Here's what's happening with Ontario's pit bull ban

 

A conservative MPP has put forward a bill that would end Ontario’s ban on pit bulls.

Rick Nicholls, an MPP from Chatham-Kent-Leamington, has put forward a private member’s bill that would end the province’s ban on pit bulls, also known as breed-specific legislation (BSL).

According to a report from CTV News, last week, the bill passed it’s second reading with 36 votes in favour and 12 opposed, meaning it’s closer to becoming law.

While many people associate the term pit bull to mean a single breed, it’s actually an umbrella term that includes Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pitbull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and American Pitbull Terriers, according to a statement from Nicholls’ office.

“Many Ontarians are very concerned that we have legislation in place that euthanizes dogs based solely on their breed. This has come at expense to the taxpayer as enforcement is costly, cogs up the provincial court system, and throughout Ontario the ban is not equitably enforced,” the statement adds.

The ban came into effect in 2005, although statistics from the City of Toronto indicate there has been no effect on the number of dog bites in the city since.

This is not the first time that efforts have been made to repeal BSL; in 2011, three political parties co-sponsored a bill that would bring an end to the ban, but it was not passed.

Since its inception in 2005, it’s been difficult for the government to enforce the ban as owners of mixed-breed dogs or dogs not registered with a recognized kennel club would have no way of knowing if their dog is one of the types that are banned by the province.

Further, it’s virtually impossible for law enforcement to scientifically determine a dog’s breed that could withstand a challenge in court.

Nicholls believes that certain breeds shouldn’t be banned for their perceived danger, and suggests any dog can become violent.

“Any dog can become a threat if they are not properly socialized and trained, if they are mistreated or if they are deliberately bred and raised or encouraged to attack people or domestic animals,” the statement reads.

So far, several organizations across the province have voiced their support in repealing BSL including the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, and the Canadian Safety Council.

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