Do you agree with ‘Breed Specific Legislation’, which requires all dogs deemed “dangerous breeds” to wear a muzzle while in public, even if they have never attacked a person or another animal?
Richmond residents Shaun and Leanne Bird do not, and now they are petitioning for the city of Richmond to allow for exemptions under the ‘Breed Specific Legislation’ to allow for their blind Staffordshire Bull-Terrier mix, named Peanut, to walk around the neighbourhood on leash but without a muzzle.
According to Leanne and Shaun, Peanut, who was adopted by the couple in 2012, is a very gentle mixed-breed showing characteristics of a Staffordshire Bull-Terrier and due to the City of Richmond’s current ‘Breed Specific Legislation’ (“BSL”) they registered her as a “dangerous dog”.
However, shortly thereafter, they after they realized that she was born with Progressive Retinal Atrophy, an inherited disease, which has left her functionally blind
Leanne and Shaun say that many people in their neighbourhood are inspired by Peanut’s ability to preserve through her adversities and, because she is very well trained, she has become very well known to families in their area.
One of the Richmond’s ‘Breed Specific Legislation’ requirements is that all “dangerous dogs” must wear a muzzle outside of their home. Peanut relies heavily on her whiskers in order to navigate in the outside world and all muzzles of all types/materials interfere significantly with her whiskers, which she uses to feel a wall before she hits it, or feel the edge of stairs or our car before falling.
Leanne and Shaun have asked the city of Richmond to review and amend their Animal Control Regulation Bylaws to allow for exemptions and they refused, noting that they must make difficult decisions for the overall well-being of the Community and in doing so can not necessarily align themselves with the wishes of all their residents.
Now, the couple has started a petition on change.org in hopes that public opinion will help to change the city’s mind about ‘Breed Specific Legislation’.
The couple says that not only would this change allow Peanut, and other special needs dogs like her, the opportunity to prove that a muzzle is not necessary, it will keep Richmond safer by encouraging owners to train and prove their pitbulls to be valued members of the community.
Do you think it’s fair to blanket all dogs deemed “dangerous breeds” with ‘Breed Specific Legislation’?
Should the city of Richmond allow for an exemption for Peanut?
Listen to Simi’s interview with Leanne and Shaun Bird: