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« Recipe for a fatal dog attack | Main | Weekly Roundup »

September 28, 2007



Great post, once again. For me, Bill's speech was the highlight of the conference (well, other than getting kissed by Wallace the disc dog.) And that's saying a lot because there were so many fantastic speakers, like aggression expert Jim Crosby and others.

I'm glad to hear that at least a few people from the city made it, though it would have been great to have more.
I went up to Bill and afterward and asked if any city that had heard him speak had successfully used Calgary's model so far. he said no, not really.

I think that's too bad. I would love to see KC be the first city to do so. I think Calgary has proved that it's just as easy and financially feasible to succeed as it is to fail. It's just a matter of how you choose to spend your time and resources. Do you spend it finding ways to increase revenues and put them to good use or do you spend them punishing dog owners, making it difficult to own a pet and dealing with high turnover and other staff issues because you don't pay enough to live on?

I wonder if there is a way for us to encourage KC to see the light on this one?


That sounds like a great place to live!
This should be a nation wide law, It would make a big difference!!!!

Becky Dyer

I did not get to hear him speak, so thank you so much for this Brent! You know, it has always puzzled me why cities work so hard AGAINST pet owners and esp those who are struggling to rescue and foster and those who might be a tad over the 'limit'. All of these people are doing a service for the city -- taking care of animals that would be roaming the streets, that the city would have to pick up and/or put to death ($$$)
What a great program in Calgary! Since city councils and AC depts did not seem to think this would be worthwhile, why don't you send all of them a copy of your piece?


I will say that Winnipeg, Manitoba adopted several elements from the Calgary model, in 2000.

Winnipeg had gone with breed specific legislation in 1990; banning 'pit bulls'. That led to an average of close to 50 more bites per year for the following decade, and increases in bites (sometimes massive) in other breeds. German Shepherds and their mixes were, and remain, the most prolific biters in Winnipeg. Labrador Retrievers and mixes, Terriers & mixes, and Rottweilers and mixes fill out the top spots.

On the low-low, by 2000 it was clear the breed ban was not working. Yet Calgary's dog control strategy was. Winnipeg animal control adopted elements from Calgary's successful model in their new by-law, and as if by magic, the number of dog bites began to fall soon thereafter. (While I never saw it myself, one source claims the early draft of that by-law amendment actually referred to Calgary by-laws. If you read the Winnipeg by-law now, you'll see no reference to Calgary, though. )

The city of Winnipeg didn't rescind the BSL part of the by-law. They merely augmented the existing ordinance in ways that would've been successful without killing innocent dogs based on shape. (Never admit the legislation you passed was ineffective.)

So, now, Winnipeg CAN claim a reduction in dog bites, and often do attribute it to their 'pit bull' ban. No one ever seems to question why the improvements only began a decade later, and coincide with the passage of the Calgary-esque amendments.

So, you see, even though Winnipeg officials will minimize or deny it, the Calgary model has been successfully exported to other cities. But, in the case of Winnipeg, even Calgary officials would probably want to deny all involvement. (I can't imagine why anyone would want to be associated with anything that has to do with Winnipeg.)



One interesting note was that I asked Bill about pet limits and said I was surprised they didn't have any. His comment was that from his experience, if someone was an irresponsible owner, it didn't matter if they had 1 dog or 15 dogs, they would still be irresponsible. And that if someone was a good owner, they would properly care for all of their matter what that numbers was.

There's a decent chance that some video footage will be available of some of the presentations -- hopefully this will all become a reality so we can get some of the info in front of city council members and give an opportunity for some folks like you to get to see and hear the presentations.

Becky Dyer

Thank you Brent! And thank you also for yours and Michelle's part in making this so successful and getting such important info out there! I predict that either next year or the next, this will be THE Conference EVERYONE, all over Canada, (maybe even further away, esp UK!) will want to attend, and that KC will enjoy sold out hotels and no available parking! This will be thanks to the awesome, superbly (?) professional reputation that you have established from the very start. I am hoping that you all know how significant this is!


Bill's a great guy and I was so glad to see his presentation for the second time.

Can't wait for the next conference.

Must post some notes myself, I've been busy with the political campaign here in Ontario. After October 10, things will revert to what passes for normal around here.

Like Becky, I'm mystified by the obstinacy of civic officials who, rather than working on a program that will be accepted by all responsible pet owners, decide to stir up controversy and make enemies of those pet owners by suggesting foolish ideas like 'breed' bans as a solution.

Why don't they want to take the easy way instead of the hard way? It's puzzling.

Mac`s Gang

Great summary of this conference.
Calgary`s Approach makes far too much sense for the current crop of politicians we have in office in Ontario.
As I sit here watching the Combine take off the soya beans,I hope on Oct 11th we can say that we have planted a new crop.

More Good News from Calgary

[quote]Calgary, when it comes to animal control, is the envy of the continent. [/quote]

Wonder when the rest of the World will catch on or catch up?

Joan Sinden

I have seen Bill Bruce talk at least 3 times and he's a gifted speaker and talks about his cause beautifully - you can see him give a more than one talk to the city council of Santa Barbara at - - that is really really good - I have a category for him on my own blog at if you want to read about the different times that I've heard him speak. He is as important to the no kill equation as Nathan Winograd is in my opinion.


Joan, in some ways I agree for a couple of reasons.

Winograd's model is designed around working in any scenerio imaginable by removing descretionary power to remove pets from homes and very high adoptions.

Bruce's model combines two things that Winograd's doesn't:

1) Showing us that no kill and public safety are not mutually exclusive.

2) Showing us that a compasionate animal control mentality that works WITH the public to get compliance instead of just focusing on punishment can be a succesful model.

While Winograd's model is very shelter focused (although it includes some AC reform), Bruce's is very AC focused. And both are important because both are severly flawed in this country.


I just happened upon your blog while trying to gather information to help fight a renewed call for Pit-bull ban in my city (Montreal, Canada). Your post beautifully summarizes what I have long believed is a crucial component when trying to deflate aguments that favour breed-specific bans. I really look forward to reading more here. Many thanks.

id scanner

It's sure great thing that we can license our pets. By choosing that we can truly improve our life and them in case of loosing them or a need for a history data in any case. It's so easy - just insert a chip and then you can scan it any time you need to.

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