Thursday, January 10, 2008

An important point municipalities are missing

In a news article yesterday in the Mississauga News, the dog owner whose dog (Rambo) was picked up Christmas day, is facing a hard choice. She has had the ultimatum presented to her of either signing the dog over to the city for destruction or face a legal battle with the city to prove her dog is not a DOLA (Dog Owner's Liability Act).
To read the most recent article in the Mississauga News visit this link.
Quoted from the article is a comment from Dulio Rose, the cities manager of animal services.
"When the Province passed this, nobody wanted it," Rose said. "We're still not quite sure what it's all going to accomplish."
Rose said he sympathized with the young woman, who "faces two crappy options from where she stands.
"We're not happy about having to do it, but when the Province passes a law for public safety, we must follow it," said Rose. "What we're doing, we have to do. The law is very clear and we really can't do otherwise. It's unfortunate that (the dog) got out, but sooner or later, we would have turned up at her door."

The key points in the above statement are:
* We (the animal control department) must follow the law.
There are NO provisions in DOLA or otherwise, pressuring animal control, SPCA's or anyone else for that matter to identify a cross bred dog as a 'pit bull'. This is a choice made by the city to label a dog as something unprovable and place the onus on the owner to prove otherwise. The statement 'sooner or later, we would have turned up at her door' indicates a possible planned sweep, hauling dogs off the couch simply because they may fit the loose description. A description that also fits hundreds of breeds and crosses thereof.
* The province passed the amendments to DOLA for public safety.
This was the spew that come from the AG when the legislation was introduced and passed in the legislature, however this law had nothing to do with public safety since the three purebred breeds are all rare breeds ( ie. the American Staffordshire Terrier representing roughly 30 in the whole province) and the term 'pit bull' refers to a catch all shape or type of dog. Would common sense not point toward negligent ownership?
* "When the Province passed this, nobody wanted it."
Rose is right, the municipalities in Ontario did not in fact want the ban put in place due to the implications of enforcement. The province denied municipalities the funding or resources to enforce the law and the majority of municipalities and cities did not want to enforce the law, seeing it for what it truly is. Discriminatory, unenforceable and counter-productive to public safety.
There are literally hundreds of cases very similar to this case in Mississauga. Many of the cases have not included so much as a bylaw infraction, but complaints from neighbours or anyone with an irrational fear or axe to grind calling in a 'pit bull' sighting.
The sooner we (Banned Aid) overturn this ban, the sooner Ontario dog owners will stop being persecuted for the shape or type of dog they choose to have in their own home.
You can make a donation to the Banned Aid legal challenge by clicking on this link. We need your help!

No comments:

Post a Comment