The municipality has really stepped in the metaphorical dog poo with its proposed bylaw governing the ownership of pit bulls, singling them out as aggressive, charging them more for licence and impound fees, and muzzling them off-property, all in the interest of encouraging responsible pet ownership and making the rest of us feel more secure in knowing that the canine version of Hannibal Lecter is being restrained.
A flurry of nasty letters from pit bull owners decrying the bylaw: certainly not good if Ernie and Co. were counting on the pit bull vote in the next election.
Mayor Daykin was quick to point out that, when he delivered papers as a boy, it was small dogs that gave him the most trouble. While the pit bull is not a big dog, its history as a fighting dog in some more enlightened areas of the world - and its stature with the big strong jaw - tends to frighten people, myself among them, whenever I encountered one on my rounds as a postie.
Truth be known - and as has been pointed out by owners and the SPCA and me - IT AIN'T THE DOG, IT'S THE OWNER!
Dog aggression is more a human behaviour problem resulting from the ignorance of owners and breeders, and the fact that many pit bull owners are not particularly nice people.
One study notes that owners of "vicious" breeds are more likely to have criminal convictions and display anti-social behaviour.
Some jurisdictions prevent anyone with a felony from owning a pit bull.
The statistics on dog bites and fatalities are too numerous to summarize. Pit bull involvement ranges from three to 45 per cent of recorded bites and deaths, based on newspaper accounts and hospital records and studies by veterinary associations.
Suffice to say that pit bulls, if provoked, can do considerable damage - but with the right owner, training, and care, can be just as lovable as your Chihuahua which, along with my beloved golden retriever is listed as one of the worst offenders for dog bites.
You tell someone they can't own a pit bull, they'll just get something else: a German shepherd, a Rottweiler, a Doberman - all of which are on the vicious list, and before you know it, we'll be muzzling everybody.
The SPCA suggests spaying and neutering as options to a breed ban. I know that since my vasectomy, I've been a much calmer, gentler person.
Ernie and company might be better off just targeting individual cases as the need arises, without placing a blanket ban on one breed, and to concentrate on enlightening the public about the responsibilities of dog ownership: close the gate, use a leash, buy a ferret or a budgie instead, find other ways to enhance your self-esteem besides the junkyard dog with the studded collar.
The bad guys will always be with us, giving the pit bull a bad rep by association; maybe some day we can have them neutered.
Speaking of rights, if it's okay to have a pit bull in the backyard, why not a cigarette? A Maple Ridge family has written to municipal council and the provincial government asking for a municipal residential smoking ban because their neighbour's cigarette smoke represents a threat to their health.
The neighbour who likes to light up when he lets the dog out downplays the family's concerns and says the complainant runs around cursing "and having a Tourette's fit." Nice.
It should be pointed out that only about 10 per cent of Tourette's patients actually exhibit coprolalia, the uttering of obscene words and phrases.
Secondhand smoke, on the other hand, has been proven to cause disability, disease, and death in adults, children, and pets.
What's worse, cursing or cancer? It might be private property, but it's a public health issue, notwithstanding our smoker's concerns about real estate value. Good to get your priorities in line.