Nfld. & Labrador

'It's not the dog, it's the owner': No need for Glovertown pit bull ban, owner says

A Glovertown woman who owns a pet pit bull says it wouldn't be fair for the town to ban any breed of dog.
Jane Hynes and her pit bull, Romeo (Submitted)

A Glovertown woman who owns a pet pit bull says it wouldn't be fair for the town to ban any breed of dog.

Jane Hynes spoke out Monday after accusations of an alleged pit bull attack earlier this month.

Hynes, has lived in Glovertown for years, and her family have a pit bull named Romeo who she described as very loving and gentle.

"How can you ban one breed? It's not the dog, it's the owner. If you have a dog, you have to be responsible for your dog."

It's not the dog, it's the owner. If you have a dog, you have to be responsible for your dog.- Jane Hynes , Glovertown

The ban has been proposed by a Glovertown family whose dog was found mauled to death at the side of the road on Jan. 13.

While no one knows how the dog died, David Saunders said he'd heard reports of dogs, including a pit bull, roaming the area at the time of the attack.

He wants the town to ban the breed, and the issue is expected to come before council at its regular weekly meeting on Wednesday. 

Roaming dogs a problem

Both Saunders and Jane Hynes said there are a number of dogs roaming around Glovertown. If the Saunders dog was attacked by another dog, Hynes said it could be hard to identify the animal responsible.

"Some people can't tell the difference between boxers and pit bulls because they do look something similar," she told the Central Morning Show

"Pit bulls have a bad name, so naturally you have to fight that stereotype."

Amy Hynes, who is Jane Hynes's daughter, posted on Facebook that she is also opposed to any ban on pit bulls, but she didn't want to be interviewed. (Facebook)

Hynes said it is the owners who need to take responsibility for their dog and not the breed that is to blame. She said if people are worried about roaming dogs, they should ask the town for leash and roaming regulations.

"I feel so bad for Dave and Betsy for losing their dog. It's a very sad day," said Hynes.

Meanwhile, she said she'll continue to encourage people to move past the pit bull stereotype because her pit bull, and many others, are friendly to other dogs and humans.

"I met people at first who were afraid of him, but now they love him and he loves them."

Montreal example panned

The city of Montreal just implemented breed-specific legislation for pit bulls after a dog attack last year. Since then, the Montreal SPCA has been fighting against this ban.

It just isn't effective and unenforceable.- Alanna Devine , Montreal SPCA

"We know through scientific data, expert opinion, and empirical data that breed specific legislation is unfair, costly, unenforceable, and, most importantly, ineffective in reducing the number and severity of dog bites," said Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy with the Montreal SPCA and a lawyer.

Devine said pit bull it is not even a dog breed and only targets dogs that look a specific way.

"You end up with a situation like Montreal where no one has any idea which dogs are and are not subject to the legislation." 

SPCA advocacy director Alanna Devine said the new bylaw goes against all evidence and trends in other municipalities in Canada and internationally. (Jaela Bernstien / CBC)

Instead, she suggested towns implement better leash laws, ensure the fair treatment of dogs in the community, and educate people on animal behaviour.

"The experience of what is happening in our city, which sadly adopted breed-specific legislation, should be a warning lesson for any other communities considering it," said Devine.

"It just isn't effective and it's unenforceable."

About the Author

Julia Cook

Journalist

Julia Cook reports from CBC's bureau in Gander, primarily for the Central Morning Show.

With files from the Central Morning Show

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