Ford government changes regulations related to pit bull ban
Doug Ford’s government has eased regulations related to the province’s pit bull ban, allowing seized dogs that look like the prohibited breed to be released – and several dog owners say the premier has indicated he’ll go even further.
Ontario banned pit bulls in 2005 after two of them attacked a Toronto man. The law angered many canine lovers who argued it punished dogs rather than their owners.
Several owners said they complained directly to the premier over the past month about their dogs being seized by animal control services on suspicion of being pit bulls.
The premier’s office did not comment, but a spokesman for the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said recent regulatory changes allow animals seized solely on the basis of their alleged breed to be returned to owners while a breed designation is conducted.
The premier became personally invested in multiple cases over the past month, several dog owners say, and promised he’d rescind the pit bull ban, known as breed-specific legislation, found in the Dog Owners’ Liability Act.
Currently, pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and American pit bull terriers are named in the act as banned dogs — all considered pit bulls.
The legislation also says any dog “that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those” four kinds of dogs are banned, a clause many owners and advocates find problematic.
Vaughan, Ont., resident Tommy Chang said he heard from the premier after his dog, Dwaeji, got away from home in early October and was seized by a municipal animal control team.