Friday, November 20, 2009

Dalton McGuinty can't admit he is dead wrong

This week, NDP MPP for Highpark/Parkdale, Cheri DiNovo introduced a private members Bill 222 to the Ontario Legislature to repeal the breed ban. 

First of all, I would like to thank Cheri Dinovo for introducing this Bill. 

Since August 29, 2005 those of us living in this deteriorating province have experienced life changing years of our lives. We have been through 2 rounds of court, and turned down by the Supreme Court of Canada to hear our case. We have raised over $750,000.00 by fundraising (selling t shirts in the streets) to pay for our lawyer's fees. We have been placed in a predicament of legislated discrimination where any disgruntled neighbor has the opportunity to have your dog seized and killed because of the dog's shape or look.  We are fighting an almighty beast (the Ontario government) with the power to impose any ban, law or guideline they feel is in the "best interest" of the people of Ontario. That same beast has unlimited access to taxpayer dollars; therefore court challenges only threaten credibility not personal pocketbook or sleep. 

I cannot begin to describe to you the effect this ban has had on my life.

I am not the same person. I have lost 2 very loved dogs (old age). Losing them was extra hard knowing their place in the family couldn't be filled by others like them. I have spent 5 years giving every extra dollar I had to "our legal fund" and volunteered my time to do over 200 events in effort to raise enough money to keep us in court. I have witnessed more unthinkable situations than any person cares to. That in itself has hardened me as a human. I had to harden or I would have been left either shutting down or laying in a heap of emotion. I have witnessed people having their dogs ripped out of their homes because they dared own a short haired mutt.  

A couple examples, a young single mom lost both her dogs, one a puppy, because someone in her apartment building called animal control to say she owned "pitbulls". 

Another, her dog escaped out the front door Christmas day when guests were arriving. AC picked up her short haired mutt and took him to the pound. He was under a year old and just a goofy pup, but someone at AC deemed him a "pitbull" so the next year was spent in court only to loose her dog in the end.  

Another was a young couple out for a walk with their two leashed boxer cross pups when AC pulled up and ordered them to relinquish custody of their pups since they were "pitbulls" and illegal in Ontario.  In the end AC backed off since the young couple hired a lawyer. The young couple were left with a lawyer's fee and a fear of walking their dogs in public.

I have a friend who came home from work and let her 2 dogs out into her own fenced backyard. She did not check the backyard before opening her back door (but who does?) but without her knowledge, the neighbors cat had jumped the fence into her yard. Her dogs killed the cat in her own backyard. The neighbor witnessed this happening and immediately called AC. Since there are no provisions in the law to stipulate your own property is not included, her purebred banned dogs killed a domestic animal therefore were slotted for seizure and death. She quit her job, sold her house and now resides elsewhere in Canada with her two dogs. Somewhere where she doesn't have to worry her dogs will be targeted based on how they look.

I could go on and on and on. I have gone to court to support many of these Ontario dog owners. I have given them moral and emotional support. Helped them seek lawyers and understand their so called rights. (Or lack thereof).

I have lost five years of my life and there is no end in sight. I see ordinary situations as potentially deadly (literally) for my dog. The stress of protecting my obedience trained, CGN (Canine Good Neighbor CKC certification) certified, Rally Obedience competitor dog is as absurd as it gets. Your motto as a dog owner becomes trust no-one, never walk your dog in public and keep your neighbors in check. Divulge no information and keep your lawyer's number handy at all times. Know who works animal control in your area, and how actively they enforce the ban. Everything you once knew as a responsible dog owner is now the opposite. 

I watched an interview recently, with Dalton McGuinty. It was posted on You Tube from Animal House Radio.

First off, before you get into watching this interview with McGuinty, here are some quick facts.

1. It is impossible to "breed" any dog for aggression. This is science, not opinion. Aggression is a learned behaviour not a genetic inherited trait.

2. A "pitbull" is NOT a breed. It is a slang term for a cross bred dog. The 3 purebred breeds banned are all very rare breeds with roughly 1000 dogs in the whole province all three breeds combined! It is highly UNLIKELY there is any genetic code from ANY of the purebred breeds named in the ban flowing in the DNA of the short haired mutts targeted by this law. Popular breeds are what is found in popular mutt mixes such as Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers etc.

3. There were 4 days of committee hearings held prior to the law being passed. 80% of the presentations were AGAINST THE BAN. There were no canine experts presenting who were pro ban. There were 45 experts and a long list of individuals presenting AGAINST THE BAN; but McGuinty still maintains they listened to the experts!

4. Public safety has not been improved. The government did not put in place a bite registry, as was requested. There have been deaths attributed to dog bites since the inception of the ban but none were dogs falling under the ban. How were these victims protected by McGuinty's "public safety"? Or the scores of people bitten by dogs not falling under the vague description laid out in DOLA? Dalton McGuinty, Michael Bryant, Chris Bentley and Bob Delaney have all been quoted as saying the aim was to protect the public from "pitbull" bites not dog bites! Remember there is no such thing as a "pitbull". In court counsel for the Attorney General's office, Robert Charney was quoted saying "OK, there is no such thing as a 'pitbull'!"

5. McGuinty refuses to admit they were wrong. There would be respect for those who admit they were wrong even if they possibly had public safety at heart in the beginning.

An article in Inside Toronto this week:
DiNovo said she was inspired to take action since she participated in a DLCC event this past summer. She is the owner of British Bull Terrier. At issue, said DiNovo, is the fact that the pit bull is a mish-mash of breeds. It is described as an animal with a broad snout, muscular, short chest and short coat and long tail. This definition is similar to 40 per cent of all dogs.
"If you took away the tail, you'd be describing most of the politicians at Queen's Park," quipped DiNovo.
The law should cover the "deed not the breed," she said.
"It's a badly drafted piece of legislation," said DiNovo.

Addressing the media Wednesday at Queen's Park, the premier said he wasn't open to lifting the ban. Asked whether or not he thought Ontarians are crying out for a repeal, he replied, "not to my knowledge."
"It's about public safety. We got the best advice we could and put in place legislation we think upholds public safety," said McGuinty. Nevertheless, DiNovo remains positive that the ban will be overturned. 

"There's always a good chance," she said citing the NDP's success in raising the minimum wage to $10 as an example. "The government will bow to pressure."
Besides, an election year is fast approaching in 2011.
Despite the fact that statistics show that in the four years since the ban has been in effect fatal dog attacks have been on the rise in Ontario, but incidences are extremely rare, DiNovo pointed out. And, none of the reported cases of attacks have involved pit bulls. DiNovo said she would like Ontario to follow in the footsteps of jurisdictions like the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden where breed specific legislation has been revoked - for the simple reason that it has not alleviated the problem of dog attacks.
"All breed specific bans do is harm owners and dogs," she said. "It's kind of a grudge law. Yes, we should have violent dog legislation, but we should go after the dog, no breed specific stuff."


I guess if McGuinty actually read letters and email sent to him, he would know the extent of the outcry to repeal the ban. We have held countless vigils and protests on the front lawn of Queen's Park. I have written scores of letters and email myself never to hear a reply back from the premier. Once I received a form letter that rambled on about his broken record of consultation with experts and public safety. I used it as kindling...

McGunity is leaving behind a legacy of the worst government in the history of Ontario. He has solidified the stereotype of political corruption and disregard for ordinary citizen of this province. He has thrown entire groups of people under the bus, ruined lives and murdered over 5000 good innocent dogs for nothing other than how they look and he damn well knows it. His nannying has scarred this province and it will take decades or more to clean up the mess and heal from the damage he has done.


  1. This past week, the owner of the last "legal Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy" (refer to Jennifer Wells article in the Star, 2005) was bitten by a Sheppard Poodle cross. The dog punctured her cheek and tore her upper lip off for a total of ten stitches. Ironic, isn't it?

  2. Very WELL said. I am sure that SO very many of us could say the same and I am one of them. I can't count the amount of people I know whose lives have been horribly effected and changed by this ban.

    Another pre election promise not honored was to allow FREE Votes by other Liberal party members. Bill 132 was WHIPPED and anyone who read the debates and counted the votes knows this. So much for having a free democratic process.

    Dalton also said, when asked about the ban, "we got the best advise we could and put in place legislation WE think upholds public safety". WHAT he did NOT say was HE then IGNORED that advice. Not one reporter asked IF he took the advice given him. Dalton's words were delibrately deceptive and deceiving. Sadly, he got away with it.

    Dalton and Bryants minds were MADE up and no amount of common sense was going to change it. Welcome to the new OntarioSTAN.

    If people do not wake up to this dictatorship, it might be decades before we get back the Ontario we all known, loved and respected.

  3. All I have to say is Fair and Equal Treatment under the law... We in Ontariostan sure don't have the above statement. Hopefully we can restore our rights in the near future!