In light of Montréal’s recent pit bull ban, advocacy group Halifax Bully Breeds organized a march in downtown Halifax on Saturday to support ownership of all pit bull dog breeds.
The event was titled “Halifax March Against BSL.” BSL stands for breed-specific legislation which is a law that applies to a specific breed or breeds of animals.
Montréal’s city council voted 37-23 in favour of the new bylaw last week. The bylaw includes a ban on new pit bull-type dogs and restrictions on the ones currently living in the city.
Danielle Yorke, the founder of Halifax Bully Breeds, describes Montréal’s pit bull ban as “ridiculous.”
“We hope that with throwing these kinds of events, we can maintain the idea that responsible ownership is always more effective than breed discrimination,” says Yorke. “We never want to see BSL in Halifax.”
Halifax Bully Breeds (@hfxbullybreeds) was formed by Yorke in 2013. She was later joined by Krista Sutherland, Kate Havard, and Candice Scott. The group has accumulated over 3,800 likes on Facebook.
Yorke has owned her pit bull, Zeus, for four years, since he was a puppy. She describes Zeus as athletic, eager to learn and incredibly smart.
“He’s super people-oriented and often ignores other dogs to instead greet their people,” she said. “If he’s ever stressed, I remove him from that scenario. I make sure to be a responsible owner and constantly observe and manage.”
Halifax Bully Breeds wants to educate the public.
“What we would like to see is mandatory training, more rules implemented in regards to licensing, and tougher penalties for owners that do not follow these licensing rules,” says Havard, administrator of Halifax Bully Breeds.
Brittany Frizzell is one of the many supporters in favour of ending breed-specific legislation. She has owned her pit bull, Gucci, for five years. “It breaks my heart, and it’s frustrating,” says Frizzell. “Those 37 voters had too much power for being so uneducated about this breed.”
“Everyone will keep fighting this together and do everything possible to help these innocent dogs have the life all types of dogs deserve.”
Kristylee Morse is another patron in favour of ending BSL. She joined in on the protest with her family. “For them to be doing this to the dogs is awful,” she says.
Morse has three pit-bull dogs, including one named Oakley that is a therapy dog for her daughter.
“My daughter has really high anxiety and suffers from panic attacks, so when she’s having a hard day the dog calms her down and helps her.”
Halifax Bully Breeds met in Cornwallis Park at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and were joined by over 150 supporters and their dogs. The people and their dogs socialized with one another for about 30 minutes before everyone started walking towards Grande Parade Square.
The groups next goal is to achieve ‘non-profit’ status so they can begin fundraising. They hope that one day they will be able to donate money to similar causes on behalf of Halifax Bully Breeds.
“There is no other kind of support system for bully breeds and their owners in the HRM or even Nova Scotia,” says Yorke. “We’re it.”