The Pit-bull breed stood out in my eyes because of their unusual level of loyalty, affection and devotion. In my five years at the Toronto Humane Society I walked many dogs which were absolutely lovely that I would love to adopt but knew because of legislation I could not. This is when I met my precious Captain.
I met Captain in early 2009; he was abandoned by his owner with a broken leg. To his advantage he ended up at the Toronto Humane Society (under old leadership) and was quickly cared for by a veterinary team. At this point the THS would take in abandoned and/or abused Pit-bulls; the ones with status were adopted out in Ontario and the ones without status were sent to a training centre in Chicago, U.S.A.
Every three months the staff at THS would send five Pit-bulls away to Chicago; Captain and a few other Pit-bulls were waiting for their turn. This is about the point, in November 2009, that the THS was raided by the Ontario Society for the Protection of Animals (OSPCA). At this point I began to feel the pressure of the Pit-bull ban and I instantly sensed that under the care of the OSPCA, Captain’s life was in danger. It was devastating to think that my best friend could be killed at any moment without intervention from the people that loved him most.
At the shelter you see the best and the worst of people; the people working under the surveillance of the OSPCA completely ignored and disregarded the importance of Captain in my life and in the lives of other volunteers that loved him unconditionally. For the OSPCA staff Captain and the other Pit-bulls were just a banned breed of dog that didn’t have the right to life; for me and the other volunteers these banned Pit-bulls were our best friends.
The day I greatly feared arrived and on March 26, 2010 Captain along with five other Pit-bulls lost their lives. What was so shocking about the whole situation was the manner in which the staff carried out the euthanization. Captain along with the others were dragged by pole to their death and after being euthanized their bodies were put into garbage bags, symbolizing their worthlessness to staff that carried out this inhumane act.
On this day my heart and my soul broke forever. I witnessed loving, beautiful, loyal and healthy animals be euthanized for no reason other than being labelled a Pit-bull.
This event has negatively characterized my life and not a day goes by where Captain’s beautiful smile doesn’t cross my mind. I remember all the times we spent together; particularly I remember that each time I would walk up to his cage his intense excitement would leave him gasping for air. He was so happy to see me that I could see and hear his little heart beating through his fur. As excited as he was to see me, I was of him; he was the best thing to ever happen to me in all my life. The day those four little paws walked into the shelter I knew my life would never be the same but I never expected it to end this tragically.
A great dog lost his life because of his breed and not his behaviour. I lost my best friend because of breed-specific legislation that robbed me of right to help him.
He just lived a year but the love he gave us and the love we gave him will last an eternity. All I wanted was him by my side my side.
“If tears could build a stairway
And heartache make a lane
I’d walk the path to heaven
And bring him back again”
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I sincerely appreciate it and I know all those other Pit-bulls whose lives depend on this movement do as well.