Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, October 24, 2008

Ontario pitbull ban stands

TORONTO — The Ontario Court of Appeal on Friday re-affirmed a law banning pit bull-type dogs in the province.

Last month, lawyer Clayton Ruby told a three-judge panel the definition of a pit bull under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act is vague because it snares dozens of breeds that look like pit bulls, but are other breeds, half-breeds or mutts.

Ruby said Friday he was disappointed by the ruling.

“Sadly, the absolute and unnecessary ban on ‘pit bulls’ in Ontario remains,” the lawyer said in a statement.

“We are very disappointed with the decision of the court of appeal. We continue to believe that the definition of ‘pit bull’ is overly broad and vague. The evidence clearly demonstrates that the definition captures dogs that pose no threat to any person or animal.”

He added the court has simply accepted the government’s assertion that there is a ‘reasoned apprehension of harm’ about ‘pit bulls’ to justify the ban, without allowing opponents to show that there is no credible evidence to support this.

Under the provincial law, pit bulls are defined as American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire bull terrier or any dog that looks similar.

Owners are required to have their dogs neutered, muzzled and on a leash in public.

Violators face a maximum penalty of $10,000 and six months in jail.

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