Friday, October 24, 2008

Pit Bull Law in Ontario loses Appeal

We don't have any reason to travel to Ontario anymore - they've proven that they're a province full of idiots, or at least their government and judicial system is. Today the Ontario Court of Appeal came out with their report on what they were going to say about the ban on pit bulls that was instituted in - 2005 - and they decided to not only uphold it, but to also bring back all the stuff that was lost when the court case was originally decided last year. So it's bad news all around - especially what the judges said about pit bulls.

Here's what the Canadian Press reported the Judges said:

Ont.'s highest court says pit bulls are 'unpredictable' dogs, upholds ban

TORONTO — Pit bulls are dangerous and unpredictable dogs that have the potential to attack without warning, the Ontario Court of Appeal said Friday in a decision upholding the province's ban on the animals.

The Ontario government enacted the Dog Owners' Liability Act in 2005 to ban the breeding, sale and ownership of pit bulls after several incidents in which the dogs attacked people.

The Appeal Court ruled Friday that the ban on the breed does not violate any constitutional rights, as lawyers had argued.

The law survived a constitutional challenge in March 2007, though some changes were ordered. Superior Court Justice Thea Herman said a ban on "pit bull terriers" was unconstitutionally vague because it didn't refer to a specific type or breed of dog.

But the Appeal Court disagreed, restoring the law to the form in which it was enacted.

"The total ban on pit bulls is not 'arbitrary' or 'grossly disproportionate' in light of the evidence that pit bulls have a tendency to be unpredictable and that even apparently docile pit bulls may attack without warning or provocation," the judges said in their decision Friday.

"This evidence of unpredictability provided the legislature with a sufficient basis to conclude that the protection of public safety required no less drastic measures than a total ban on pit bulls."

Lawyer Clayton Ruby, who challenged the law, called it a "sad day" in Ontario.

"Kind, loving, gentle dogs are being killed across this province for no reason," he said in a statement.

"The provincial government should focus their efforts and resources on identifying truly dangerous dogs rather than apprehending and killing dogs that pose no threat at all."

Ruby said he is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Jean-anne Moors of Banned Aid, a coalition fighting the ban, said the group knew it was fighting an uphill battle against the government, but she is still "very disappointed."

"I have three so-called pit bull-type dogs who are all legal under the law," she said, meaning she owned the dogs before the law came into effect and they are muzzled when out in public.

Still, she said, "Everybody's looking at me as if I'm some kind of criminal when I walk down the streets with my dogs. They have no history of aggression."

Moors said the law sets a troubling precedent because it's not just a pit bull issue.

"If a government ... can make such an arbitrary decision that a dog is a bad and dangerous dog and seize it under certain circumstances and destroy it ... that's a matter of concern to anybody who has a dog - period."

Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley said he was pleased the court upheld the legislation.

"We brought in the legislation because it was important to keep people safe, and our province will do whatever it takes to keep the people of Ontario safe," he said.

What I say to that last paragraph is - Attorney General Chris Bentley has given himself and all Ontarians a very false sense of security.

There is also the case of Rambo - a pit bull type dog who was kept in a cage from December until a couple weeks ago - when he was set free so he could come to shangri-la, also known as Nova Scotia - read the article all the way to the bottom - and you'll find some very true sentences.

Death Row Dog Set Free

October 8, 2008 03:15 PM - In the end, Gabriela Nowakowska had to put the interests of her dog Rambo ahead of her own.

"It was very difficult losing my dog," the 21-year-old Mississaugan said, referring to the fact that Rambo was picked up last Christmas Day and has been held in a cage at the Mississauga animal control centre ever since. "But now, Rambo is going to have a life and he's going to be free."

The dog, who has been held at the City's animal control centre on Central Pkwy. for the past nine months, is headed for a farm in Nova Scotia run by Ador-A-Bull Dog Rescue after a deal was struck in a Mississauga courtroom early this afternoon.

Nowakowska pleaded guilty to possessing an illegal dog and received a suspended sentence.

Rambo, who was examined by a veterinarian yesterday and found fit, will be transferred by the rescue group to the East Coast, where he will be trained with a number of other dogs and then could be adopted to a loving home.

"As long as the dog goes free, that's what I want," Nowakowksa told The News a few minutes after the ruling. "The only thing that's important to me is that he's still alive."

Justice of the Peace Karen Jensen commended Nowakowska, who works two minimum-wage part-time jobs as a waitress and at a deli counter, for her efforts on behalf of Rambo. "You've suffered the loss of your dog but you have made some gains ... for which you are to be commended."

Those gains include the change in City policy that now permits dogs like Rambo accused of being pit bulls to be sent to another province rather than automatically being put down.

The City's application to execute Rambo will be withdrawn Oct. 20 if all goes well.

"By then, he should be in a whole new province and everyone's happy," the Justice of the Peace said.

Nowakowska's lawyer, Anik Morrow, told the court that as time passed his client realized that nothing could be gained by going forward. "Her concern is ultimately the dog," she said.

Rambo is now much bigger and it would be difficult for his owner to care properly for him in her apartment, the lawyer said.

"We are now seeing the impact of the long-term incarceration of the dog," Morrow said, noting the animal has begun to groom himself frequently, which is often a sign of stress.

The City agreed to waive the pound fees for Rambo, who has been kept for the longest-time ever at the shelter. Those fees were estimated at $3,000.

Elaine Buckstein, the City's director of bylaw enforcement, commented that, "whether you agree with it or not, we have to enforce the law. The shelter staff did an excellent job of housing Rambo for eight months."

Ward 6 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, who championed Rambo's cause, was "delighted" at the outcome.

"We've learned from this that this law is very difficult to enforce and it breaks people's hearts," the councillor said. "Saying that something looks like something else is a very poor basis for a law."

Nowakowska was convicted of owning a dog that was "substantially similar" to breeds of dogs generally known as pit bulls.


  1. Anonymous8:19 PM

    There are at least 24 Pure Breed dogs in Ontario impacted by this law and all the various mixes and mutts.
    I think a lot of Ontario Dog Owners are in for a VERY big surprise if they thought this was just about the 3 Pit Bull Breeds.
    People in the rest of Canada would be crazy to attempt to travel to or through Ontario with ANY of the Breeds in this test or any mutt/mix that looks like them.

    I think the rest of Canada and the World must attempt to shut this law down by impacting Ontario tourism.

    What are people in the Armed Forces supposed to do if they are transferred to Ontario?

    Kill their Lab/Boxer mix,just in case?

  2. $3,000 boarding fees, for how long? From LAST Christmas to now?
    What does that work out to per day, $10?
    What is with this $25?

    AND: can anybody find out for me please if this woman was allowed to see her dog while it was in the pound?

  3. Anonymous1:06 PM

    [quote]AND: can anybody find out for me please if this woman was allowed to see her dog while it was in the pound?[/quote]

    Yes she was.
    After a lot of effort.
    Mississauga has now changed their policy (at least prior to this stunning ruling they had)

    You can read all about this case on John Stewart`s blog(Mississauga News who took up her case)

    Here are his Rambo articles

    Don`t give up the fight for your dog.
    Enough is enough.

    Maybe you need to get a good Journalist like him on side.

    Good luck

  4. Anonymous9:11 PM

    It is my understanding that Ottawa Animal control are not enforcing the law saying it is almost impossible to enforce and a waste of the officers time.RG

  5. THank you for the info and suggestion.
    Tell me, how do you get a journalist on your side like that? Do you have to bribe them? I'm a pretty good cook, I can offer some great meals... whatever it takes, I'll do just about anything at this point.

  6. Helpful Info5:01 PM

    Came across this and thought it might be of interest and use to everyone who travels with their dog.
    A lot of people think Ontario`s ban only affects Ontario residents.

    There is presently a homeless man walking across Canada with his best friend and there are concerns for his dog.
    A lot of people don`t understand the risks.

    Travel Alert for Ontario

    [quote]Why Does post this warning about Ontario when there are Pit Bull Bans in many other places?

    To the many dog-friendly people and businesses in Ontario, Canada:

    The Ontario "Pit Bull and Similar Dog" legislation is very clear that "Pit Bulls" and "similar" dogs are not allowed into the province. We think that we need to inform our readers that their dog is subject not just to a fine but possible confiscation if it is seen in the province and is not grandfathered in as a resident pit bull from pre-2005. We do not advise against travel to Ontario for all dog owners, only those who have Pit Bulls or mutts or other dogs that are "similar" (this is the word used in the law).

    We do not recommend against travel to Ontario for a beagle, for example.

    Please understand that we issued this warning due to the potential severity of the consequences for people traveling to Ontario with a banned dog. The law could have been written to say that if a non-resident is found with a pit bull in the province then they would have 48 hours to leave the province or they could have been issued a fine. The law does not say this but instead it says that the dog may be confiscated on site. This differs greatly from bans of breeds elsewhere which either allow dogs to visit or will allow you to take the dog out of the local when warned.

    We do not know how any individual animal control or policeman will handle an individual case but we need to warn our readers, many of whom have these breeds of dogs, of the possible consequence of bringing a banned dog into the province. We are especially concerned about dogs traveling from neighboring provinces in Canada where there will be no warning at the border that a banned dog is not allowed.

    It is also a fact of the legislation that there is no way in Canada to drive a Pit Bull from where it is allowed east of Ontario to west of Ontario since the dog cannot pass through Ontario.

    Most other pit bull bans are much more local in nature (a city or county, for example) and someone can avoid the city or simply drive by it or stay in a nearby area. Any comments can be sent to us at:

    Ontario's Breed Restrictions
    August 29, 2005

    Due to the Ontario Pit Bull Ordinance in Ontario, Canada which went into effect on August 29, 2005, Recommends against travel into the Ontario province with your dog whether it is a Pit Bull, other breed or any mixed breed that could in any way be "confused" with a Pit Bull.

    We need to make people who travel with dogs aware of Ontario's 2005 Breed-Specific Legislation, (supposedly targeted at Pit Bulls and Pit-Bull like mixes but may affect most any dog). Ontario has recently passed this legislation that makes it illegal, and unwise, for people with Pit Bulls or similar dogs to live in or to visit the province. Unfortunately, this law took effect on August 29, 2005. The law states that authorities have the right to confiscate your dog simply based on their opinion that it looks like a pit bull. This applies to residents as well as visitors. It is a shame that Ontario has passed this law, as the province has a lot to offer travelers with dogs. However, there is a significant risk to dog owners who visit the province, which includes Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Ottawa. Many other cities also have Breed Specific Laws, which we also oppose, but most are far less dramatic in their consequences than the Ontario Law. Most involve leashing, controlling or muzzling dogs in certain public places, not their confiscation. Due to this law, Recommends against travel into the Ontario province with your dog whether it is a Pit Bull, other breed or any mixed breed that could in any way be "confused" with a Pit Bull. It is very important to understand that, according to this law, the burden is on the dog-owner to PROVE that their dog is not even part "Pit Bull" breed as defined in this law. TECHNICALLY, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE THE BREED OF MOST DOGS THAT ARE NOT REGISTERED PUREBREDS. Please understand also that the law allows officers to IMMEDIATELY confiscate your dog. They do not have to allow you to leave the province with your dog.

    For those of you who live in or must travel to Ontario, please carry your dog's papers or other proof of the dog's breed. Dog owners who owned pit bulls in Ontario prior to the enactment of the law may be allowed to keep the dogs but with strict requirements.[/quote]

    Note:The Bad News
    Your dog`s papers won`t help you.
    Other Pure Breeds are not exempt and they will just seize them under 'pit bull terrier' or 'substantially similar'

    The good News is that you are definitely safe traveling with a beagle.

    Their law affects everyone.
    Never thought I`d live to see the day that a person couldn`t get in their car with their dog and drive from one coast to the other without facing a $10,000 fine,jail time and the death of their dog.

    I thought we had mobility rights in the Charter?
    What happens to Military people who are transferred to Ontario?
    Kill the family pet before moving?

  7. Anonymous2:15 AM

    I hear that Ontario is taking this case to the Supreme Court of Canada if sufficient funds are raised in the next few weeks.

    This will impact all Provinces, win or lose.

    It`ll set a legal precedent for Canada,either shutting the door on BSL or opening the door across the Country.

    Hope Judges at that level look at hard facts rather than the constitutionality of the Legislation.

  8. Anonymous7:42 PM


  9. To anonymous who said that - WHO WOULD GET A PIT-BULL FOR A FAMILY PET...IT'S THEIR OWN FAULT - I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you are being sincere when you say this, because a lot of people actually do believe this. Althouth I see from my stats that you are posting this from here in Halifax at St. Mary's University - so you really should know better, because you are going to university to expand your mind, so you shouldn't have such a closed in viewpoint.

    Pit bull type dogs are like every other type of dog - they have the same jaw, the same teeth, the same mouth, the same brain, the same feet, the same fur, the same everything - they are like every other dog and can do no less and no greater damage to other dogs and humans than any other breed or type of dog can do. It's just that any type of wide browed, short haired dog is currently being CALLED a pit bull, and any dog that fits a designation that might be construed as a pit bull - and has been abused - and therefore is more probable to lash out and hurt a human or other dog - is tagged by the media to be called a pit bull.

    So it is unfortunate that words are playing in to your own misinformation about you believe - but what is not actually a reality, anonymous. The dogs that actually ARE the pit bull type of dog - are no different than any other type of dog. And guess what - they make just as good a pet for any family - than any other type of dog. You just have to socialize, train, feed them, contain them, and love them - just like you would any other breed - and they are a perfect pet. You get what you deserve. I know that I personally have perfect, great pets. All sitting here right next to me.