News / Calgary

Calgary remains opposed to pit bull ban after fatal mauling

Calgary has no plans to ban or otherwise restrict pit bulls after three of the dogs were involved in a fatal encounter in a city dog park.

“The City of Calgary does not promote breed bans,” Animal and Bylaw Services operations co-ordinator Doug Anderson said Wednesday. “We find that they don't work.”

A Pomeranian died in the encounter on Monday, while another dog, a Great Pyrenees, was seriously injured.

Anderson said both off-leash animals approached a man walking three “average-sized” pit bulls on leash, “on the borderline” of the boundaries of an off-leash area in Ogden.

The owner of one pit bull, Stephen Paquish, has been charged with having an animal causing death and having an unlicensed dog.

Anderson said the other two pit bulls belong to a person who lives outside of Calgary.

Bylaw officers seized the pit bulls, which are due to undergo behaviour tests. Anderson said the outcome could be anything from returning the animals to their owners to the dogs being destroyed.

Charges are also being considered against the owner of the off-leash dogs, Anderson said.

The Calgary Humane Society is also opposed to breed-specific legislation, said head of animal behaviour, Barbara Walmer.

“It has not been proven to be effective,” she said.

Despite frequent attention on pit bulls, Walmer said the city’s own statistics reveal other breeds are more frequently involved in attacks.

Anderson said herding dogs were the “top-biting dogs” in Calgary last year.

Why no breed-specific law?

  • Because pit bulls are not recognized breeds and there is a degree of subjectivity in exactly what defines them, it is difficult to make breed-specific laws, according to Doug Anderson with Animal and Bylaw Services.
  • "We would rather deal with the behaviour issues and the owners' responsibility," Anderson said.

More on