Pit-bull owners spent Sunday showing off their prized pooches near Science World in Vancouver.
With the growing debate about breed-specific legislation, the pit-bull owners wanted the public to judge for themselves whether they deserve to be banned.
Kim Walters, 30, was at the awareness walk with her four-year-old pit bull Bruce.
She got Bruce as a rescue dog from Ontario, where pit bulls are banned under legislation enacted in 2005. In Ontario, it’s illegal to breed or bring them into the province even for a short visit. Pit bulls born before 2005 must be sterilized, muzzled and kept on leashes.
Walters said her dog has a great disposition and has never bitten or attacked anyone, and isn’t the least bit aggressive when around other people or dogs.
She feels the issue comes down to the owners. Walters also feels the owners of pit bulls who are responsible for their pets have been wrongly maligned.
“Pit-bull owners are not gangsters and drug dealers and we don’t need to be treated as such,” she said.
Walters feels Bruce is a perfect example of a dog that needed to be given another chance.
“I think of all the dogs like Bruce who are put down,” she said of the type of legislation in Ontario that can be a death sentence for a pit bull.
Ann Cooper helped organize the walk and said the group is worried about legislation similar to what’s in Ontario being enacted in B.C.
”We are speaking out about breed-specific legislation in Ontario, “ she said. “We feel there are alternatives such as strict enforcement on dogs that haven’t been trained or managed properly.
“We are having the walk to educate people on pit bulls — they are fantastic family dogs.”
Rob Hogan has a pit bull named Squeeze that is 14 months old and he’s had him since he was a pup.
“This dog is beautiful, he loves to cuddle,” he said. “It is all about how the dog is brought up.”
A number of recent pit-bull attacks on children have renewed calls for a pit-bull ban in B.C.
In White Rock, four-year-old Emma-Leigh Cranford had her throat ripped out by a dog belonging to a friend of the family. The young girl survived, with 40 stitches across her jaw after two hours of surgery at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
A few days later, a three-year-old Kelowna boy received 32 stitches in his face after he reached down to pet a pit bull.
The B.C. SPCA has said a pit-bull ban wouldn’t work.