Tuesday, September 6, 2011

When more than beauty is in the eye of the beholder.....

From the moment I first clapped eyes on her sweet, skinny self, Miss Ruby has been my heart.  When she was first rescued, we had no idea she would blossom into such a beauty, but it was clear from the start she was going to be a smarty pants!
Along the way, I have learned a very important lesson about breed identification.   It isn't just beauty that is in the eye of the beholder ... each and every dog savvy guesstimate of her parentage has had a completely different opinion!  
The vet techs at Carnegy Animal Hospital where ARC had her spayed swore she was a Rhodesian Ridgie mix.   My best friend swears she is a German Shepherd Mix.   My own vet believes her to be a hound mix ... but not a Ridgie.  Another one of my friends feels that if we shook her family tree the odd pittie might fall out :)
People often assume that my sweet O Henry is a purebred Amstaf ... although he didn't show up at CAPS with papers between his teeth, eh?  Yet when there are partridge or grouse ahead on the trail, he automatically adopts a stance that would be the envy of any professional showing a pointer!  According to CAPS, he is a Valley Bull / Great Dane Mix.   My own vet is sure he is nearly pure Amstaf.   After hearing him bay at deer and sing with the coyotes ... my best friend thinks there must be beagle in
there somewhere! 
Whenever BSL rears its ugly head, it is never, ever only the purebreds that are at risk.  The real danger lies for all the wonderful mixed breed dogs.  Visual misidentification has been the death of more dogs than anyone has been able to keep track of since Ontario implemented BSL.  
In the interests of calling a spade a spade .... BSL should be called Breed and Mutt Specific Legislation!  Why do I say that?  Why are the first casualties of Breed Discriminatory Legislation are always the ever so popular mutts?
My daughter lives in the land of BSL ... where it is common practice for folks who own commonly misidentified breeds to ALWAYS bring their CKC registration papers every single time they walk their dogs.  Mutts have ever only been at the mercy of an often inaccurate judgement call!
Until the advent of Dog DNA testing, mixed breed dogs had no protection whatsoever.  If an Animal Control officer or a veterinarian identified their dog as a pittbull type mix there were no happy endings waiting in the wings :(
Even Dog DNA is not going to provide real protection!   Why do I say that?  AT the risk of sounding like a stuck record, BSL does not create safer communities.  It does not encourage parents to teach their children safe behaviours around dogs.   Pet owners of 'acceptable breeds' have no incentive to invest the time and energy to create good canine neighbours.
Worst of all, BSL reinforces all the inaccurate prejudices.   I am a middle aged grandmother.  I love to garden!    At the risk of tooting my own horn, I have a darned good reputation as a baker!   If I wear blue jeans to the village, they are clean and fit properly!   I listen to classical and country .... not rap!  And this week, I am over the moon that I was able to find Ballet Shoes for my grandaughter's fifth birthday:)
I am all those things ... and I have one, maybe two, dogs who could easily have pitties in their family tree!   Dogs, I might add, that successfully live with two much smaller dogs!    
In other words, I am no different than any of the responsible folks with dogs of any breed, eh?  There is no 'typical' pittbull owner, eh?
The house will soon be coming back to sit for the fall session.    Municipal bylaws begin at the provincial level .... and so it is going to be very important to pay VERY close attention to any and all bills that are introduced.  Why?   The last time the government tried to sneak BSL in the back door through a municipal 'housekeeping' bill, (Bill 138), quick response from the animal loving community stopped the offending clauses in their tracks!
What time is it?   Our dogs cannot read and our dogs cannot vote.   It is always, always time to remember that the way ahead for the animals is actually also the best way to create safer communities for our children .... and of course that is only ever paved by strong voter feedback!
Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.  Pericles, 430 B.C.

Henry watching out for the old geezers

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