A Richmond, B.C. couple is lobbying the city to change a bylaw that requires breeds of dogs deemed dangerous to wear muzzles when in the public, so that their blind pitbull Peanut can play uninhibited.
The Breed Specific Legislation is a bylaw meant to protect Richmond residents, but Shaun Bird says Peanut is playful and loving.
She's part Staffordshire Bull-Terrier and suffers from Progressive Retinal Atrophy. When Bird and his wife adopted her as six-month-old puppy, they had no idea she would be completely blind years later.
"She's a sweetheart. She's playful, loves to run around with other dogs," he says. "Most people don't believe she can look you in the eye. She gets around if it's an area she's mapped out with her whisker, ears and nose."
Online petition started
According to the current animal control bylaw in Richmond, Bird can't take his dog for a walk in a park without that muzzle but he says it inhibits Peanut's ability to feel her way around.
"Her nose is to the ground all the time. She uses it to feel the edge of steps, getting out of the car, and walls."
He and his wife appealed to City Hall to have the bylaw adjusted, but were denied. They're now taking their efforts online and started a petition that has already garnered more than 860 signatures as of 9:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday.
"She's never showed aggressive behaviour other than barking because she can't see, or what she doesn't know or is trying to protect us or alert us of something up ahead."
Bird and his wife aren't looking for an exemption just for Peanut. They want Richmond to create a test so that good-natured dogs with the dangerous breed label don't have to wear a muzzle.