Tragic incidents involving dogs and children fueled talk of “vicious breeds” and “breed bans” over the past weeks. The media, as usual, locked on to the hype, running gruesome injury photos, interviews with traumatized mothers, and calls to ban the breed.
There’s little to no discussion about the dogs in question, their backgrounds, and the circumstances leading up to these bites. While the media calls us in some cases to “defend the breed” it’s still extremely rare to see animal professionals being consulted for an informed perspective on dog behaviour or ways to prevent these attacks. Nor do we see numbers on the frequency of pit bull attacks on the local or provincial level.
It’s time to move away from knee-jerk reactions and sensationalistic coverage. We need to have a constructive and rational conversation about breeds, bites, and bans. And so we are issuing a challenge to all Vancouver area media outlets and city councillors:
HugABull is reserving seats for editors, reporters, journalists, city councillors or bylaw staff to attend a Beyond the Myth screening in Vancouver on October 20 or 28.
Two tickets will be available for each media outlet, and for each city with BSL. Journalists may cover the event if they wish and interview any of our representatives or panellists, or they may simply sit in the audience anonymously.
Why should they attend? Because they’ve shown incredible interest in “pit bull maulings” and “breed bans” in the past; by extension there should be interest in an acclaimed documentary on the topic, presented for the first time on the Canadian west coast. And since they make time to talk to victims in pit bull attacks, perhaps it’s time to hear from the animal control and animal welfare experts on our panel.
How can you help?
As a first step, you can help us build our list. Please comment on this post or on our Facebook page with the names of media outlets, reporters, or municipal representatives who you think could benefit from a little more education on “the pit bull problem”.
Global BC News
Globe & Mail
Peace Arch News
The Surrey Now
The Vancouver Sun
(CBC News and CBC Radio One will also be invited, but we believe they deserve some kudos for a couple of fresh perspectives on the story. CBC News aired a sequence about dogs and children, and CBC Radio One aired a story on media bias and discussed their own role in sensationalizing stories. Well done, and an example to be followed.)
Burnaby – contact form on their website
New Westminster – email email@example.com
Pitt Meadows – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Richmond – email email@example.com
West Vancouver – email MayorandCouncil@westvancouver.ca
We will extend invitations but it’s a long list we could use your help. Please help us share this opportunity by emailing, Facebooking, Tweeting – any way you feel like respectfully reaching out to the people who would most benefit from this event. Ask if they are aware of the opportunity to attend, let them know why it matters, and encourage them to register for tickets with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share your ideas by commenting below, by joining the discussion on our Facebook page or Twitter feed, or by email. We’re excited to see what we can do together, and to open up a long overdue dialogue with media and policy-makers!
For more information on the event, visit www.hugabull.com/btm