Kelly and I went to New York so she could do a presentation at a university on reactivity and we decided that we'd check out Niagara Falls on our way home. Along for the ride came V and Villere. V is a shepherd/lab mix and Villere is referred to as a pit bull.
In the United States there are some places that pits are not allowed. Living in Ohio we have multiple cities near us that Villere and our other pit Rosa are not welcome. The reason why they're not allowed in is due to BSL, or Breed Specific Legislation. The point of BSL is to put limitations on certain breeds of dogs whether it's an all-out ban or other limitations such as muzzling in public. Pit bulls are on the list obviously. BSL is something that I have known about, but it never hit me right at home until now.
Villere is honestly one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met (of any breed). The pure joy on his face when he sees a person that is approaching to give him some loving is heart melting and hilarious all wrapped into one. On the American side of the falls, (New York) at least 8 different sets of people stopped us to meet Villere. (I even caught one guy taking photos of him.) A couple of the people even got nice and low so Villere could give them kisses. All in all Vilere was having a fantastic time.
After hanging out on the American side for an hour or so we thought we'd take the pedestrian bridge across the river into Canada. We were pretty excited about this because none of us had been into Canada before. After getting buzzed through the gate we headed across the very long bridge to Canada. Here's our journey:
Once we arrived in Canada we entered the door to go through Customs. It was empty so we walked right up to the desk. After exchanging pleasantries and before we started handing over ID's I asked if there were any breed bans. He replied yes and then it was clear to us that we weren't allowed to go in. I want to make it very clear that this guy was only doing his job and he was an extremely nice guy. He said that he would let him in if he could, and even offered his own water to give to Villere. I'd also like to point out that if we had planned this trip, we would have done research as to if he was allowed to enter or not. So there we were, standing at this invisible line that Villere was not allowed to cross. If he crossed it, according to the law, he could be confiscated from us. It's really hard to put into words what it feels like to be told that he can't go in just because of the way that he looks. (Once again there is no blame being pointed at the gentleman that wouldn't allow us in, he was just doing his job.) Villere is one of our kids, and just because he looks different, we can't bring him to certain places.
So there must be a reason for this law, right? BSL must make communities safer so these "vicious" dogs of certain breeds won't go around biting people non stop, right? Well, what if I told you that there is no, and will never be any actual evidence out there that makes this make sense? More people die from mop bucket accidents each year than dogs of any kind. Take a look at these graphics for some statistics:
To continue the story, Villere was pooped from his excited trip across the bridge and was in need of some water. We watered the dogs prior to going across the bridge, and planned on getting more once we arrived. After finding out that Villere wasn't allowed in, we brought him back outside so he could lie down. After a moment I headed back in with V so I could cross the border to get Vill some water. Approaching the desk the gentleman asked for my ID which I gave him. He then responds, "this isn't proper identification to get into Canada".... After a very brief conversation of me explaining that I needed to get Vill some water, he allowed me to cross the border anyway. So V and I went to the store that was very close and headed inside to get some water. Inside, all the workers were beyond friendly to V. I explained to them what had happened and why I was there and they were upset/embarrassed. 4 of the employees helped pet and water V, and then one was kind enough to help carry some of the stuff as far as she could. She even put the quarters in the machine for me which allowed V and I to get through the gate so we could get to Kelly and Villere. The people were so nice, and not the problem. The problem is outdated laws that don't actually make any sense according to the statistics. After watering Vill, we took the long journey across the bridge back to America where Vill is allowed.
Once back in America we stopped at the first bar we saw, and they happily allowed V and Vill in. The waitress was so kind that the first thing she did was brought the dogs some water. Here they are tired and happy. As Kelly and I sat at the table I asked her what she thought we could do to change BSL. That is why I am writing this.
This is the final photo I'll post in this blog. This is Villere lying down quite exhausted. At the bar, 4 different sets of people came up to see him. Isn't it crazy how many people willingly come up to a "vicious breed" of dog and give him tons of petting? They even let him lick their faces.
Once again, I'm posting this to bring awareness to this law. This is a pointless law that should never have been put into place to start. Progress has been made as now according to state law in Ohio, no breed of dog is deemed vicious. (This doesn't stop cities from keeping their BSL though.) We got a ways to go though. It's time to end BSL.