An Open Letter to Members of the Media...
Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT) owners in Ontario feel wronged by our politicians and by many members of the media.
The Attorney General Michael Bryant made some outrageous and incorrect statements that were printed as fact. He also made promises that he appears to never have intended to keep. With less than 2000 SBT owners in all of Canada we were played by skillful media masters who marginalized our concerns in the public eye by painting those who opposed Bill 132 as animal rights activists and extremists.
There are compelling reasons to oppose any kind of breed ban. But then there is the unique case of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. You see, our breed has been mislabeled and misplaced. This should be one of the last of all possible breeds to make it onto a ban list, certainly not the first.
In fact, two recent studies done in Germany tried to provoke inappropriate aggression in test dogs of several breeds including Golden Retrievers. The author of the first study made this comment in the abstract: "Notably, disorders in aggressive behaviour were not registered within the Staffordshire Bullterrier breed." The same was not true for the Golden Retrievers in the second study, which showed the same levels of inappropriate aggression as Dobermans, Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Bull Terriers.
Interestingly, in the study of Golden Retrievers the author noted that dogs do not seem to be capable of handling ongoing exposure to high stress. In otherwords, just as we have tried to explain to the Liberals, the owners play an incredibly important role in their dog's behaviour, regardless of breed. Sadly some types of dogs stand apart because they are trendy with irresponsible owners. This was an important but often ignored conclusion of the CDC Study of Dog Bite Related Fatalities in the U.S. that is often quoted by politicians to justify breed specific legislation.
We know from conversations with countless people that most Ontarians do not think breed bans are the best option for our province. The Globe and Mail cited a report from Liberal polsters that claims 90% of Canadians want breed specific legislation. We don't believe that for a moment based on our grassroots communication with Canadians. For that matter, we could probably orchestrate a poll that would say that 98% of Ontarians want Dalton McGuinty to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. While an appealing idea to many dog owners, it would not mean that the numbers were an accurate reflection of what people want.
We stand firmly convinced that Bill 132 will cost a lot of money, harm responsible dog owners and that ultimately it will fail to make the public any safer. We are deeply saddened that the government had the chance to do something meaningful, but instead they opted to follow what they saw as the popular opinion.
With all of the Liberals' recent blunders and broken promises this must have seemed to the Fiberals to be an "easy win" - which sadly seems to be more important than actually making the public safer.
We would ask each and every journalis to consider our case not from the biased viewpoint that we are animal rights advocates or breeders interested in profit, but from the viewpoint that we are your "everyday, responsible Ontarians". Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners are doctors, teachers, scientists, business owners, mothers, journalists, secretaries, technicians and even actors like Ray Romano from Everyone Loves Raymond.
When you consider what it means to have this eclectic group of people come together to fight the government with incredible passion, we would hope that you would at least ask yourself if something doesn't seem to be out of place here between the story the Attorney General has been telling in the media and opponents have said. We are the little guy and we need the help of honest journalists with integrity to help get our story - the real story - out to the public.