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Pit bull awareness event in Burnaby goes ahead without pit bulls

A fundraising event in support a pit bull advocacy group took place in a Burnaby park this morning.

Just not with any pit bulls in sight.

“We had toyed with the idea of bringing some of our mixed breed dogs and foster dogs so people could see who they’re supporting, but unfortunately they couldn’t be here today,” said April Fahr, executive director for the HugABull Advocacy and Rescue Society, which promotes pit bull ownership and rescues bull breeds from shelters.

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The “Planks for Paws” event benefitting HugABull was held at Warner Loat Park in 2014 with pit bulls in attendance and was scheduled to be repeated again this year.

But weeks before this year’s event, someone phoned the SPCA and City of Burnaby, which has a bylaw requiring pit bulls to be leashed and muzzled in public areas.

READ MORE: Burnaby votes for new rules and higher fees for pitbulls and dogs deemed vicious in 2013

When the SPCA contacted HugABull, they asked people planning on bringing their pit bulls to keep them at home.

“It’s such a shame, because she takes her job as an ambassadog very seriously,” said Julia Gibson, who was planning on bringing her pit bull Peaches to the event.

“She loves meeting everyone, dogs, cats, kids. She would have been perfect for this…It’s too bad because they’re really sweet and melt your heart. They do the best job at fighting stigma.”

Gibson argues that animal control legislation should hold owners responsible for their animal’s actions, rather than targeting specific species.

“If my dogs are really sweet and kind, I think it’s ridiculous to have a law that’s about stigmatizing and discriminating. It’s fearmongering that I really disagree with.”

Only Richmond, Burnaby and West Vancouver have breed-specific legislation in Metro Vancouver.