Calgary agencies are concerned about online sales of suspected fighting dogs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2010:
CALGARY–Discoveries of scarred, earless pit bull terriers
and proliferating online ads apparently worded to sell fighting dogs
in early November 2010 caused Calgary Humane Society executive
director Patricia Cameron and Calgary Animal Services director Bill
Bruce to appeal for community vigilance against dogfighting.
Cameron and Bruce asked the online trading post Kijiji.ca to
block dog ads using phrases such as “large head size” and “fearless,
aggressive and strong,” reported Kenyon Wallace of The National Post.
Kijiji.ca already claimed to have blocked ads for pit bulls.
“When there’s a suspicion that we’re dealing with such ads where a
poster might be trading a dog for the purpose of fighting, we’re
going to take down the ad,” Kijiji head of customer support
Christian Jasserand told Wallace.
But ANIMAL PEOPLE found in a November 28 spot-check that
about 4% of the ads at the Kijiji.ca Calgary web site were for pit
bulls, under a variety of common names for “bully” breeds. These
breed names did not appear on the Kijiji.ca Vancouver web site.
Cameron told media that she suspects pit bulls are imported
into Alberta to guard marijuana crops.
“Interestingly, the problem isn’t in Calgary but in some of
the rural areas,” Bruce told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “We did have a breeder
try to start up in the city, breeding for aggression and shipping
puppies south of the border for significant dollars, but he was
swiftly dealt with,” in August 2009.
“What the media responded to,” Bruce continued, “is that we
have seen a few dogs with injuries consistent with fighting. Our
biggest challenge is the on-line sales. We find many [of the
sellers] aren’t anywhere near Calgary but use it as an address to
throw off the scent.”
Calgary has by far the highest rate of dog licensing
compliance in North America and perhaps the world, exceeding 90%,
more than twice the highest rate ever achieved by any U.S. city of
comparable size. Bruce contends that enforcing the licensing law and
other conventional dog ordinances will prevent dogfighting and dog
attacks without need for breed-specific laws. But Bruce acknowledges
having investigated some nasty incidents.
In May and June 2009, for example, pit bulls were
repeatedly released from vans to attack residents of East Asian
descent, injuring a three-year-old, a four-year-old, and men aged
70, 78, and about 55. A 27-year-old woman pleaded guilty in
connection with three of the attacks. Additional suspects were
beyond Calgary jurisdiction.
In May 2010 a bull mastiff attacked two teenagers, then
severely injured a woman just a week later. In each case the dog
initially attacked smaller dogs who were being walked by the human
“Our bites took another big drop last year, down to 58
total, most of which happened in-house to a family member or guest,”
Bruce said. “Our numbers look strong again this year. So, we don’t
anticipate changing our position, but we will continue to take very
strong action against anyone who has a dangerous animal.”