owned by Hal Douglas Harris, who was driving the van the VPD pulled over. According to Tousaw, one of the dogs is pregnant and may already have had puppies while in SPCA custody.
Two other dogs are puppies, he said, and the remaining pit bull – which Tousaw characterized as the “most vicious” of the bunch – has already been put down, with the consent of Harris and the City of Surrey.

Harris was in court Thursday, saying little throughout the proceedings. When he stepped out of court, he was served with legal papers by a City of Surrey lawyer that relate to three dog attacks in Surrey in April, June and August – 24 counts in all. A hearing date has been set for Sept. 25 to update the court on where the matter stands.

The trial date on the application to destroy the dogs is April 17, 2009, according to Tousaw.“My concern was the (SPCA’s) application contained conflicting facts,” Tousaw added. “There were a number of different dogs and breeds of dogs identified. It’s unclear to me whether the dogs that are sought to be executed are in fact the dogs that perpetrated the attacks.”

Thursday, August 21, 2008

By gosh I think they've got it...

Banning pit bulls would be pointless because the breed does not exist
Vancouver SunPublished: Thursday, August 21, 2008

The seizure of four pit bulls reportedly involved in a series of attacks has led to renewed calls for a ban on the breed. Yet legislation banning pit bulls would be wrongheaded for many reasons, not the least of which is that there is no such breed.

When members of the public and the media speak of pit bulls, they're generally referring to mutts -- cross-bred dogs -- rather than to a breed recognized by the Canadian or American kennel clubs. Pit bulls are therefore identified not on the basis of their genetic makeup, but rather on how they look. Now, a dog's appearance is hardly a reliable indicator of its disposition, but appearance is all we will have to go on if we decide to outlaw pit bulls. That means that any such law will include many dogs that are not dangerous and exclude many dogs that are.

Indeed, dangerous dogs exist among every breed and cross-breed: The Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) studied 278 dog attacks requiring hospital admission, and found that they involved 50 different types of purebred dogs and 33 cross breeds. German shepherds were responsible for the most attacks, followed by Rottweilers and cocker spaniels.

That cocker spaniels had the dubious distinction of tying for second place shouldn't really come as a surprise, since many small dogs can be aggressive. And while dogs that people call pit bulls can inflict more damage than small breeds, small, aggressive dogs such as dachshunds have killed people.

Suffice it say, then, that banning dogs based on how they look is hardly a rational or effective way to protect adults, children or other dogs. For these reasons, many organizations, including the Canadian Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the National Companion Animal Coalition, the Canadian Safety Council and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control all oppose breed bans.

Instead, these organizations argue that our laws and policies should focus on dangerousness. Dogs that have attacked people or other dogs should be euthanized or confined, and dogs trained to attack, such as guard dogs, should similarly be confined. Significant fines, and where appropriate, criminal charges, should also be levied against the owners of dogs who attack. Of course once a dog attacks, the damage has been done, so we should work to reduce the chances of attacks occurring. Ethical and responsible breeders -- including those who breed dogs that some people call pit bulls, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers -- do not breed for aggressiveness, and people who do breed or train dogs to fight should be dealt with harshly.

Confinement laws, including leash, muzzle and running at large laws, can also reduce the likelihood of attack, as can spaying and neutering. Owners should also be encouraged to ensure that their pets are properly socialized, receive proper veterinary care and complete obedience training. And people who abuse their dogs should be banned from ever owning another pet. Everyone, whether they own dogs or not, should know never to tease a dog, or to approach a strange dog, particularly if it's tethered, since it may attack out of fear. Children, especially, should be taught these things, because, as the CHIRPP studied found, children often act in ways that dogs find threatening.

This type of approach represents the best way to protect people and pets, because it requires us to focus our laws, policies and behaviours on eliminating dangerousness. And it's certainly a lot better than trying to eliminate a breed that doesn't exist.

- I could kiss the author of this letter... well done!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Surrey seeks to destroy pack of pit bulls
Tue Aug 19, 12:42 AM

What's this VANCOUVER (CBC) - The city of Surrey has made a court application to destroy four pit bulls which are alleged to have viciously attacked people and animals.

The dogs were seized last week after the van of their owner, Hal Douglas Harris, was pulled over by Vancouver police. Harris was questioned and released, and police later said they believe he lives in his van.

In an affidavit filed in Surrey provincial court on Monday, the city's animal control officer, Phil Greene, alleges the dogs attacked and injured at least five people and seven dogs and killed at least one dog, in eight separate incidents in Surrey and on southern Vancouver Island over the past year.The documents also indicated that Harris may be the owner of several other dogs involved in the attacks.

In the first incident in August 2007, the documents allege a total of seven pit bulls and a Rottweiler attacked a single German shorthaired pointer in Surrey. Another allegation in the affidavit claims six or seven pit bulls owned by Harris surrounded a jogger in a Surrey park in November, until some other people helped chase them away.

In other incidents, the document alleges several pit bulls belonging to Harris attacked a short-haired terrier in Nanaimo, two Pomeranians in Surrey, a minature American Eskimo dog in North Saanich, and killed a bichon frise called Tasha in Surrey. And according to the documents, in one incident in North Saanich the dogs attacked their alleged owner, who needed 51 stitches after the attack.

A court hearing is set for Aug. 28.


gardengirl Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:57 am Post subject: Ugh

I just REALLY don't understand why they let the guy go. So now he can get another pack of dogs and go do the same thing. There's nothing to stop him. WHY isn't anything being done about him?? And WHY isn't the media asking that question???????????????

kayte Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:18 am Post subject: Re: Ugh

because that doesn't sell newspapers. they like to keep the public thinking that it's obviously the dogs that were plotting this all along, and the guy had no chance of ever controlling such dangerous creatures

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wanna play a game!?

Pick the Pit Bull

Only ONE is a Pit Bull can you tell which one???

This a great link to send to your local politicians and to all of those who think that they will not be affected by a Pit Bull Ban. Maybe they would like to see how many people will really be affected.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BSL is EVERYONE'S Responsibility: How to Fight it

We encourage all of you to contact your local city counselor or MP and request a meeting. Talk to them about your dog(s), and how BSL would unjustly affect you. Tell them what you'd rather see, such as stronger laws and enforcement, which focus on the owner rather than the breed of dog. The truth is, online petitions and polls have little influence. Neither does moaning about it on the internet.

HugABull gets emails all the time, or people approaching us at our meetings and events, complaining about BSL, and expecting US to do something about it. The thing is, HugABull in that sense, as in the people you email when you need help, is just 5 people. We all have jobs and lives, and work damned hard for HugABull without getting paid. We don't have the time or resources to fight BSL on our own. It's important to remember that ALL OF YOU are HugABull. Our adopters, volunteers, and supporters are our voice. So, what are YOU going to do about this BSL threat?

Real change lies in groups of people banding together and taking action. This doesn't mean posting up online polls, or a bunch of email addresses to flood with letters. It means getting together, organizing a presentation, and then getting your message out there with the people that matter - your government. It means taking initiative. Get your (sound, well-behaved) Pit Bull out in the public in a visible way (Starbucks patio and wearing a cute shirt?), and get ready to do some education. Organize public walks, kinda hard not to notice a group of 5-10 Pit Bulls and their non-thug owners walking around! Bring up BSL as a topic of discussion with at least 3 new people every day. A co-worker, someone in line behind you at the grocery store, the delivery guy, whatever. People don't care about an issue they don't know about.

People think all Pit Bull owners are drug dealing thugs, because those of us that aren't keep such a low profile. We're either afraid to draw attention to ourselves because we don't want the flak, or, even more often, busy sitting on the internet. I guarantee that the "good" owners by far outnumber the "bad" ones, but it doesn't matter much if nobody knows we exist. So, get visible, find your voice, and SPEAK UP!

also, in general, good places to look for info and guidance on how to fight BSL and get more effective laws in place are:
Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC)
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada (they're active in fighting BSL)
Banned Aid Defend-a-Bull (
Good Pooch (

A few of good books to invest in are:
- dogs bite but balloons and bathroom slippers are more dangerous by Janis Bradley
- fatal dog attacks by Karen Delise
- The Pit Bull Placebo by Karen Delise Links to the books on above. Fatal Dog Attacks is sold out and out of print, so hard to find. The Pit Bull Placebo can be bought direct from the author's website at

When you're presenting to a politician, you want to remember to keep things simple and straightforward, and you want your presentation to have visual impact. Also, never go to a politician with a problem, without having an answer ready. You'll want to put together a little folder which includes some basic info, some examples of where BSL hasn't worked, some examples where alternative models have worked, and the whys. Remember that politicians, in general, don't care about how much you love your dog, or the fact that your dog doesn't bite anybody. They do care about easy answers. The public is clamoring for something to be done, and so, the politicians feel the need to do something. Your goal is to show them how BSL is a bad choice, that will not make anybody happy in the long run, and show them a good alternative. Some things to include in a presentation to an MP or counsellor:

1. show WHY BSL is not a good answer: - hard to enforce (already problems enforcing current legislation) - doesn't protect the public, as most dog bites happen on private property, people are bitten by their own dog, or a friend's dog - top 4 biters in Canada don't include Pit Bull breeds. Nor are Pit Bulls responsible for the highest number of fatalities in Canada - I believe there's only ever been one fatality.

A Pit Bull ban will not protect the public from bites or attacks from other breeds. This is a good place to include a chart of how popular dog breeds, and Pit Bulls, score on the ATTS. Also a few nice color shots of Pit Bulls that are service dogs, therapy dogs, drug detecting dogs, bomb detecting dogs, etc. - if we're talking public safety, dog bites is the wrong place to look. Over 60% of dog bites to Canadian children need no follow up medical treatment ( A Canadian is far more likely to be hurt by tripping in the bathroom, burning or cutting themselves in the kitchen, or getting in a car accident, for example. You can find lots of good CANADIAN statistics on injuries and their causes here

2. Talk about how BSL is expensive, hard to enforce, doesn't actually increase public safety, and is ultimately rejected. The Netherlands just revoked their BSL. Ontario's is being rejected in court as I write this. Vancouver revoked theirs with good reason. If you google, I'm sure you'll find other examples

3. Talk about how the general public, and your general enforcement officer, doesn't even know what a Pit Bull is. That skews aggressive dog statistics (if it's got short hair and a blocky head it MUST be a Pit Bull, right?), and makes enforcement difficult. Have a Find the Pit Bull test in your folder.

4. Then talk about what WILL work and IS enforceable. Look at Calgary as a model. They don't have BSL, and their dog licensing compliance rate is something like 90% compared to Vancouver's 10%-25%. Why? They have a great education program, and their bylaw officers go door to door for licenses. Talk about how having a dog obedience trained decreases the chance it will ever bite by 85%. About the fact that most dogs who bite are intact and chained. Anti-tethering laws, spay/neuter incentives, and free or discounted obedience classes provided by the city will go a long way to decrease bites and increase public safety. 1 hour of bite-proofing info for kids decreases that child's chances of being bitten by almost 90% (these numbers come from Stanley Coren btw, and you can contact him for the exact numbers and references). Most bite victims are children. Making dog education a part of elementary school education will help protect our children, and is CHEAP. The teacher's are already there, they just need to include it in the curriculum!

Hope this gives those of you that want to know what YOU can do to help some ideas on where to start.

The Pitch Forks Are Out...

B.C. must look at pit-bull ban The Province Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's an issue that won't die. What do we do about dog owners who refuse to control their potentially vicious animals, letting them attack other dogs and even other humans? Like others, we are relieved that the police finally arrested a man wanted for a rash of pit-bull attacks in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. But we are concerned that despite the seizure of three adult pit-bull crosses and a puppy, the dog owner has been released without charges. And as Province readers have pointed out, there is an irony here.

The man, who was believed to have been living in a van with the dogs, is free to live in society. The dogs face a death sentence. Jody Tomlinson, bitten Sunday while walking his own dog in a Surrey park, said he told the owner of the pit bulls to "get control of your dogs." And that really is the point here: It's an owner issue rather than a dog-breed one. That said, certain breeds of dog, including pit bulls, have been bred for a particular behaviour -- including fighting with other dogs. Undisciplined and unleashed, they can turn onto dangerous weapons.

Clearly in B.C. it has got to the point where sterner measures are needed to those who use menacing dogs to terrorize others. A puny fine and a small reprimand from the judge is not good enough. We need to throw the book at these folks -- and jail them if need be. Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson, meanwhile, says it's time the B.C. government considered enacting provincewide legislation to ban pit-bull-type dogs, similar to that imposed three years ago in Ontario. (Owners there may keep pit bulls they already own, but must have them spayed or neutered, and leashed and muzzled at all times).

We agree with Stevenson: This is a serious enough issue that it shouldn't be left to every little B.C. municipality to come up with its own set of rules. Victoria should thoroughly examine the issue before coming up with legislation with some bite. It would be a law that might or might not include a breed-specific ban. But it definitely should call for far tougher measures against delinquent dog owners.

© The Vancouver Province 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Life is like a box of chocolates...

The first glimpse I got of our newest arrival was his little face peeking out from his crate door at the Vancouver Airport. I could hear his little tail whacking hard against the sides of the crate and when I opened the crate door, in true Pit Bull fashion, this bundle of love was on top of me saying hello with kisses. All this and we had just met! I knew right then that we had made the right call.

Forest Gump had it right when he said “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get" but in the rescue world (especially) when dealing with Bullies we try to be certain that when we bite into a dog, it’s going to be the sweetest one out of the box.

Hugh Hefner IS the caramel center. He is the ooey, gooey soft and rich, best of the best Pit Bull and what box was he tossed from!? He fell from little town up north, where dogs are sometimes just as disposable as the wrapper that those chocolates come in.

Hugh is a true testimate to how resilient this breed is. Hugh had a rough start, being left alone in a backyard, with no food, shelter and no water. His owner had no reason to care for him and it was obvious to locals that this dog needed help. When Hugh arrived in the local shelter the staff where so impressed with him they knew they had to move him out and move him fast. In a small town like theirs, Pit Bulls have very few options and almost never find their happy ending. Hugh with his BIG TIME personality was destined for the Big City and he was flown down first class to be greeted and spoiled with all the love and respect he so deserves.

Hugh is THRIVING in his foster home. He is greeting new people and places with that same big time enthusiasm and “SAY HELLO TO ME” personality that the shelter first saw when he came to them. His foster mom reports that he is one smart cookie and is happiest when snuggling in her arms. With a few weeks left to go in his holding period we know that this boy will be charming the pants of everyone he sees.

If you are interested in Hugh please fill out our application form.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pit Bulls on Parade

What a wonderful time we had at this years 2008 Pride Parade. Thank you so much to our Volunteers, everyone that help organize and of course a huge thank you to our exceptional dogs. They walked so well, greeted everyone with tail wags and big smiles.

Here are some pictures from the event.

Our Banner

Our Float

Our New Posters

Bridgitte meeting her fans

Waving to the crowds
(500,000 people where estimated to be at the parade)

Daddy Lion waiting to greet his fans

Our newest boy Hugh telling his foster momma how happy he was to be with us
Our wonderful volunteers

Koda waiting for the show to get on the road

Friday, August 1, 2008

Baby killed by Black Lab Puppy

I hate to have to use this an an example of how all dogs, no matter what the breed can hurt and even kill. However with the press always focusing on Pit Bulls I was surprised to see this article about a young Labrador puppy that ended up killing a small child. Stories below.