Pit bull ban hasnt cut dog bites
April 28, 2010
Ontarios five-year-old ban on pit bulls has not reduced the number of
dog bites in the province by much, says a study by the Toronto Humane
Society, which urges the government to review the law.
On Wednesday, the society released statistics on dog bites reported by
the provinces local health integration networks and medical officers
of health between 1999 and 2009.
There were 5,714 incidents in 2004, the year before the Liberal
government rolled out breed-specific legislation to ban the sale and
importation of pit bulls. Owners were required to get their pit bulls
spayed or neutered, and must muzzle and leash them in public.
Despite the law, the Humane Society found the number of dog bites
dropped slightly to between 5,350 and 5,500 in the last four years.
It is clear that the new law has not worked. It has not reduced the
number of dog bites and increased public safety. All it does is
punishing one breed of dogs, said society spokesman Ian McConachie.
Dogs are not born *** but are made that way by irresponsible
owners who train them to be aggressive or develop other behavioural
problems, he added.
The law also targets any dog that bites, attacks or is a menace to
public safety. Owners face fines of up to $10,000 and/or a jail term
of up to six months.
In a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty Wednesday, the Humane Society
asks the province to take a second look at this act and make
appropriate amendments to remove the breed specific provision a
position the group has held since the laws introduction.
We need to educate owners about their breed and how to modify their
behavioural issues through training, said McConachie, adding that
local municipalities could also introduce a knowledge and aptitude
test for owners before issuing pet licences.
Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the attorney generals ministry, said
the legislation ensures there are fewer opportunities for vicious
attacks by a pit bull. As time continues, we will be able to see the
full effects of the legislative amendments and municipal enforcement
efforts, he said.
In 2009, Durham topped the dog bite list, recording 1,134 incidents,
followed by Toronto (678), Hamilton (548), Waterloo (492) and York
Region (416). The statistics did not record the breed of the dogs