Pit bull owners to launch legal challenge against ban
Last Updated Thu, 25 Aug 2005 07:40:01 EDT
On the eve of a law that will ban pit bulls, Ontario breeders are fighting back. They will launch a legal challenge Monday which claims the ban violates breeders' constitutional rights.
Supporters, including the American Staffordshire Club of Canada, say that Ontario's law is so vague and unscientific that it will affect many animals that shouldn't be banned.
* CBC INDEPTH: Banning the breed: The debate over pit bulls
The law forbids Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any other dog with "an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs."
Last year, Ontario's attorney general Michael Bryant introduced the ban after a spate of vicious attacks on children, adults and pets by pit bulls.
In a widely-reported case, Toronto police fired more than a dozen bullets into two pit bulls that had turned on the man who was walking them as a favour for a friend. In another in London, Ont., a woman and her seven-year-old son watched in horror as a pit bull latched onto her husband's arm as he tried to keep the family puppy out of the dog's reach.
Bryant called the dogs "ticking time bombs."
The ban will make it illegal to breed pit bulls in Ontario or bring the dogs into the province. Dogs already in Ontario will be allowed to stay as long as they are sterilized, leashed and muzzled in public.
Registered purebreds will be exempt from sterilization as long as they continue to participate in authorized dog shows.
Puppies born after Nov. 27 must be shipped out of the province, given to a research facility or destroyed.
While some breeders are fighting the ban, others are leaving the province.
"It means I'm going to be moving out of Ontario," said Ann Mathews. Mathews has been breeding purebred American Staffordshire terriers for seven years. "It means I'll be leaving my three grandchildren, my five children and moving to a province that isn't so arrogant and isn't so stupid about the laws."
Steve Barker, Ontario director of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada, is also fighting the ban. He said that pit bulls make up only five to 10 per cent of the dog population and are only responsible for a similar share of dog bites.
"They're not particularly biting any more than any other dog, not even necessarily any worse than any other dog," Barker said. However, pit bulls get the bad press.
Just remember... that's not a pistol grip.
And flash hiders....