Today I saw a man kick his dog

Open letter to our elected officials

Dear:  Federal, Provincial and Municipal politicians in Canada

April 8, 2011

This evening my son and I were travelling along Bradley Ave. in London, Ontario near Ernest.  Along the side of the road walked two men in their mid-twenties.  The man with short, sandy hair in the dark, spring jacket had a dog with him.

 The dog looked to be a Rottweiler.  My eyes only caught a glimpse of the dog as it cowered and cringed.  You see, the man stopped to kick the dog in the belly.

There didn’t seem to be any rage in his actions.  It was one kick to the belly – a calm, purposeful kick.  He appeared to be “training” the dog to walk nicely on leash.  It was calculated.

Stunned and stuck in traffic, I struggled with what to do.  By the time I managed to turn my vehicle around, both men and the dog had disappeared into the surrounding buildings.

My son was quite distraught.  Hitting, kicking – a child knows that these things are not right.  A 9-year-old has enough common sense to ask, “If you kick a dog, won’t it bite?”

Years of pent up frustration is now getting poured into this letter.  I feel angry.  That anger is not directed at the man who was walking his dog.  I’m livid with the various levels of government.

Don’t tell me to contact the S.P.C.A. because we have animal cruelty laws.  Animal cruelty laws are ridiculously lax. 

These techniques are so commonplace that they are televised.  They are broadcast on national television where average, nice people see “miraculous” rehabilitations and then copy the techniques at home.

It seems a lot like airing a parenting show where the experts hit little children.

Consider this:  Kicking and hitting have been used by some dog trainers.  No, it’s not called kicking or hitting.  It’s called a tap, correction or discipline.  It’s not semantics.  Those words make it sound so much friendlier that way.  I prefer to call a spade a spade.

The various government departments seem to have enough time and resources to spend on other types of pet laws.  Currently, tax laws are proposing that animal welfare groups cannot have charitable tax status if they negatively impact business.  Money over morals I’d call that.

Come to Ontario and they have plenty of time and money to enact a breed ban.  It must be the breed that’s aggressive.  It can’t possibly be that some dogs are kicked and hit.  It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the Rottweiler I saw today cracks and attacks.

Do politicians find breed bans more appealing because animals don’t vote?  No wait – most Canadians don’t vote.  If they’re like me, it’s because they’re disillusioned.

I’ve spoken to my fair share of politicians.  Each level of government points their finger at another level of government.  They sound like a bunch of school children running away from a glass of spilled milk yelling, “Not me!  Not me!”

Here’s the part that really infuriates me.  Research shows these methods trigger aggression in dogs.  They put people at risk of injury.  It’s a matter of public safety.  Why is this allowed?

As a mother, I find it offensive that children, seniors and other people may be harmed because no one has the guts to stand up and say, “It’s time to regulate this industry.”

Sorry, but I think it’s time someone sucked it up and gave a damn.  I don’t care which level of government is responsible.  Sort it out amongst yourselves like big kids.