Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

London Animal Control – Overly Diligent Much?

London Ontario Thinks Solo Might be a Dangerous DogDo you remember this little guy?

He’s Solo, our singleton French Bulldog puppy, born last fall. He was cute then, and he’s still cute now – a happy little bundle of cream, with a big grin and even bigger ears.

Unfortunately, to the city of London, Ontario, Solo is just one more ‘potential Pit Bull’ – and they’re not taking any chances on him rampaging around the town, savaging stuffed animals and viciously attacking sticks.

After a few recent posts to the Frenchie mailing lists about the possible risk to French Bulldogs because of Ontario’s so-called ‘Pit Bull’ ban, I received an email from Solo’s mom. Solo lives with his family in London, Ontario, where he shares the house with two kids, his mom and dad and assorted small animals.

Solo’s mom, who has asked to remain anonymous for fear that they’ll be targeted by London Animal Control, related to me what had happened when she attempted to purchase a City of London Dog License for Solo.

Solo’s mom (whom I’m just going to call ‘dog mom’ from now on, for the sake of brevity) says she’d called Animal Control to ask about licensing her new dog, which she mentioned was an un neutered French Bulldog. AC told her that she should neuter him asap, in order to take advantage of their altered dog discount, but she told them that her breeder had advised her to wait until he was at least six months old. After providing her payment information, Dog Mom hung up and assumed that the license was all taken care of, and would be arriving in the mail.

A short time later that same day, Animal Control called her back, to say that there was a ‘problem’ with her application. Dog mom assumed she’d given them the wrong credit card number, but AC corrected her – the problem wasn’t with her card, it was with her dog. They were going to have to come to do a ‘personal inspection’ on him – and, in fact, someone was on their way as they were speaking. Dog mom mentioned to me that she’d had dog licenses from the City of London in the past with no problems, and that her black Lab had been licensed every year, without an inspection. This time, it seemed, an inspection was absolutely essential – and apparently urgent – to the London Animal Control.

Vicious French Bulldog savaging his owner's legs.

Vicious French Bulldog savaging his owner's legs.

Dog mom had her parents’ cats staying with her at the time, and since she knew the cats weren’t licensed (they weren’t hers, and they’re indoor cats, but the City of London is apparently inflexible about this rule, as well) she rushed to stash them away in an upstairs bedroom, all while frantically looking for the folder with Solo’s paperwork in it.

It suddenly hit her, as she was running around in a panic – why are they coming to inspect her dog? What were they expecting – or hoping – to find? Worried thoughts were passing through her head as she waited for the knock on the door. Was there something she didn’t know about French Bulldogs? What could they do to her dog if he was found to be the ‘wrong kind’ of breed?

An Animal Control van arrived in front of her house, and a uniformed female officer knocked on the door. She was greeted by a jumping, drooling, happy French Bulldog puppy who was busy trying to pull her jacket off.

The AC officer crouched down and ‘inspected’ Solo thoroughly, looking over every inch of him with due diligence. What could she have possibly been looking for so carefully, on a twelve pound puppy? Locking jaws? A hidden switchblade? Who knows. Finally, she mentioned that he was cute. At this point, Dog Mom had regained enough confidence to ask why he needed to be inspected, and was told that they “had to make sure he wasn’t a Pit Bull”. Dog Mom offered to provide his paperwork, but apparently the ‘inspection’ holds more weight than any mere ‘registration’ papers might.

Dog Mom wishes now she’d asked what would have happened if Solo had failed his inspection. I suspect she’d be happier not knowing the answer to that question.

There are numerous stories on the web about the fact that the City of London’s Animal Control seems to take the job of weeding out Pit Bulls very seriously. While other city’s Animal Control officers are reluctant to identify even possible Pit Bulls, for fear of what will happen to them, City of London AC reacts with a kind of zealous enthusiasm that can be more accurately compared to a witch hunt than to a normal enforcement of the law.

I was curious to learn if other Animal Control bodies were as enthusiastic about enforcing the Pit Bull laws as London is, so I made a few phone calls.

My first was to London Animal Control, where I was told very clearly that all dogs require a ‘personal inspection’ to ensure that they are not Pit Bulls. I asked what criteria they use for this determination, and they listed off a series of physical characteristics that could apply to almost any breed – or mixed breed – from a Boston Terrier to a Bullmastiff. I tried to capture the audio during the phone call, but iTunes crashed half way through, and I was pretty sure that the (already suspicious) Animal Control officer on the phone would figure out what I was doing if I asked him to start all over again, and speak a little more loudly.

My next call was to Kitchener Animal control. Was a personal inspection required? No, just proof of spay or neuter, in order to qualify for the discount. Same with Toronto, Owen Sound and Windsor. Looks like only London is actually chasing down, in person, every single dog in the city that applies for a license.

It’s good to see people who really enjoy their work.. even if their work is killing dogs who just happen to be of the wrong breed. Or who, like Solo, might fit an arbitrary check list of characteristics.

More Solo photos are below, or over on Flickr.

15 replies
  1. EmilyS
    EmilyS says:

    oh lord, don’t tell Caveat; it will give her a heart attack.

    What is WITH these stupid, venal, vicious animal control people??? Are they completely insane and immoral?

  2. Caveat
    Caveat says:

    Caveat already knows that London is a hell-hole, has been since the beginning.

    The morons probably think French Bulldog means the same as French Mastiff which is Dogue de Bordeaux, which the new AG who represents London believes is a ‘pit bull’.

    Or maybe they’ve gleaned from internet boards that ‘bulldog’ is sometimes used by APBT owners, since they most resemble the original bulldog. So they figure bulldog means it could be a scary ‘pit bull’.

    Or maybe it’s just bull. Which is the most likely.

    Thing is, when you give a weapon to power-tripping lowbrows with no self-esteem then give them the power to fire at will toward anybody who owns a dog, this is what happens.

    Exactly as predicted, by the way.

    I hope people are starting to see why we’ve been in this so deeply for going on five years now. Most of the people in our group don’t own banned breeds, you know.

    All dogs are at risk. All dog owners are now second-class citizens under the law.

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Absolutely. We’ve been dreading it ever since the law went into affect – what would happen when some idiot decided a Frenchie was a ‘pit bull’?

      There were a few stories at the Toronto French Bulldog meet up about people who had been accosted and asked why their dog wasn’t muzzled, including one woman who said a police car pulled over to ask her why she didn’t have a muzzle on her seven month old Frenchie puppy. There were a few more rumors about people with English Bulldogs being told that their dogs are ‘banned’, and one guy who said his neighbours had phoned AC on him, but that when AC came out and saw his dog, they just laughed it off.

      For the most part, however, most Frenchie owners still think that this can’t/won’t/doesn’t affect them, and are skipping merrily on their way, wondering what all the fuss is about.

      Sean said to me tonight that I shouldn’t have even written about this — what if AC reads it, gets pissed off, and comes out and picks Solo up and euthanizes him, in a form of retaliation?

      That’s the mindset we’re living with now — a police state where it seems completely reasonable to believe that uniformed animal cops can show up at your door, tear your dog out of your arms, and kill it, because you told the truth.

      Welcome to Ontario.

  3. EmilyS
    EmilyS says:

    ok, EVEN IF the anti “pit bull” law made any sense (which of course it does not), there is NOTHING in the descriptions of “pit bull” that their law references that even remotely describes a Fwenchy (I know it’s too much to ask that they learn about the history of these breeds which are barely even remotely related). So not only are they stupid, ignorant and immoral, they are f’ng BLIND.

    I understand the owner being afraid of retaliation, but really London ACO should be held up to public ridicule and censure the same way HSUS is over their demand that tiny baby pit bull puppies be massacred in NC, USA.

  4. Jenniferj
    Jenniferj says:

    Well, you can’t fix stupid. But you can call it out, get it beat hopefully in a future election or maybe fired if it’s idiocy shows too much.

    The problem is that the majority of pet owners don’t get it and many who have been very poorly educated by our mass and local media probably think it’s all a good thing and if a “few” innocent dogs get killed, well there must be hundreds of bad ones that they “saved” everyone from.

    The problem is that any ACO who really believes pits are eeevil probably knows very little about dogs or canine history or behavior.

    And if it’s OK to kill any pit or pit like dog then the actual value of the human-canine bond sure does not count for much.

    And you have Toledo ACs shooting and killing 10-15 pound dogs with tranquilizers cause they’re potentially “vicious”.

    Apparently those guys watched Monty Python’s “Killer Rabbit” scene and got confused.

    BTW, my friends pig had her babies. At two in the morning. At three I woke up and remembered! The pig appropriate term for birth is “farrowing”. So there go a few more brain cells. 🙂

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      The problem is that the majority of pet owners don’t get it and many who have been very poorly educated by our mass and local media probably think it’s all a good thing and if a “few” innocent dogs get killed, well there must be hundreds of bad ones that they “saved” everyone from.

      The argument I just spent days having was with a former ACO who thinks exactly that – that the Pit Bull laws are a-ok, because hey – they’re just $25 doorbells for criminals, and if you’re not a criminal, why would you want to have one? Just the very act of desiring to own a Pit Bull makes you suspect. And hey, if a few ‘other’ dogs get caught up, well, it’ll all be worth it in the end. No idea what they think that ‘end’ will be…

      Farrowing! Yes, of course. Why hello there, early senility! Nice to… err… something or other.

  5. Caveat
    Caveat says:

    No, they won’t do anything, they are cowards. I always say you are safer standing in the middle of the street yelling at the top of your lungs than hiding in bed with the covers pulled over your head.

    We’ll try to get some media on this. That will guarantee they won’t bug her.

    Heck, I’ve been calling them out for years now – where are they? I’ve got ‘pit bull’ stickers on my car, am insulting them on a regular basis in the paper and on my blog and more. Come on, McGuinty, show me some love, man.

    Ewww, that didn’t come out properly…

  6. KC KS Kills Dogs
    KC KS Kills Dogs says:

    In Kansas City, Kansas USA the city has a pit bull ban. The ACO’s who all rode the short bus in school have confiscated everything from Labradors to Catahoulas and declared the dogs pit bulls. They don’t even try to be discreet in what breeds of dogs they confiscate, they are just trying to make stats.

    But the best one yet, they confiscated a dog from some pet owners who had adopted the GSD mix from the city pound. Yes the ACO’s had adopted out this dog, Roscoe. The owner not knowing their rights handed over the dog and thought the next day all would be straightened out when they took in their paperwork that proved the KCKS city pound had adopted out the dog to them.

    Yep the staff was caught with their pants down. Do you think they handed the dog back to the owner? NO! They ticketed the owner for neglect and not having the dog neutered and held the dog for another 2 months. Finally the media made a big stink about it, Kansas City Dog Advocates got involved and the family finally got their pooch back.

    Nice way to enforce Public Safety and waste a bunch of tax money.

  7. Navan
    Navan says:

    I thought anyone could tell the difference between a pit bull and a french bulldog- especially “trained” animal control officers??? they should spend thier time and rescorces to investigate legitimate issues- such as domestic and farm animal cruelty. I live in the Kitchener area, close to London, the surrounding areas are agricultural and farming- and I can assure you I have seen many cases of farm animal cruelty- from overcrowded, poor living conditions, to dead or dying turkeys and chickens being transported to slaughter, in blistering heat, and freezing cold, snow and ice. Travelling on the 401 as I do, I see it far too much. Who can speak for these poor creatures? Not the London Animal Control Officers- guarenteed.

  8. Pai
    Pai says:

    It’s terrifying that the people who are the most ignorant about dogs seem to be the ones enforcing and making all these laws. It’s like a thug state.

  9. Fred
    Fred says:

    You should add Mississauga to that list of anti-dog cities. Another problem with those cities inflicting their dog appearance standards on their own residents is that they also make it more difficult for less prejudicial jurisdictions to adopt out any dog that remotely resembles their pit bull description even if that dog has nothing to do with a pit bull at all.

    Imagine walking down a street in Mississauga or London and having your dog, which was adopted out of another jurisdiction’s shelter, seized by the local animal control because the ac officer didn’t like the looks of it. Not good for the owner. Especially not good for the dog.

    Worse still would be if it became a hot button issue between two cities. Whose side do you think the attorney general would support? Which cities would have their adoption policies more closely scrutinized?

    Fred’s last blog post..Buzzkill

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