Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hershey's Bill needs your help to succeed!

We are asking for your help.

As you may have heard a tri-party supported Hershey's Bill was introduced in the House of Legislature November 30th by PC MPP Randy Hillier. The Bill is co-sponsored by NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo and Liberal MPP Kim Craitor! This is huge.. it is rare to have a Private Members Bill sponsored by all 3 parties!

Please visit this website and sign the petition. 

Please consider sending a Christmas card to your MPP asking them to support Randy Hillier's Bill 16 to repeal the "pitbull" ban. Second reading and debates are February 23, 2012.

It would be most helpful for the Ontario government to witness the overwhelming support in favor of repealing the ban!

Bill 16 seeks to repeal all breed specific portions of the Dog Owners Liability Act. For a bit of background, the ban was originally implemented by the McGuinty Liberals in August, 2005. The ban targeted 3 purebred breeds, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pitbull Terrier plus the "pitbull" which is a slang term for an appearance of dog. This appearance has nothing to do with the genetic makeup of the 3 named purebreds as they are all very rare. There are less than 1000 dogs of all three purebreds combined in the province of Ontario but yet the common short haired mutt is one of the most common mutts in the province. There have been roughly over 6000 dogs killed in Ontario since August 2005, not based on behavior but looks. Many of these dogs included puppies that were deemed "pitbulls". The purebreds are rarely seen and most people have never actually met one. That being said, it is highly likely the common short haired mutt is likely a blend of a multitude of  crosses constituting of what are likely the more common breeds. In other words the purebreds named in the law are physically unable to parent the massive majority of the provinces common short haired mutt. These are dogs of unknown lineage and there is no way of determining the breed makeup of a cross bred dog. What I am presenting to you is fact and can be supported by hard evidence. What is my opinion is that this law is insane; however I think if you have any logic at all, you would have to agree with my hypothesis.

What Bill 16 will achieve if it successfully passes through the legislature is;

1. To keep DOLA intact but returning it to its original form keeping the stiffer penalties it now contains.
2. To remove all references to breeds but instead have the law apply to ALL dog owners equally.

Essentially what we dog owners want is FAIR AND EQUAL TREATMENT UNDER THE LAW.

As it stands now in an overly simplified view;
If your dog is deemed a "pitbull" or you own one of the purebreds, you are open to warrant-less entry of your property, reverse onus (prove your dog is not a "pitbull" but you cannot prove a negative), search and seizure in public, restrictions on mobility (cannot travel through the province), dog must be muzzled, leashed, spayed, neutered and if you own a dog falling under the law born after November 29, 2005 it is prohibited. The penalty of being found guilty means your dog is seized/killed/or sent for research. 

The law is harsh, cruel and irrational. There is NO scientific evidence to support dogs are dangerous by breed. There is NO scientific evidence to support that you can breed dogs for aggression since aggression is a learned behavior. There IS scientific evidence to support that banning breeds of dogs DOES NOT increase public safety!

Countless family pets have been seized from homes or picked up while out on an accidental neighborhood joyride, only to be killed or thousands spent on legal fees fighting for the dog's life! Very few cases have involved actual threatening circumstances! In many cases the owner signs the dog over to be killed because they cannot afford to defend themselves in court. 

The law targets dog owners for owning a certain "look" of dog and is not based on behavior of the owner or dog but simply on how the dog "looks". 

It is irrational to think that if someone's dog bites someone in Thunder Bay, someone in Ottawa should be punished. 

All dogs have the ability to bite. That being said, dog bites are not common, however dog/s reside in nearly half of all family homes. Statistically 96% of all dog bites happen at home with the family dog or an adjacent property. Your chances of being bitten by a dog or by a strange dog are really quite remote! 

Public Health do not record dog bites by breed.  Public Health is the only entity that records all bites that require medical attention but only collect dog/human incidents. Therefore if you are hearing bite stats by breed in Ontario, it is safe to assume the stats are inconclusive. Toronto Animal Services collect bite stats of their own accord but they only have access to bites they are called to, which is only a fraction of the overall bites. They record all bites whether dog/human, dog/dog or dog/domestic animal. The are recorded by breed but the breed determination is their own and AC officers have been deemed in court NOT to be experts. Ontario animal control licencing programs sit on an average of licensing only between 10 - 15% of dogs in any town/city therefore they really do not know how many dogs reside in Ontario.

The original DOLA protects the public from dangerous dogs and their incompetent owners; however it must be enforced. The Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw in Calgary is a model on a municipal level that is tried and true for the past 2 decades. They have virtually eliminated bites, have a 97% licensing program and run a revenue neutral, state of the art facility that keeps dog owners and non dog owners happy. Calgary has NO breed specific provisions, no pet limits and no mandatory spay/neuter. They reward owners for "good" behavior and enforce penalties on those who are not!

I hope that you will join us by supporting this important move to end discrimination of dog owners in Ontario based on what type or look of dog one owns. Please join us in the movement to FAIR AND EQUAL TREATMENT UNDER THE LAW. 

Help us PUSH Dalton McGuinty to support the repeal of the breed ban in Ontario.

Friday, December 2, 2011

An interview with Cheri DiNovo on CBC radio

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo did an interview on CBC's Metro Morning. Jane Hawtin was sitting in and did the interview.

Cheri did a great job with the interview. Here is a link to the podcast.

Thank you Cheri for being the voice of reason, and a strong voice for fair and equal treatment under the law, for Ontario's dog owners.