Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My comments on Bowser's case

There are several points I want to bring up because I think they are important for dog owners in general, future people who get raked over the coals and people working on the other side of the fence.

For Danny and Bowser, it all began in November, 2008 When Danny took Bowser at 10 months old to be neutered.

Danny got a puppy which one of his family members had bought for him. Bowser was sold to the family as a Rottweiler/Boxer cross and was licensed as such with the city of Mississauga.

Danny was being a responsible dog owner and took Bowser to a vet he had never visited before. When Danny entered the clinic with Bowser the receptionist immediately scolded Danny for owning an underage "pitbull" to which he responded that Bowser is a Rottweiler/Boxer cross. In hindsight that was to set the tone of the whole vet experience.

The first point I would like to make is to all people working in vet clinics, it is NOT your job to identify dogs as 'pitbulls'! I have heard this all too often and have had numerous phone calls from numerous vet clinics saying "we have a 'pitbull' here..." Well, no you don't. There is NO SUCH THING. A 'pitbull' is a slang term for a mix breed shape or type of dog that can look as different as;

to this.

All of the dogs above have been identified as "pitbulls" in the province of Ontario! (Two of them in Mississauga)
If there is nothing else you understand, please understand this; no person is an expert on identifying the breeds of cross bred dogs because there is NO way to definitively prove the breed makeup of a cross bred dog! It is a simple guessing game and under certain circumstances where purebred crosses have been purposefully bred, the outcome may have your eyebrows raised. I am not going to go into genetics because it is simply fascinating but far to complicated to go into at this point, but many factors affect the body shape/coat color/tail length/limb length/head shape ect. To simply make a statement that a particular dog looks like a 'pitbull' is neither correct or helping! For those of you who refer to dogs and identify them as 'pitbulls' are purposefully endangering their lives in this climate of insanity in the province of Ontario.

I do not know what happened at the vet clinic, but it may have been anything from a growl, snarl or absolutely nothing to do with behavior but all to do with looks. Either way, the vet from the clinic where Danny took Bowser to be neutered reported Danny to Mississauga Animal Services and after the vet visit the MAS showed up at Danny's door and charged him under DOLA with owning a prohibited "pitbull" punishable by up to a $10,000.00 fine and or destruction of your dog. Now the vet clinic did not testify in court which may have been the basis for the charges being dropped down and the status of the breed makeup that was originally on the license (Rott/Boxer) kept as is. I also find it strange that a vet clinic would call Animal Services simply because they got growled at. I would think vet clinics get growled at, snarled at and threatened on a regular basis. Sometimes an otherwise stable dog becomes fearful only at vet clinics.. Somewhat like humans at the dentist...

There have been many people wanting the name of the vet clinic where Danny went, and in my opinion the best way to deal with that situation is; before going to an unfamiliar vet ask them outright if they believe they can definitively identify a 'pitbull'? If the answer is yes, keep scouring the yellow pages and in the meantime educate them!  People are angry, and for good reason but if anyone should be angry it should be Danny. He was out his lawyers fees, plus suffered a great deal of stress over the past 2 1/2 yrs. He missed out on valuable time to socialize and train his dog because he was so afraid for Bowser's life. He had been charged with a provincial offense and been targeted because of how his dog looked while doing what responsible dog owners do, getting their dog neutered!

The outcome of Danny's case was; the prosecution dropped the charges down to owning a dog that behaved in a menacing way to threaten the safety of a person. The charge is still under DOLA but applies to any dog regardless of breed. He was charged a $250.00 fine. The charges applied to the vet clinic that apparently Bowser behaved in a menacing way toward the vet staff which is why they called MAC to have him charged.

This was great news for Danny because, the ordeal is over, Bowser remains licensed with the city as a Rott/Boxer cross. There will be no questions in future about his breed mixture. Danny and Bowser get to pick up the pieces and get on with life.

We spoke with the MAC officer after court. They did not want to be quoted personally but said it was ok to quote the Mississauga Animal Services itself.

 What the quote was "If a dog owner has a signed version from a vet that their dog's breed mixture is yadda yadda and they carry that with them while out walking, that is proof enough for the city of Mississauga that it is indeed the case."
 This sets a very important precedence for the province. Vets have been called in on many cases to affirm or deny breed makeups of said dogs in cases. Based on the vet's word, the case is either pressed or dropped based on the vet's word.
 If you have a cross bred dog that is born after November 20th, 2005, you had better have your dog listed at your vet and carry a signed version in your pocket or wallet with you while walking your dog. It may save you a lot of strife, money and your dog's life!

Something that people do not understand about this barbaric, draconian, vague and insane law is that your dog does not have to do anything at all in order for you to be charged. This law is based solely on looks not behavior.

The onus is on the owner of the dog to prove your dog is not a 'pitbull' (which is impossible). You are guilty until proven innocent under this law and you have no definitive way to prove your innocence. If that is not insane, draconian, vague and unconstitutional, I don't know what is.

The Supreme Court of Canada did not accept our case to be heard so we will never know what the outcome would have been at the highest court. The Ontario Superior Court struck major portions of the law as unconstitutional on the first round but the appellate court reinstated the law to its original form.

Dog owners have been thrown under the bus in this province, as have all citizens since the precedence of this law has been used several times since in other laws with different content. The Liberal Government wanted reverse onus, warrantless entry, search and seizure, restrictions on mobility to stand constitutionally. Lucky for them they had the PERFECT red herring!

The notorious "pitbull". While everyone is paying so much attention to any dog that makes the news is a 'pitbull' and placing all blame on dogs instead of at the other end of the leash which is where the real blame lies. The government not only achieved what they were after which was the precedence and appearance they were contributing to protecting public safety. They used your tax payer money to fight us in court and laid the responsibility on the municipalities to pay for court, housing of dogs that LOOK suspicious and killing innocent dogs based on looks not behavior!

The absolute crime in this amendment to DOLA, which is what the ban actually is, and the banning of breeds or non-breeds of dogs is the government legalized a witch hunt for people's family pets. People's best friends and family members. When they used the precedence for example cars; it is maddening yes but if someone takes your car it isn't a living, breathing being or is it a member so your family.

I am also not suggesting we shouldn't have repercussions for irresponsible dog owners, but DOLA (Dog Owners Liability Act) has been in place since 1896. Rules should apply to ALL dog owners not just those who own a dog that looks a certain way.

I want to congratulate Danny on your win in court. I am happy for you and Bowser and hope you have a long happy life with your best friend. You stood up for your rights and fought for your dog's life. I am proud of you and it was a pleasure showing up to support you.

All the best to you and Bowser.


  1. Happy for Danny and Bowser. Danny's a committed owner and Bowser looks like a happy dog.

    Stupid vet clinic. Even if Bowser was acting up, haven't they ever heard of a muzzle? Any vet who is ignorant enough to discriminate against certain dogs based on breed is surely ignorant enough to discriminate against certain people based on race. Jerks.

  2. I'm so happy for Bowser and Danny.

    ANYONE who owns a "substantially similar" dog should carry proof of the dog's breed or crossbreed with them. A lab looks like a "pit bull" to me.

    Keep in mind who is truly at fault here. It's McGuinty and the Lie-berals, who passed an unfounded, unjust, vague, shoddy, fiscally irresponsible and proven ineffective law. Dozens of owners traumatized by the Lie-berals, thousands of dogs dead because of the Lie-berals. The Lie-berals must go.

    To where, I'd truly like to tell them.

  3. I still would publish the name of the vet clinic; if they are that arbitrary and vindcative with this, then I wouldn't trust them in other respects. And I don't see how slander or anything else could enter into it if they were simply identifed as the clinic that alerted Animal Control (fact).

  4. Only an idiot would publish the name of the clinic. If anything happened, it could be traced to the person who would then be in hot water.

    Nobody knows who at the clinic actually called. It is unlikely it was a vet, probably just a staff member who may not even be working there anymore. Since the Crown in this case had no expert testimony such as a letter from a vet identifying Bowser as a "pit bull", it's obvious that the veterinarians did not stand behind the original mean-spirited call to animal control.

    Small point: Cities are NOT on the hook for the costs of litigating DOLA cases, unfortunately. It comes out of the provincial coffers, as it is a provincial offense.