Published in the Vancouver Province among others...

lori welbourne gag order pit bulls lori welbourne jim huntI received a call last week from the owner of a media company that’s been publishing my column for almost four years. He claimed my recent article “Pit bull propaganda is deadly” had caused such a negative backlash that he and his wife felt it necessary to cancel my column.

“We love your work,” he said. “And we don’t disagree with you on this issue, but these people are very hostile and they won’t let up. They’re relentless.”

Yes, many of them are. That’s what my article titled “Won’t back down” from two weeks ago was about. His news site didn’t run that column, though. Not the next one either, despite it having nothing to do with pit bulls. The aggressive vocal minority accomplished what they set out to do: I was removed from the list of columnists, and my voice with the media company’s readers was silenced.

This is certainly nothing new. Any media that’s dared to publish facts about the inherent dangers of pit bulls has had to deal with mob campaigns conducted by pit bull fanatics from all over North America threatening to harass advertisers or whatever else they can think of in order to convince editors and publishers to shy away from this topic in the future.

“Don’t bully my breed” is a common message from the pit bull advocacy camp. Ironically, they have no problem bullying anyone who speaks the horrifying truth, and that includes the bereaved parents of dead children who were killed by pit bulls.

Celebrities and high-profile people have felt their wrath as well. In 2012 it was reported in the Vancouver Sun that Miss Universe Canada believed the provincial government should either adopt a pit bull ban or at least require them to be leashed and muzzled at all times. After the story came out the ferocious reaction against her was widespread, sparking an online petition from California asking for 10,000 signatures to strip Sahar Biniaz of her title. It ended up garnering 6718 supporters and oodles of vicious comments accusing her of being a hateful, lying, moronic, breedist bimbo. The fact she’d been attacked by her own well-raised, much-loved family pit bull at the age of 14 only proved to them that she was a whiny loser who obviously did something to provoke the dog.

American television personality Kelly Ripa experienced similar fallout later that year in October after she made a rather innocuous inquiry on her talk show while interviewing actor Christopher Walken about the breed of dog his character had in the movie he was promoting: “I mean, if it’s a gangster, it would have to be a dangerous pit bull kind of dog, right?”

Word quickly spread over social media about her ignorant stereotyping of the poor misunderstood breed – during “Pit Bull Awareness Month” no less. On at least one of the petitions against her, they falsely changed her quote to: “Pits are dangerous and only gang bangers and thugs own them.”

The multimillion-dollar-funded pit bull advocacy camp is very efficient. As soon as an article or interview perceived to be maligning the reputation of the pit bull has been posted to the internet, the troops are gathered to launch their assault. Nancy Grace, Judge Judy, Dr. Laura and many radio hosts, journalists and TV personalities have experienced it first hand.

This menacing group may be able to intimidate some into silence, and they may be able to trick some into believing pit bulls are just like any other dog, but they can’t seem to stop the ongoing daily attacks reported in the news. They also can’t change the fact that pit bulls only make up 6% of the dog population in the U.S., yet maim, disfigure and kill more children, adults, pets and livestock than all other breeds combined. None of the other 160+ breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club even come close.

Censoring this message isn’t just disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of human and animal victims, it’s highly irresponsible to the public at large.

We deserve to know these dogs were bred to fight to the death and don’t require bad owners or training for their genetics to kick in. We deserve to know that an enforced BSL (breed specific legislation) works for the betterment of all, and that’s why public safety advocates as well as the largest animal rights organization in the world fully support it.

For several years PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has stated the only way to stop the killing of millions of unwanted pit bulls is to stop creating new ones. So why does the breeding continue? Why does the propaganda persist?

Ontario has banned pit bulls for 10 years now, implementing stricter regulations such as having to wear a muzzle for grandfathered pit bulls. In 2004, the last full year before the ban, there were 984 licensed pit bulls in Toronto and 168 reported bites. Last year there were 501 licensed pit bulls and only 13 bites. The number of reported bites dropped significantly from 168 to 13. Enforced BSL works and our entire continent should be implementing it immediately.

For more information please visit: NationalPitBullVictimAwareness.orgBanPitBulls.org or DogsBite.org or DaxtonsFriends.com or Animals24-7.org or NonLinearDogs.com