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Ban on pit bulls in Ontario 10 years old

Ten years ago Ontario put into place a law that bans pit bulls. Under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and pit bull terriers cannot be purchased, sold or bred. After the law was enacted, ownership of the animals was also prohibited, though animals that fit this breed that were alive before the law went into effect were grandfathered in and are considered “restricted.” Accordingly, they must be spayed or neutered and cannot be in public without a leash and muzzle. 

Owners of these animals must be able to prove that they were grandfathered in. The failure to meet the requirements of the law could result in a $10,000 fine. In addition owners could end up in jail.

The ban was at least in part the result of the mauling of a toddler in the province. In the decade since the ban was enacted, the number of dog bites that have occurred in Toronto has varied between 400 and 650. Those in favor of repealing the law believe that the focus of preventing dog bites should not be on the type of dog but rather the actions the dog’s owner take. The Toronto Humane Society has expressed its dislike of breed specific laws.

Owners of dogs that seriously injure someone could face more than just criminal repercussions. It is possible that the injured party or that individual’s family could seek damages for the injuries. To be successful, negligence on the part of the animal’s owner must be established.

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