Protest for the pooches
Dog owners rally against proposed pit
By TOBI COHEN, Ottawa Sun
THE PROVINCE is barking up the wrong tree in its bid to ban certain dog breeds, according to some 200 dog owners who protested
on behalf of their pooches yesterday. While most left Fido at home for his comfort and safety, dog owners young and old braved
the wet weather to tell Attorney General Michael Bryant that Bill 132 banning pit bulls and Staffordshire terriers hurts responsible
dog owners and won't work.
Drafted in response to a vicious pit bull attack on a Toronto man last August, the bill has been criticized for giving
sweeping search and seizure rights that contravene the Charter and force a "reverse onus" on dog owners to prove in court
that their dog is not a pit bull.
"I do not believe that Michael Bryant's bill is fair and just. It leaves too many open doors," said Jordy Jennings, who
owns a Havelock Rottweiler and is a member of Canadian Dogs at Risk.
"How will you distinguish what breed of dog your dog is without having registered papers?"
Besides, she said: "You cannot blame dog bites on any one breed. Any breed has a tendency to bite once it's provoked."
Another dog owner, Gregory Barrett, said he fears the legislation will turn nuisance neighbour complaints into self-fulfilling
prophecies because police who enter a home in response to a complaint could face a dog simply protecting its territory and
"That would give them the evidence they need to support the allegation and the dog could be euthanized before the end of
Barrett, who marched from the Elgin St. courthouse to Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Wellington St. with his two Kuvasz
dogs, Triumph and Phantom, also fears this type of legislation could lead to the banning of all large dogs.
"There's not one person here who doesn't disagree that we need to address the problem, but not in this fashion," said Candice
O'Connell, of the National Capital Coalition for People and Dogs, which organized the event.
"It won't work," she said. "We want to protect people from dog bites and we want to encourage public safety. We want to
encourage responsible dog ownership."
The NCCPD is calling on legislators to "ban the deed, not the breed" by imposing stiffer fines on owners with biting dogs,
tighter controls on breeders and with incentives for owners to spay or neuter.
Steve Barker, Ontario director of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada, said his group is prepared to draft more suitable