Friday, October 24, 2008

Ottawa not enforcing the "pitbull" ban

There's a good article in the Ottawa Citizen today (thanks to Lori for sending it along).
It explains why the City of Ottawa, our nation's capital, is ignoring the provincial ban on the much-mythologized but nonexistent 'pit bull' type of dog.

Provincially banned canines common in Ottawa

Officials will act against dangerous animals, but lack resources to enforce law

Patrick Dare, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Friday, October 24, 2008
OTTAWA - The Ontario government was on a mission a few years ago to rid the province of pit bull-type dogs and passed a law to ban them. But, in Ottawa, the animals are commonplace and city officials are opting to let them alone, as long as they behave.
The City of Ottawa says it will act when a dog of any breed presents a threat to public safety, but the city is not trying to crack down on pit bull-type dogs because it doesn't have the resources to do so, and the law pertaining to the dogs is difficult to enforce.
Susan Jones, director of bylaw enforcement for Ottawa, says that Ontario municipalities told the provincial government in 2005 that they would need some help from the province if it wanted a crackdown on the dogs. No assistance was sent.
According to this report, 300 calls have been received about purported 'pit bulls' since January, 2006, which averages to about 10 per month.  This sounds like a lot of calls until we discover that Ottawa averages 7,000 calls a year for animal-related issues, about 200 for dog bites.  The author points out that many of these calls are from 'pit bull' type owners seeking some clarification of the vague legislation enacted by Chicken Little Bryant in 2005.  So, out of 17,500 calls since January 2006, 300, or 1.7%, related to 'pit bull' inquiries.  Per the norm, we see that 98.3% of all calls to animal control do not involve 'pit bull' types.
The article goes on to explain that the law is unenforceable and that the costs involved in court battles make enforcement fiscally irresponsible.  The average case against a dog owner in Ontario is putting between $75 - 100,000 on the taxpayers' tab.
Speaking of court battles, I wonder how much the Attorney General has wasted in defending the law in court for the past two-and-a-half years?  It's a deep, dark secret since they are not responding to information requests, even from other MPPs.  I'll ballpark it at about $10 million.  If the MAG would like to prove me wrong, feel free, but I know how much money governments waste, since they don't have to worry about keeping costs under control.
The piece points out that a lot of complaints are from people who are afraid of 'pit bulls'.  Well, duh.  The intensity of the 20-year propaganda campaign has to be having some effect, even on people who know how media play their little games.
Add to that the fact that what media hysterics have been doing is actually advertising 'pit bull' type dogs as being the baddest asses on the canine block, and the result is that a certain type of person will go out of their way to get one of these slavering beasts to parade in front of their fearful (and sadly, ignorant) neighbours.  Bummer that they rarely, if ever, live up to their penny-dreadful reputation, eh?
It's a classic chicken-and-egg scenario.
We can see that Bryant's replacement, Chris Bentley, is still serving the Kool Aid to his base of fearful ninnies (and obviously imbibing himself):
Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley replied in a letter that the existing Ontario law banning the dogs had reduced the population, and that allowing set fines may have the effect of minimizing the seriousness of the offences. He said in his letter to the councillor that the government won't allow the change to the law.
Bentley seems almost proud of the fact that thousands of innocent domestic dogs have been killed by the McGuinty government solely because his histrionic gasbag of a predecessor reacted to a situation he knew jack about, plunging innocent citizens who love dogs into a waking nightmare.
I guess he doesn't realize that the lead counsel for the MAG defending the ban in court in May, 2006, said at the end that they would 'take out the jail time, your Honour, and make it so that the vets have to come in to testify'.  Too late, Charney, we don't make deals with those who blithely install terror in the province of Ontario for no reason other than to grab a few headlines and bask in teh unrelenting stupid that ensues.  I wonder if Bentley also knows that the same lawyer stated emphatically at the Remedy hearing that 'there is no such thing as a pit bull', that the 'purpose of the law wasn't to stop dog bites' and that 'it was the purebreds we were after, we only threw in the substantially similar [in physical appearance] clause in case somebody had a purebred and lied about it.'
Speaking of lying.
Let's hope that nightmare ends soon.  Today would be good.
Crossposted at Caveat

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