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Need help coping with BSL and the "rules" I have to follow. (long post)

Discussion in 'Breed Specific Legislation' started by cndnchksrock, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. cndnchksrock

    cndnchksrock Puppy

    Here is what the BSL says for my city...

    The city has identified the following breeds as dangerous...

    • American Pit Bull Terriers

    • Staffordshire Bull Terriers

    • American Staffordshire Terriers

    • and all mixes that bear the physical characteristics of one of these breeds (what does this even mean??)

    Such dogs must be kept:

    • in a closed building (ie. house, garage, shed etc.)

    • if the closed building is anything other then inside a place of residence it must be in an enclosed area with a lock or padlock, of an appropriate size and height to contain the animal; (this also confuses me)

    • muzzled and on a leash no more than two metres in length when outside their enclosure.

    Owners or guardians of such breeds must:

    • have their pet sterilized;

    • have their pet vaccinated against rabies;

    • have their dog identified with a micro-chip and/or tattoo;

    • have DNA testing done on their dog so the breed and/or mixture of breeds will be on permanent file;

    • pass a training and obedience course with their pet at a facility recognized by the Muncipal Council;

    • walk with only one dangerous dog at a time, and only in approved walking areas;

    • indicate to anyone wishing to come onto their property that there is a dangerous dog on premise;

    • post a notice on their property indicating "Attention, dangerous dog lives here";

    • on request, provide evidence of full compliance with these conditions;

    • get a licence each year, for each dangerous dog at the price to be set by the Municipal Council based on grade level issued to dog upon completion of course entitled "how dangerous is my dog".

    • the owner/guardian will only take the dangerous dog to a veterinarian approved by the Municipal Council, and must follow any and all instructions/directions given to them by said veterinarian.

    The court will order the euthanization of any dangerous dog found guilty of an offence, upon failure of any mandated training course, obedience course, "how dangerous is my dog" course, or any other course or evaluation deemed necessary by the Municipal Council.

    Now that we all see what the BSL says, here is what it actually means...

    Stella is 9 months old (vet estimate), for the entire 6 months I have had her she has been in some type of class, been tested, evaluated etc etc. It honestly has been non stop. All of which I have had to pay for, of course. The basic training and obedience classes I would have done anyways, but it would have been nice to have had my choice of where to go and with whom to train with. Like it says above I don't have a choice in vet, and the vet won't spay her until she reaches sexual maturity, the same goes for all of these "dangerous dogs". Can you guess why? Not for health reasons, or probably any of the first 3 reasons that come to your mind. For one reason and one reason only..."because you can't determine the true nature of the dog and it's potential to harm a person or animal of any species until it is allowed to fully mature. Human adults are more likely to kill then human children or teenagers; the same is true of dogs." (that's a quote from the vet) At the point of sexual maturity the dog will again have to undergo all of these tests/classes/evaluations again to be reassessed, that's of course if the dog even made it through the first round.

    Our current class is entitled "how dangerous is my dog?" I'm not even kidding you when I say this...it's a room full of the above listed breeds being put in situations where ANY dog would have a hard time remaining non-reactive. Last night was the first class, they had what looked like a dead squirrel on a string; moving it around the room (I suppose the way they thought a squirrel might run around outside?) and it was our jobs to stop our animals from reacting. Not stop them from chasing and wanting to kill the 'squirrel', stop them from reacting AT ALL. I'm sure you can imagine what happened, all hell broke loose. The dogs that did try to go after the squirrel weren't even doing so in (what I considered) an aggressive manor, their tails were wagging and they were almost bouncing up and down. This however, caused other dogs who initially didn't react to do so, if only because the other dogs were. Within 5 minutes almost every dog in the room was barking, jumping, growling or doing some other "unwanted behaviour".

    Stella was terrified. She was shaking really bad, and kept trying to get in between my legs. At one point she actually peed on herself. I have been working really hard at home to try and help with her fears (she has many), and I feel like last night was 10 steps back in that department. Also, she has always been fine around other dogs, now I'm worried these classes will eventually make her fearful of them OR she will start reacting to them if only because she feels she needs to protect herself (or me) first. I should also state that this "test" as they called it, happened with 5 minutes of us all being put in the room together. After this "test" most of the dogs wouldn't calm down, it was like they were all feeding off of each other and the high energy/anxiety in the room. I chain smoked all the way home to try and stop shaking then went straight to the fridge for a beer! All I could think was thank God she wasn't in heat! I honestly don't know how I remained calm in that room and was still able to be assertive when giving Stella commands. After the class was over the (so called) behaviourist came up to me and said (and I quote) "it was promising that your dog didn't react to the stimuli, however a fearful dog can and will be more dangerous and deadly then a straight up aggressive dog, so you really need to get that in check" I just turned around and walked away because at that point I honestly don't know if I would've laughed, cried or screamed at him...possibly a combinationt of all three. I know understand what my mother meant when we were kids and she would say "my nerves are shot"!

    I should probably tell you what the paper they gave us says about what constitutes "unwanted behaviour" during the class, and what would cause the dogs to score low or fail completely. This is taken word for word from the paper...

    The dangerous dogs will be scored on these, and any other criteria deemed appropriate by the instructor/trainer/behaviourist...

    • has the dog bitten, attempted to bite; attacked or attempted to attack a person or another animal of any species;

    • has the dog displayed aggressiveness towards a person or animal of any species by growling, baring its fangs, barking fiercely or in any other way indicating that it could bite or attack a person or animal of any species;

    • has the dog behaved aggressively; (kinda vague?)

    • has the dog held an offensive or defensive stance ready to attack a person or an animal of any species. (again...wtf??)

    "Any person on site working on behalf of the Municipal Council has the right to force a dog to be surrendered over to them to have any and all appropriate action taken against the dog and/or it's owner/guardian if they feel the need arises to maintain safety". (this whole situation isn't safe as far as I'm concerned, and I know small "lap" dogs that show every one of these behaviours every day!)

    The dogs ultimately get a score out of 10 upon completion of this "course", at which point restrictions will be placed on them based on the score. I will update when I know what each score will mean for the dog, as they haven't given us that info yet. This was only the first class, there are 13 more to go. I don't want to go back, however I have no choice. It would be awesome if anyone could give me tips or techniques in maintaining my cool when I am attending these classes, and what I can maybe do at home with Stella to help ensure the "unwanted behaviour" (most of which is natural instinct) can be kept to a minimum while at class. At home she watched squirrels and birds when we're outside, she's never tried chasing them, but she definitely is alert to their presence. I have never disciplined this because she's a dog and it's natural...should I start?

    I'm sorry this is so long, I just wanted to make sure all the info I had was in this post. In closing I want to say this...I think these classes (definately the one I'm currently taking) are set up to cause the dogs to fail, so some pompous asshole can stand up and say "see, I told you these dogs are dangerous". This kind of crap is also what makes people not take their dogs to the vet. Stella was abandoned with me and when I took her to a vet for deworming and her first shots, that vet alerted the Municipal Council to her "appearance to that of a dangerous dog under the BSL", which caused AC to show up on my doorstep and force us into all this. Apparently all the vets have signed a contract agreeing to do so, or face consequences.

    I also think this contributes to BYB. Many people want these types of dogs (granted many, if not most of them shouldn't have these types of dogs), but they don't want to go through the hassle of the BSL rules and regulations so they buy them from a BYB, never take them to a vet and hope their neighbours don't figure out they aren't following the "rules" and report them. I think that's what happened with Stella. I was supposed to babysit her for a weekend, unaware until I saw her of what her breed potentially was, but the guy never came back. I think the guy was reported for having her and didn't want to go through with all BSL stuff.

    I understand the potential risks in owning her, she is an AmStaff/Rotti. I am doing any and everything I can to learn more, and help her have the best possible life. I am fully commited to training and working with her everyday as well as prepared to always follow through. That is why I joined this site, to ask questions and get help/advice/support from other owners who know what the hell they're talking about and aren't afraid to say what needs to be said. Any tips, info or just comments would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    I'm sorry about the small font, I couldn't figure out how to get it bigger. I really suck at this posting stuff!
  2. Team Peanut

    Team Peanut GRCH Dog

    Well that is just awful. I couldn't imagine living some place with such strict and strange rules.
  3. SherryB

    SherryB Little Dog

    I see you are in Canada, right? Remind me not to move where you live.. Yikes! How ridiculous but it's what you've got to deal with. You might put her in a class OTHER than this one where you can work on the needed skills without having a dead squirrel to deal with until she gains some needed skills. If you really want to have her move through this awful process you might see if there is someone who gives private lessons and explain what the dog needs to do in the class so you can focus on just those things. This is really tough legislation it appears to me.
  4. ShanaRowan

    ShanaRowan FlirtPolin' Premium Member

    I just want to commend you for not having a mental breakdown. I would be doing my best not to lose my shit entirely. What the hell are these idiots thinking? The squirrel fiasco sounds akin to putting a bunch of bull breeds in a small room, granted on leashes, but still, and then having some moron tease them with a flirt pole. WTF do they think is going to happen?

    Following their logic, if a dog that attempts an "offensive stance" at an animal of any species is a "dangerous dog" and is grounds for euthanasia, that takes out just about every breed in the sporting, terrier, and herding group, plus some in the working group.

    Your post is eye-opening and I think it would be very interesting information for the average dog owner to have - frankly I don't think many dogs of ANY breed would pass that criteria. My malamute wouldn't, lol.
  5. Swiper

    Swiper Little Dog

    Sounds like a test to promote failure. Its effen sad. Good luck.
  6. BCdogs

    BCdogs Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    That is truly awful. I had no idea that Quebec had such intense BSL and I'm so sorry that you have to go through this. I honestly don't understand how they can expect any highly driven dog to be able to handle a room full of other highly driven dogs and a damn flirt pole being waved around.

    Tire her out as much as possible before class, bring the best damn treats/toys/whatever motivates her to class, and I'd highly suggest teaching the "watch me" command in order to attempt to redirect her focus on to you while they're presenting these (ridiculous) challenges during class.

    Here is an easy link to show you how to train this command. It's helped me immensely with my reactive dog so maybe it would be useful for you during class.

    Teaching dogs the command

    Good luck!!
  7. cndnchksrock

    cndnchksrock Puppy

    Thanks for the positive words everyone. I must have thought a hundred times in that room "thank god there is a tank of a man holding onto that leash" Incidentally, I was the only girl human and Stella was the only girl dog. I do want to say this though, not once did I feel like any of those dogs were being aggressive, however how long can that last if they keep doing these types of "tests"...add to that they won't let any of us spay/neuter our dogs, and at some point something bad just might happen. It would be one thing if they did this squirrel type exercise and then afterwards taught everyone commands (like BCdogs suggestion of watch me), or techniques or whatever to better deal with the reactions. Instead they just lectured us on how badly behaved all the dogs were and said the challenges are going to get a lot harder then that one, so if we can't handle it we might as well just hand over our dogs right now. How can they expect people to control a situation if they don't also give you the tools needed to do it? It could've been homework to do before the next class.
    I love the idea of "watch me" I am DEFINATELY going to work on that! We live on a very busy street, there is even a bus stop on my front lawn. She loves sitting outside (on leash of course) watching the people and traffic go by, her tail wagging the whole time. I think if I let her she'd sit there all day. That is a great situation for watch me because there would be a lot of distraction that she enjoys.
  8. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    I have a question... You said in your other thread that you found your dog's mix with a DNA test. Which test did you do? Was there a pic sent with the sample?
  9. shotgun_wg

    shotgun_wg Little Dog

    Lord have mercy. That is what u call outlawing something by taxing it to death. Is the vet kin to the mayor. Man his Buisiness is probly doing great.

    Thank god for country living.

  10. cndnchksrock

    cndnchksrock Puppy

    It was ordered by the city and all done through the vet (which was given to me by the city). As a matter of fact I have been fighting with the vet and the city to get a copy of the test. The vet told me the results over the phone, when I said I would come in and pick up a copy I was told it wasn't necessary. The test was for Stella's file in case any issues should arise in the future. I even contacted a lawyer, mostly out of principal (as I'm just that kind of girl) and said I paid for the stupid test I want a copy of it, also how the heck do I know they're even telling me the truth about the results and not just telling me what they want the results to be. The lawyer told me I could spend the next 10 years fighting it, but all I would be doing is wasting my time and money. He said it didn't matter in the end anyways because the BSL was amended last year to add "and all mixes that bear the physical characteristics of one of these breeds" apparently that is their loop-hole, because 10 people can look at a dog and see 10 different breeds, but people will always see what they want to see. The lawyer said I'm not the first, nor will I be the last to try and fight the BSL or any small part of it I can. He said he thinks they amended it because at one point last year there were over 50 lawsuits against the city, AC and some vets for identifying their dogs as APBT/AmStaff/StaffTerr when they weren't. That's why they added the 4th "type" of dog and added the DNA test. So later people can't come back and say their dog isn't that breed.
    I can't afford to do my own personal DNA test again, especially with Christmas coming, but I fully intend to so I know for sure. The 6 months I've had Stella have cost me over $5,000 in classes, tests, license, vet bills (I swear they're making me use the most expensive vet in the city, maybe they get a cut!) add to that food and other necessities for her and I'm reaching my limit! I get to look forward to doing it all again when she reaches sexual maturity and has to be retested.
  11. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    Well you'll never know for sure. DNA tests as breed indicators are completely worthless. I'm betting your vet just looked at your dog and pulled a mix out of the air. Because your dog really doesn't look like a Rottweiler at all.
  12. cndnchksrock

    cndnchksrock Puppy

    I didn't think so either. Most people who see her say "she definitely has GSD in her", probably more because of her colouring then anything else. In my avatar pic her ears are standing up more then usual because I had a carrot in my hand trying to keep her attention for the picture, and she puts them up when she's paying attention to something like a carrot or a bird outside! Usually they fall to the sides, but even then she has ears that seem way too big for her head! What breeds do you think she might be? It doesn't matter to me what she is, but it does make me curious.
  13. shotgun_wg

    shotgun_wg Little Dog

    It is a way to price u out of your dog. If they keep charging u for stuff u will reach ur financial limit. At that point u will miss a class or not be able to afford the license or accidentally go outside without a muzzle. At that point they get ur dog put it down and now there is one less. Also u can bet ur tail someone is getting a lil padding of the pocket from the vet.

  14. BCdogs

    BCdogs Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    Honestly, I know it isn't reasonable, but I would find some way to move. That is just beyond what I could handle. I would have gone apeshit on someone by now. Is all of Quebec like that or just your city? Come join me in the sticks in BC. ;)
  15. cndnchksrock

    cndnchksrock Puppy

    I was born in Calgary and actually have lots of family in BC! I've only been in Quebec 2 years, work brought us here and now that my daughter is in high school it complicates things for her if I move. Besides I definitely can't go back to Ontario there is a complete ban there. Stella isn't even allowed to drive through the province in my car. I'd have to go through the USA just to get to BC! Although, it would make for some great sightseeing along the way! Here are a few better pics of her.

    Attached Files:

  16. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    I actually see a lot of Kelpie in her.
  17. cndnchksrock

    cndnchksrock Puppy

    I'm embarrassed to say I had to look up Kelpie as I'd never heard of it before. You're right though, she does look like one...especially the big ears! I noticed after I posted those pics that from the front and side she looks like two completely different dogs!
  18. cndnchksrock

    cndnchksrock Puppy

    @Shotgun_wg...I couldn't have said it better myself. That is exactly what I feel like they're hoping to do. That and setting the dogs up to fail all their stupid "tests" so they can say "see, I told you these dogs are dangerous"
  19. BCdogs

    BCdogs Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    She's gorgeous. I wish you luck and hope you guys succeed in these ridiculous classes.
  20. dogeatdog

    dogeatdog Good Dog

    I hope all is successful for you too, I know my dog would fail.
    Your dog to me looks like a Huntaway, interestingly they were thought to have been breed from rottweilers (plus heaps of others) though the true origins of the breed are not known.

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