Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fighting BSL to Save Puppy

From the Toronto Star today:

A pit bull puppy in Mississauga has won a five-week stay of execution, while his owner contests the charges, in one of the first challenges to Ontario's ban on the breed.

The 10-month-old dog, named Rambo, was caught by animal control officers on Christmas Day after he ran away from the back yard of his owner, Gabriela Nowakowska.

The puppy was born after a province-wide ban on new pit bulls took effect Aug. 29, 2005. By law, the city must put the dog down.

According to the Dog Owners' Liability Act, pit bulls born more than 90 days after the ban took effect must be put down.

"It's so sad that a simple thing like your dog escaping can mean your dog is killed," said King, spokesperson for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada, part of a coalition that protested the ban. "It's incredibly heartbreaking for the people forced to live with the consequences of a bad law."


Details of the ban

When did the amended Dog Owners' Liability Act take effect?

Aug. 29, 2005.

Which breeds are banned?

Pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any other dog with traits "substantially similar" to those breeds.

What are the terms of the ban?

The legislation prohibits the ownership, transfer, import, breeding and abandonment of pit bulls.

Dogs that belonged to an Ontario resident when the ban took effect, or were born within 90 days after the ban, are allowed but must be spayed or neutered and muzzled in public. ("Public" includes everything but the owner's property.) The muzzle must be strong enough to prevent the dog from biting through but can't hinder the dog's ability to breathe, see, pant or drink.

The dogs may not be trained to fight and must be kept on a leash shorter than 1.8 meters.

What happens if you break the law?

The dog will be confiscated and euthanized.

The owner could face: up to six months in jail; a maximum fine of $10,000 ($60,000 for corporations); a court order to compensate a victim.

For more info on BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) visit the Dog Legislation Council of Canada.