Pit bull ban has kept some dog owners barking mad

Debate over the issue flared up this week after fallout from a dog biting a teenager’s face

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Some Ontario dog owners are digging in.

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A group of pet lovers is disappointed the Ford government has no plans to scrap a provincial pit bull ban enacted by the Liberals in 2005.

But they vow they are not giving up.

“We haven’t gone away. We won’t go away. We are not going away,” said Candida Beauchamp, Ontario director for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada.

“I have been fighting breed-specific legislation since before it became a provincial law.”

Her club is part of a coalition that wants the Dog Owners’ Liability Act ditched.

The ban has been in place since 2005 when the Liberals amended the act.

The issue became a flashpoint this week after a 13-year-old boy was bitten on the left side of his face at the end of a taekwondo class Nov. 5 at Black Belt World on Bloor St. W.

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Muhammad Alzghool told the Sun this week he was having nightmares about the incident, which police are investigating.

The dog that bit Alzghool had just spent 24 days in custody at Vaughan Animal Services awaiting a DNA test that proved it was not a pit bull.

Muhammad’s father Muath Alzghool wants something done about the dog, and he wants rules about when one can be at a setting like a children’s martial arts class.

Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday there are no plans to change the legislation.

“First of all, my thoughts are with the young boy that got bitten, and their family,” Ford said. “Nothing is going to change right at this point, but our thoughts are with the family.“

On Nov. 1, the government tweaked regulations that included making it easier under certain circumstances for a dog owner to get their pet released from custody.

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For some dog owners who held a rally at Queen’s Park in October, it’s a Band-Aid solution.

“Ontario’s the only province in Canada and the largest jurisdiction in North America to have breed-specific legislation,” Beauchamp said.

“It is something which is totally wrong. The majority of the problems are caused bad ownership.”

Another group called End The Ban is pushing members to petition MPPs to dump the current law.

“Studies conducted over the past 20 years on breed-specific legislation have demonstrated that breed bans are not effective in reducing overall dog bites or dog-related incidents,” the group said in a statement.

A proposed private member’s bill in September 2019 from now-Independent MPP Rick Nicholls that would water down regulations in the pit bull ban died when the legislature was prorogued due to the pandemic.

slaurie@postmedia.com

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