Halifax dog lovers take to the streets to protest breed-specific legislation
Dog lovers hit the streets of Halifax on Sunday to voice their concerns about legislation to fully remove specific breeds of dogs from particular regions.
It’s part of an international day of protest, where pet owners urge lawmakers to stop discriminating against 'bully breeds,' like pit bulls and bulldogs, by implementing breed-specific legislation.
The protesting pet owners say breed specific laws -- which exist in parts of Nova Scotia and other areas in the Maritimes -- are harmful, and gives the animals a bad reputation.
“I’ve had people cross the street with their dogs, or pick their dogs up,” says dog owner Danielle York. “Sometimes, people will take their kids and pull them away just at the sight of my dog."
York is just one of the owners who brought their dogs out on Saturday to show others how well-behaved and friendly they are.
“I have a lot of clients that have bully breed dogs, and they're wonderful dogs,” says Guy Lapierre, a dog trainer who lives in Halifax. “They just need proper training.”
"We register our dogs. We socialize our dogs," said pet owner Christina Sutherland. "We're doing doing everything right."
Last year, a woman from Montreal was killed by a neighbour's dog in her backyard. That dog was described as a pit bull, but turned out to be a boxer instead. As a result, pit bulls were banned in that city.
Breed specific laws also exist in parts of Nova Scotia, including Antigonish and Guysborough.
Shelley Cunningham of animal rescue society Litters 'n Critters says breed specific legislation doesn't make sense.
"We've re-homed more than four thousand dogs in the last nine years," she says. "I've been bitten by more chihuahas, and more maltese, and more small dogs, but have yet to be bitten by a pit bull."
As the dogs and people march in protest, they hope reason will prevail over emotion in decisions about bully breeds in the future.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw.