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Pit bull ban panel hears from both sides

Discussion in 'Laws & Legislation' started by Marty, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Marty

    Marty Guest

    London,Ontario, Canada -- Victims and opponents tried yesterday to sway a provincial committee considering the proposed pit bull ban. Christine Hartig, president of the Association of Animal Shelter Administrators of Ontario, said the loose definition of pit bull could capture up to 20,000 dogs in the province.

    Owners won't be able to prove their dog is not a pit bull and poundkeepers "will deem the dog as illegal and destroy it," she said.

    Elaine Buckstein, director of enforcement for the City of Mississauga, said the ban would have a huge financial impact and create liability issues for municipal animal services.

    Dog owners will be unlikely to licence their dogs as pit bulls because "they've just signed a death warrant," she said.

    Attorney General Michael Bryant introduced legislation last fall that would ban pit bulls in Ontario, but allow existing family pets to live out their lives provided they're muzzled in public and neutered.

    The ban has been criticized by groups that see breed-specific laws as unfair and who believe the owners of dangerous dogs should be targeted.

    Louise Ellis, whose then five-year-old daughter Lauren was mauled by a pit bull a decade ago, urged the government to resist such arguments.

    Lauren needed five hours of surgery and 300 stitches to close her facial wounds after she petted a pit bull deemed friendly.

    "The animal rights activists will try to tell you that pit bulls don't harm people, pit bull owners harm people," Ellis said. "How I wish the owner had bitten my child instead of his dog."

    Peter Orphanos, whose dog was attacked by a pit bull three years ago, asked the committee to listen to pit bull victims, not the animal lobby group that opposes the ban.

    "Individual municipalities either don't have the guts or are lobbied by animal rights activists to the point where they do not want or are afraid to put legislation across," he said. "Citizens have to unite, saying, 'I want to walk my neighbourhood in safety.' "

    Donna Trempe, whose daughter died when attacked by a bull mastiff in 1998, wants legislation that would lead to a jail term and fines for the owner of a dog that injures people or animals.

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