Dog owner plans expo to dispel pit bull stereotypes
Published Tuesday, July 19, 2011 6:36PM ADT
One week has passed since a small dog was viciously attacked and killed in front of its owners while they walked the pet through their Dartmouth neighbourhood.
The family says both dogs were a pit bull mix, which has again sparked a nature versus nurture debate about the controversial mix breed.
Now another Dartmouth dog owner is planning what he calls a "Bully Expo," which he hopes will help get rid of stereotypes about the breed. He expects nearly 100 pit bulls will be in attendance.
His dogs, Diego and Notorious, are pit bulls. He says they are important members of his family, but they have a bad reputation.
"They're vicious, people use them for dog fighting," says Jerrico Gray of the stereotypes often put on pit bulls. "Which in my opinion is not really true; it's how you bring up the dog."
The "Bully Expo" will take place at Cole Harbour Place and some area residents say they are nervous about the show.
"I personally don't like them. I'm scared of them," says Cole Harbour resident Leanne Oake. "I have children, and they don't really have a very good reputation."
Gray is hoping the show will fix that. He says his main goal is to educate the public about the dogs.
"Let people see that you can be in these dogs' company," he says. "You don't have to worry about them ripping your arms or your head off."
But according to the Dartmouth family, that is exactly what happened to their family pet Odis last week. He was out for a walk with his owners on Spring Avenue when they say the two pit bull mixes ripped Odis from their arms and attacked him.
Many residents in the area have been worried about the safety of their own dogs and even small children since the attack, especially since the two dogs who attacked Odis are still living in the neighbourhood.
"I have a two-year-old and he's out here running around on the grass all the time, and to know that there's a dog out there that could just come running out of nowhere and attack him is just devastating," says area resident Amiee Claxton.
John-Paul Carette was out walking his small dog when it marched up to two bigger dogs in the neighbourhood Tuesday.
"I saw her starting to go, then I saw the dogs, they kind of lifted up so I told her to stay, and she did," he says of the encounter. "But yeah, that scared me when she went by them."
Gray says that while some dogs can be vicious, he believes it is a result of how they were raised, and not because of their breed.
"It comes down to the ownership of the dog and that's another thing that we're going to be focusing on at the show," he says. "And that day, you'll see it's not as bad as some people put it out there to be."
For anyone who still has doubts, Gray hopes they visit the show at Cole Harbour Place on August 6.
As for the two dogs involved in the attack, police say they are still investigating the incident and the dogs are still living in the neighbourhood. No charges have been laid against the owners at this time.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell