MONTREAL – Dog-owners and their four-legged friends gathered at Du Pelican Park at noon Saturday , to celebrate National Pit Bull Awareness Day.
The humans and their furry friends, some in festive Halloween costumes, walked from Du Pelican Park in Rosemont to Lafontaine Park.
Marchers taking part in the event hoped to challenge some of the misconceptions and breakdown stereotypes surrounding the often-maligned breed.
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“Our dogs are just dogs like any other, ” said Dana Hyde with Quebec Pit Bull, “There’s a stigma against our breed,” she deplored.
“People associate pit bulls with gangsters or criminals.”
The peaceful protest was specifically geared at sensitizing the public to the issue of breed specific legislation (BSL).
Breed-specific legislation is a term used to refer to laws that either regulate or ban certain breeds completely in the hopes of reducing dog attacks.
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While most people know about pit bull bans, organizers say that many municipalities and provinces in Canada and the world over make it illegal to own dogs such as American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, or any mix of these breeds.
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Anti-BSL activists insist that the laws are not only discriminatory but have not proven effective in making communities safer.
Rather than ban certain breeds of dogs, demonstrators would like to see legislation that targets irresponsible dog-owners.
Activists maintain that careless and negligent owners are in the minority and that their actions perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
“People think that they are all fighting dogs,that they’re killers, that they’re just aggressive and out there to attack everything else but they’re not,” insisted Hyde. “It’s really the owner who makes the dog.”