Friday, May 23, 2008

A Great Perspective on Pit Bulls from the New Burnaby SPCA Manager

How fantastic is this article! Thank-you to Voutilainen for showing great understanding of dog behavior.

Don't ban pit bulls - manager

Brooke Larsen, Burnaby Now

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2008

When it comes to pit bulls, Ryan Voutilainen's philosophy is simple: ban the deed, not the breed.

When asked if pit bulls should be banned in Metro Vancouver, the manager of Burnaby's SPCA branch answered "definitely not."

"Any dog that, generally, has bitten somebody has done that because we've failed it in some way, not because of the dog," Voutilainen said.

Furry friends: Ryan Voutilainen gets some affection from a couple of the canine residents at Burnaby's SPCA shelter.

He also said that if pit bulls are banned, it sends the message that other breeds are completely safe.

"It gives people a false sense of security that their animal would be fine," he said.

Last week, a pit bull attacked an 11-year-old Surrey boy at a school playground.

A neighbour came to his rescue and fought the dog off with a baseball bat.

The boy suffered wounds to his legs, arm and head and required surgery and more than 100 stitches.

Voutilainen, who has worked as an animal cruelty investigator, said dogs that are neglected or abused by their owners are the most dangerous.He often saw dogs tied up in backyards for long periods that showed signs of serious stress, he said.(

"They don't know how to react around other dogs and around people," he added.

"The big thing is education, and educating people that dogs have requirements."

That also means knowing whether your dog needs a muzzle when it's taken out in public, he said.

But Voutilainen said muzzles shouldn't be mandatory for pit bulls.

"I don't think that's necessarily a requirement, either," he said.

He describes pit bulls as "status dogs," often sought after because of their tough, muscular look.

At the shelter, they are treated like any other dog, he said.

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