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posted September 16, 2004

One Person's Letter to the Attorney General

American Pit Bull

Dear Mr.Bryant,

The Toronto Star has published your e-mail address, asking for thoughts on your proposed pit bull ban. At our park there have been quite a few young men over the years who have had a pit bull as a status symbol. This has at the very least been disturbing, and sometimes much worse, for other park users. (See the incident reported in our park newsletter, from last year).

The year before that, there was a planned pit bull fight in the park in March that had been advertised at several schools, and therefore had a large audience.

In both of these park pit bull crises, the police were not able to respond quickly, and of course even in the attack this week as reported in the news, the police response came after there was already terrible damage done. Clearly, the police can't be on the spot instantly whenever a pit bull attacks.

Over the years I have spoken with many of these young pit bull owners (I work in our park), and most of them have taken steps to curb their dogs. However there are always new young men bringing new pit bulls, and so the atmosphere of menace can flare up at any time. Today I spoke to some of the folks who are part of the pit bull culture. They had all heard the radio reports. To my surprise, they seemed to be quite resigned to the possibility that pit bulls might become illegal, and not very bothered by it.

This made me wonder whether the pit bull situation is similar to that of the Boston Gun Project -- when the laws in Boston were toughened so that guns and gun battles became much harder for the young people, they did not lose face by abandoning their guns, and so the gun crisis abated. It's my impression that if pit bulls are outlawed in Toronto, or in Ontario--

  1. young persons in our neighbourhood who formerly flaunted a pit bull will obey
  2. the rest of the neighbourhood will be enthusiastic eyes and ears for enforcement
  3. your action to ban these dogs will have broad support</li>

Jutta Mason

Dufferin Grove Park

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