ALBERTA

Calgary Dog Attacks Prompt Talk Of Muzzles, Fines, Breed Ban

05/15/2015 12:52 EDT | Updated 05/15/2015 12:59 EDT
Pepsynergy

A rash of serious dog attacks in Calgary has at least once city councillor suggesting all dogs be muzzled for their first year of life.

Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca told The Calgary Herald he will put forward a motion that would require all dog breeds to wear a muzzle for a year. Dogs would then be required to wear specific coloured bandanas to indicate their potential to be aggressive.

"I don’t care what dog it is, a German shepherd, a pit bull, a Doberman pinscher, a greyhound. For the first year, the muzzle has to be on until it goes through training," Magliocca said. "I don’t care if it’s an off-leash park or they’re walking on the sidewalk. They have to have a muzzle on."

Magliocca explained that owners would then be reponsible for determining what colour of bandana to put on their dog. But if they choose the wrong colour, and their dog attacks, the mistake would be met with heavy fines.

Four serious dog attacks in five days renewed debate on how to deal with the problematic trend.

On Wednesday, a girl was bit by a pit bull-type dog, leaving her with injuries to her left leg and right calf.

Calgary's animal and bylaw services says the owner and the dog fled.

On Monday, a Great Pyrenees attacked two children, and the dog's owner is facing five bylaw charges. And last weekend, two dogs were killed in two separate attacks.

Animal and Bylaw Services told CTV News they are looking at a possible rule changes when it comes to owning pit bulls and Rottweilers, as those dogs tend to be involved in the most attacks.

Steeper fines for owners and higher licencing fees for certain breeds could be an option.

"If you want to have a pit bull at home, you can, but I expect it will cost you much more for licensing, much more in the event there’s an attack like we’ve seen in the last few days," city spokesman Alvin Murray explained to CTV.

The Calgary Humane Society, however, says there's no data on their end to suggest a specific breed of dog is more likely to attack.

"When we do see an incident involving a bully breed we may see more media around it," Society spokeswoman Sage Pullen McIntosh told Metro Calgary.

"As far as stats and connection between the bully breeds and the bites, that’s something the city could provide, but we’re not seeing anything in our doors."

Winnipeg and Toronto both have pit bill bans in effect, but McIntosh said the Humane Society does not support breed bans.

"We...oppose labeling any specific breed as inherently aggressive, vicious or dangerous," she told The Herald.

An editorial in Thursday's Calgary Sun argued the last thing the city should implement is an all-out breed ban.

"We don’t ban cars because they can break the speed limit. We don’t ban ownership of guns because they can kill. Instead, our right to own these things come with responsibilities, restrictions and added costs for our choice. The same should apply to pet ownership."

Instead, the paper argues that certain breeds should have to wear muzzles, complete certified training courses, or be subject to a higher licencing fees.

What do you think? Is it time for Calgary to look at a breed ban, or do you think there are better methods? Let us know in the comments below.

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