July 3, 2012
In past blogs, I’ve written about Breed Specific Legislation and its targets: pit bulls.
Undoubtedly, pit bulls have a bad rap. And it’s a rap that’s hard to shake, especially in the eyes of the law. In fact, dogs can be sentenced to death simply for being pit bulls or looking like them, not only in Ireland, where a Belfast mixed breed dog, Lennox, has been sentenced to die, but in many other countries in the west that, frankly, should know better, including Canada and the U.S..
One of Animal Alliance’s board members, Anne Streeter, knows how ludicrous and specist such a law is. Who taught her? An orphaned pit bull mix named Annie. So I asked Anne to tell us about Annie and what she thinks of breed specific legislation:
Anne: Annie, a pit bull mix (mostly pit) shelter dog, has been with me for five years and is quite simply the love of my life. She is without a doubt the nicest dog to come into our lives and that is saying something, as I have rescued a number of dogs over the years – all of them wonderful.
“Annie is a medium sized brindle who wags herself silly in human company – including her favorite mailman! She has been clean and beautifully behaved since the day my son and I picked her up at the shelter. She was four years old at the time.
“Annie waits patiently for walks and food, doesn’t mind being home alone and is happy to ride in the car. At nine, she is incredibly healthy. She hasn’t needed to visit a vet, but should the occasion occur, I’m sure she would consider it a tail-wagging event.
“Annie doesn’t like all dogs. She picks and chooses her friends but, then, so do we all. So there you have it – my Annie – everyone’s favorite dog!
“Knowing Annie has made me a real critic of breed specific legislation. It is so unfair and generally put in place by uninformed municipal functionaries.
“Any dog can bite. Statistically, breeds such as Chows, Huskies, German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels are more responsible for fatal bites than are pit bulls. However, this statistic needs to be put into perspective. It is said that, as a public health problem, deaths from dog bites rank down there with lightning strikes, poison darts, or falling trees!”
About Anne Streeter (In her own words): I started to work in animal protection in 1967, volunteering for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on their seal hunt campaign.
“I had four small children at the time, so I had no intention of getting too involved (ha ha)! IFAW had a volunteer office here in Montreal where we handled the international files, organized demonstrations and collated three one-million signature petitions, two of which we sent to Pierre Trudeau, who was then prime minister of Canada, and one we sent to Norway, the country that helps subsidize the seal hunt in Canada.
Joanna Dupras, a photographer from Holland, and I were the first to go to the ice with Brian Davies to check it out as a potential tourist attraction. Later, I went to Strasbourg with the IFAW to lobby against the seal hunt. This was organized by Stephen Best (the director of Saving Dinah). Subsequently, Stephen Best and Dan Morast started the International Wildlife Coalition and I joined them to research the fur business.
From 1990 to 1993, I sat on the board of the Montreal SPCA, where I concentrated on the pet over-population issue. There I introduced pre-release sterilization.
More recently, a friend and I started a group called Action Anti Caleche to oppose the carriage trade in Montreal.