Pit bull ban not the way to go says Humane Society

With a strange upsurge in dog attacks in the past week, the Calgary Humane Society is speaking out against breed-specific rules in Calgary, stressing the need for training and socialization.

Spate of biting incidents highlight need for better training and socialization for all breeds

Calgary's Animal and Bylaw Services is considering new rules around dog ownership, including increased licensing for breeds such as pitbulls. (veroxdale/Shutterstock)

The Calgary Humane Society is speaking out against the idea of breed-specific rules for dogs in the wake of several attacks within the city and musings on new regulations.

Rules could include outright bans on breeds like pit bulls, as occurred in Ontario, but includes everything from unique licensing to enforced sterilization and specifically coloured vests or collars for certain dogs. 

"All dogs can bite and will bite given certain situations, or trigger, so we want to be aware of that," said Barbara Walmer, department head of animal behaviour at the Calgary Humane Society. "So anyone who does own a dog is responsible for his or her behaviour, especially within the Calgary city limits."

Put on a bandana on it

 Ward 2 councillor Joe Magliocca came under fire this week for saying he wanted all dogs to be muzzled for the first year of their life, and then be forced to sport coloured bandanas signifying how dangerous they are.

He eventually backed away from the idea of bringing the concept before council and insists this should be voluntary. However, he was unclear on how he would make that happen, saying it's "just going to be through the media, or social events and all that kind of stuff."

"Well, my idea is just to educate people that whenever you have an aggressive dog, or you feel it's aggressive, if you're out in public, you can put a muzzle on it," Magliocca told CBC's Homestretch.

When it comes to the colour-coded bandanas, the councillor said "it's just a media blitz, you know, it's not going to be no bylaw. It's not going to be no motion, it's just going to be at people's leisure. If you feel your dog's going to be aggressive, put a red bandana on it." 

Joe Magliocca discusses his ideas for identifying and muzzling potentially aggressive dogs. 5:50

A lot of myths

Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services is considering increased punishment for owners or dogs involved in a biting incident, and increased licensing fees for certain breeds — including pit bulls.

Walmer says there are "a lot of myths that are around certain breeds" of dog and wants the focus to be on socialization and training for the dog, and education for their owners.  


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