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Dog and Cat Control Law (Ontario)
(August 2008)

Chapter 5 - Pitbulls


  1. Overview
    (a) History
    (b) Terminology
    (c) Municipal By-Laws
  2. "Pit Bull" Definition and Proof
    (a) Overview
    (b) "Pit Bull" Defined
    (c) Related Provisions
    (d) Case Law
  3. Pit Bull Ban
  4. Ownership Ban and Exceptions (includes "Restricted Pit Bull" Requirements)
    (a) Ownership Banned
    (b) Pound and Research Facility Ownership Exception
    (c) "Restricted Pit Bull" Ownership Exception
    (d) Leashing and Muzzling of Restricted Pit Bulls; Exceptions
    (e) Sterilization of Restricted Pit Bulls; Exceptions
    . Sterilization Requirement
    . Exception for Old Age or Infirmity
    . Exception for Young Age (Spent)
  5. Breeding Ban
  6. Transfer
    (a) Transferring Prohibited
    (b) Pound and Research Facility Exceptions
    (c) Gifting or Bequesting Exception; Conditions
    . Gift and Bequest Exception
    . Acquisition Limits
  7. Abandonment and 'Allowing to Stray'
  8. Importation
    (a) General
    (b) Exception for Returning Residents
  9. Training to Fight
  10. Sports (Flyball) Exceptions
    (a) Exceptions for Resident Restricted Pit Bulls
    (b) Exceptions for Non-Resident Pit Bulls
  11. Dog Show Exceptions
    (a) "Dog Show" Defined
    (b) Exceptions for Resident Restricted Pit Bulls
    (c) Exceptions for Non-Resident Pit Bulls
  12. Mandatory Destruction for Pit Bulls Under Court Orders
________________________________________


1. Overview

(a) History

In the 1990s several instances of violence by pit bull terriers (against both humans and other animals) caught media attention. An example of these was R v Weaver (OCJ, 1996), a 'criminal negligence causing death' charge against a landlord dog owner whose two pit bulls attacked and killed a tenant. After a committal hearing the court held that there was sufficient evidence presented to commit the defendant for trial.

Subsequently, and following a trend in numerous other North American jurisdictions, on 29 August 2005 Ontario imposed harsh legislative pit bull controls.

These amendments [under Bill 132], primarily to the Dog Owners Liability Act ("DOLA") but also to the Animals for Research Act, essentially impose a province-wide ban on the ownership, breeding, sale and importation of pit bull terriers. DOLA penalties for general offences were also increased.

While pre-existing [existing or conceived before 29 August 2008] resident pit bulls (called "restricted pit bulls") are grand-parented through the ban, they are subject to neutering requirements, and leashing and muzzling requirements when not in the enclosed private property of their owners or others who consent to their presence.

Other pit bulls (ie. conceived or imported after 29 August 2005) (called "banned" pit bulls) are subject to immediate seizure and delivery to a local pound, where their future is bleak [see Ch.3, s.7: "Pounds, Shelters and Research: Pit Bulls in Pounds"].

Further, ANY pit bulls (restricted or banned) which fall under the DOLA "destruction and control order" regime [see Ch.3] are to be euthanized if grounds for any court order are made out (ie. there is no discretion to limit the order to safety controls).

(b) Terminology

Following are key definitions used in this chapter:
"pound" means a pound within the meaning of the Animals for Research Act, and excludes a shelter insofar as it does not accept municipally or DOLA-seized animals [for more on this see Ch.2: "Seizures" and Ch.3: "Pounds, Shelters and Research"];

"research facility" means a registered research facility as defined in the Animals for Research Act;

"Reg." refers to Reg 157/05: "Pit Bull Controls" under the Dog Owners Liability Act;

"veterinarian" means a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.
For the legal definition of a "pit bull", see s.2 below.

(c) Municipal By-Laws

If a municipality has passed a by-law respecting of pit bulls [see Ch.7: "Municipalities and Dog Control"], and if that by-law conflicts with anything in the DOLA regime, then "the provision that is the most restrictive in relation to controls or bans on pit bulls prevails [DOLA s.11]. Municipal involvement with dog control is discussed further in Ch.8: "Dogs, Cats and Municipalities".

Therefore, anyone involved with a pit bull situation should review not only the law explained in this Isthatlegal.ca Dog and Cat Control Law (Ontario) Guide, but should also inquire as to any local pit bull-related bylaws. I note the pit bulls are not specifically regulated in the City of Toronto.


2. "Pit Bull" Definition and Proof
CAUTION:
The content of this section does NOT yet reflect recent developments in the Cochrane court case. See the case note below.
(a) Overview

Much political and legal attention has been given to the issue of defining pit bulls. This is not surprising given the inevitable intermixing of breeds, the resultant variety of offspring and as well the incomplete breed recognition of pit bulls amongst dog breeders and fanciers. Animal and dog advocates in general have pointed to this inherent uncertainty as being unfair, and casting an 'overbroad' net over non-aggressive individual dogs.

The issue was litigated in the case of Cochrane v Ontario (Ont Sup Ct, 2007), which is more fully explained in the case note linked here:

Casenote: Cochrane v Ontario

(b) "Pit Bull" Defined

The result of the Cochrane case is that the statutory DOLA s.1(1) definition has been amended by the courts.

The original statutory definition is quoted in the above-linked casenote. For all purposes of DOLA however [and the Animals for Research Act by virtue of it's adoption of the DOLA "pit bull" definition: ARA s.1(2)] readers should read the DOLA s.1(1) pit bull definition as follows:
"Pit bulls" means:

  • Staffordshire bull terriers,

  • American Staffordshire terriers,

  • American pit bull terriers,

  • dogs that have an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to any of the above.
  • The court made it plain that in determining what "substantially similar" means, parties should have regard to the breed standards of the several dog organizations as per DOLA s.1(2):
    s.1(2)
    In determining whether a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of this Act, a court may have regard to the breed standards established for Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers or American Pit Bull Terriers by the Canadian Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club or the American Dog Breeders Association.
    I have TRIED to link these here with the following results: (c) Related Provisions

    Note that the court in Cochrane also struck down an evidentiary provision of DOLA that applied (ONLY) for prosecutions, DOLA s.19. That provision provided that, in a DOLA prosecution [see Ch.6: "Offences"], a veterinarian's "document" attesting to the identification of a dog as a pit bull was, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, both admissible and proof of the identification. That provision (subject to further appeal) is no longer law.

    Further note that for purposes of destruction and control orders [see Ch.4 and s.12 below], the onus of proving that the dog is NOT a pit bull lies on the dog-owner [DOLA s.4(10)].

    (d) Case Law

    The case report of R v Kirby (OCJ, 2006) is unclear as to the precise charges and/or applications before the court, but the case was one of the first post-"pit bull ban" (though pre-Cochrane cases). As best I can tell the court was faced with a DOLA "restricted pit bull" off-leash charge, a s.4(1.1) "pit bull" DOLA control order application [mandatory destruction if made out: s.4(9)], and several municipal licensing and "running at large" [no leash] charges. The court (if I am correct) may have been confused as to the pit bull identification requirements, which were [pre-Cochrane] different under the control order [s.4(10) reverse onus on defendant] and the prosecution provisions [at the time a Crown burden satisfiable by a veterinarian's certificate that the dog was a pit bull].

    The court, not mentioning the reverse onus identification provision of s.4(10) resolved the case in favour of the dog on inadequate and conflicting veterinary evidence. The dog was returned to its owner, although convictions were entered under the municipal leashing and licensing violations.

    R v Huggins (OCJ, 2007) - on the other hand - was also a post-"pit bull ban" (but also post-Cochrane) case. The proceedings were a s.5.1 dog bite prosecution coupled wth a s.4(1) control order application. Like Kirby, if the dog was held to be a pit bull ("restricted" or not), it was subject to a mandatory destruction order under s.4(8). While the charge was dismissed on a due diligence defence (the defendant had charged his mother with the animal's keeping at the material time), the dog was ordered destroyed when the s.4(10) reverse onus ID provision was not met. A DOLA s.18(3) compensation order was dismissed as well, the court holding that it was only available if a conviction was entered.

    The contrast between the Kirby and the Huggins cases is stark. Both involved s.4 control order applications with inconclusive evidence of pit bull identification. However, the operation of the s.4(10) reverse onus provision in Huggins resulted in the destruction of the dog, while in Kirby the non-application of s.4(10) (perhaps an error in law) resulted in it being returned to the owner.


    3. Pit Bull Ban

    Effective 29 August 2005 ("in-force date") - and subject to any exceptions explained in the below sections [ss.4-11] - the following activities respecting pit bulls are prohibited in Ontario [DOLA s.6]:
    • owning a pit bull ["owning"] (main exception is "restricted" pit bulls, see s.4(c-e) below);

    • breeding a pit bull ["breeding"];

    • transferring a pit bull (ie. sale, gift or any other conveyance) ["transfer"];

    • abandonment of a pit bull, except surrender to a pound ["abandonment"];

    • allowing a pit bull in one's possession to stray ["allowing to stray"];

    • importation of a pit bull into Ontario ["importation"];

    • training a pit bull for fighting ["training for fighting"].
    Each of these circumstances and activities is explored in further detail below.


    4. Ownership Ban and Exceptions (includes "Restricted Pit Bull" Requirements)

    (a) Ownership Banned

    As noted above - and subject to the following exceptions (the main one being for "restricted" or grandfathered pit bulls) - a general ban on the ownership of pit bulls commenced in Ontario on 29 August 2005.

    The immediate effect of the ban for 'banned' pit bulls is that they are open to seizure by a variety of peace officers, and delivery to a pound [see Ch.3, s.7: "Pounds, Shelters and Research: Pit Bulls in Pounds"].

    Exceptions to the ownership ban for visiting (non-resident) pit bulls participating in flyball tournaments and dog shows are discussed in ss.10 and 11 (respectively) below.

    (b) Pound and Research Facility Ownership Exception

    Pounds and registered research facilities under the Animals for Research Act ("ARA") may own prohibited pit bulls in the course of otherwise legitimate ARA activities [ie. seizure and delivery to a research facility: see Ch.2: "Seizures" and pound and research facility purposes, and Ch.3: "Pounds, Shelters and Research") [DOLA s.8].

    This provision excepts such facilities from the 'prohibited pit bulls' ownership ban. Presumably such facilities may also own 'restricted pit bulls' [defined immediately below] that otherwise properly come into their possession.

    (c) "Restricted Pit Bull" Ownership Exception

    This is the main exception to the pit bull "ownership" ban.

    Pit bulls that were owned by residents of Ontario at the in-force date [29 August 2005], or which were born in Ontario with 90 days of that date are excepted from the ownership prohibition [DOLA s.7(1,2)]. These are called "restricted" (or grand-parented) pit bulls.

    Restricted pit bulls are still subject to other leashing. muzzling and sterilization requirements as explained in (d)-(e) below [DOLA s.7(3)].

    (d) Leashing and Muzzling of Restricted Pit Bulls; Exceptions

    By 28 October 2005 [Reg s.1(1,5,6)], and subject to the explained exceptions, restricted pit bulls must be leashed and muzzled in accordance with the following requirements [Reg s.1]:
    • the pit bull shall be fitted with a collar or harness that is properly fitted to and placed on the dog;

    • the movement of the pit bull shall be controlled by a person by means of a leash attached to the collar or harness on the pit bull;

    • the leash is not more than 1.8 metres in length and is attached to the collar or harness;

    • the collar or harness, the leash and the attachment between the leash and the collar or harness are all strong enough to prevent the pit bull from breaking any of them;

    • the mouth of the pit bull is covered by a muzzle that is humane and that is strong enough and well-fitted enough to prevent the pit bull from biting, without interfering with the breathing, panting or vision of the pit bull or with the pit bull's ability to drink.
    These requirements are excepted if the pit bull is in "enclosed property" [ie. "enclosed in a way that can be relied on to prevent the pit bull from breaking out of the property"] 'occupied' (includes both ownership and renting) by either [Reg s.1(2,3,4)]:
    • the pit bull owner; or

    • a person who consents to the pit bull being off-leash or unmuzzled, to the extent of that consent.
    Exceptions to the muzzling/leashing requirements for visiting (non-resident) pit bulls participating in flyball tournaments and dog shows are discussed in ss.10 and 11 (respectively) below.

    (e) Sterilization of Restricted Pit Bulls; Exceptions

    . Sterilization Requirement

    In furtherance of the complete ban on pit bull breeding [see s.5: "Breeding Ban", below], and subject to the below-explained exceptions, owners of restricted pit bulls are required to have them sterilized BY A VETERINARIAN by 28 October 2005 [Reg s.2(1)].

    Exceptions to the sterilization requirements for visiting (non-resident) pit bulls participating in dog shows are discussed in s.11 (respectively) below.

    . Exception for Old Age or Infirmity

    This requirement is exempted to the extent that a veterinarian provides a written opinion that the "pit bull is physically unfit to be anaesthetized because of old age or infirmity" (ie. the surgery cannot be performed) [Reg s.2(3)].

    In the case of infirmity, such a written opinion must state whether the infirmity is likely permanent or not [Reg s.2(4,5)], AND if the opinion is that it is not permanent then a veterinary re-examination date must be specified in the written opinion to re-assess the dog's fitness to be anaesthetized. Unless otherwise extended by further written veterinary opinion, the sterilization exception ends at the date specified for re-examination [Reg s.2(6)].

    . Exception for Young Age (Spent)

    When the pit bull ban first came into force, this requirement was temporarily excepted where the pit bull was too young to be sterilized, delaying the procedure until the dog was 36 weeks old. This provision is now spent however as all legal "restricted pit bulls" are well over two years of age at the date of writing [August 2008].


    5. Breeding Ban

    Since 29 August 2005, it has been completely illegal to breed pit bulls in Ontario [DOLA s.6(b), Reg s.2(1)].

    This breeding ban is supported by sterilization requirement imposed in restricted pit bulls [set out with exceptions in s.4(e) above]. No exception to the sterilization requirements for restricted pit bulls legalizes the breeding of pit bulls.

    This ban applies to the involvement of any pit bull in breeding, even if it is bred with a non-pit bull breed.

    Pit bull puppies born under the ban are in the same legal position as "banned" pit bull adults [see Ch.2: "Seizures" and Ch.3, s.7: "Pounds, Shelters and Research: Pit Bulls in Pounds"].


    6. Transfer

    a) Transferring Prohibited

    "Transfer" is a broad term encompassing any change of ownership. It includes selling, gifting, bequesting, surrender and any other form of legally conveying property title.

    Subject to the below exceptions, transferring ownership of a pit bull is banned [DOLA s.6(c), 9(1)]. The main exception is limited transfers of restricted pit bulls (explained below).

    (b) Pound and Research Facility Exceptions

    The ban does not apply to prevent an owner from surrendering ownership of their pit bull to a pound [DOLA s.9(5)].

    The transfer ban does not apply to prevent transfers of pit bulls by pounds and research facilities under the Animals for Research Act ("ARA") in the course of otherwise legitimate ARA activities [see Ch.3: "Pounds, Pitbulls and Research"] [DOLA s.9(6)].

    Note that while NON-pit bulls in pounds or that have been sold to research facilities, may be transferred ('redeemed') back to their owners [ARA s.14(3)(b); s.20(5) and s.20(6)(a)], pit bulls may NOT [ARA s.20(7.1)(a-c)].

    Further, while NON-pit bulls held by pounds after the expiration of the redemption period may be sold for pet/hunting/working purposes, pit bulls may NOT [ARA s.20(6)(b)].

    However, restricted pit bulls held by pounds by reason of "pos(ing) a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals" may, at the discretion of the pound operator, transfer the pit bull for pet/hunting/working purposes to an extra-Ontario jurisdiction where the dog may be legally owned and possessed [ARA s.20(7.3-7.4)].

    (c) Gifting or Bequesting Exception; Conditions

    . Gift and Bequest Exception

    Transferring a restricted pit bull by way of gift (ie. for no money or other legal consideration) or bequest (in a will) is legal if it accords with the acquisition limits [DOLA s.9(1)].

    . Acquisition Limits

    Despite the allowed transfer for gifted or bequested restricted pit bulls, the number of restricted pit bulls that a person owned on 29 August 2005 form a "capped" ownership maximum from that date forward. Thus, despite the gift and bequest exceptions, no tranfers may take place if they result in that cap being exceeded [DOLA s.9(2)].

    For example, if on 29 August 2005 the owner owned two pit bulls (which at that date became restricted pit bulls), they may not accept a new restricted pit bull by way of gift or bequest until one or more of the originals either dies or are legally transferred to someone else, or out of province.

    However if a person did not own any pit bulls on 29 August 2005, then after that date they may accept one (ONLY one) restricted pit bull by way of gift or bequest [DOLA s.9(3)].
    Note:
    Reg s.9(3) is ambiguous regarding the situation of what can be done after THAT dog dies or is otherwise legally transferred. Literally it prohibits "acquir[ing]" more than one pit bull - period, which would mean that no further 'replacement' pit bulls may be acquired. This seems an odd result in light of the "cap" structuring for those owned pit bulls at the in-force date.
    These transfer acquisition limits do not apply to pounds and registered research facilities under the Animals for Research Act ("ARA") in the course of otherwise legitimate ARA activities [DOLA s.9(4)].


    7. Abandonment and 'Allowing to Stray'

    As noted above, part of the pit bull ban is a prohibition on [DOLA s.6(d,e)]:
    • abandoning a pit bull, except to a pound; and

    • allowing a pit bull in his or her possession to stray.
    These provisions, contravention of which is an offence [see Ch.6: "Offences"] are closely related to similar Criminal Code prohibitions, which are explained at this Isthatlegal.ca link:

    Animals and the Criminal Law (Canada), Ch.4, s.9: "Main Offences: Abandonment or Inadequate Care"

    Most domestic animals, if abandoned, will be in distress by that act alone - having been removed from adequate food, water, shelter and care - thus meeting the Criminal Code requirement of "abandonment in distress".

    Important differences in mens rea (intention) standards apply to the two types (criminal and DOLA) abandonment offences. Readers must review the references given.


    8. Importation

    (a) General

    As noted above, the bringing of a pit bull (even a "restricted" pit bull") into Ontario is part of the pit bull ban, effective since 29 August 2005.

    Such "importation" is defined very broadly and with few exceptions. Basically, subject to the below exceptions, any physical bringing of any pit bull into Ontario by crossing an Ontario border is illegal, no matter how transient or temporary the intention to be in Ontario may be.

    Exceptions to the importation ban for visiting (non-resident) pit bulls participating in flyball tournaments and dog shows are discussed in ss.10 and 11 (respectively) below.

    (b) Exception for Returning Residents

    The return of a pit bull to Ontario by an Ontario resident after their being absent for no longer than three months, is an exception to the importation ban [DOLA s.10(1)]. Generally in law "residence" is established by the maintenance of a permanent residence in Ontario, despite vacations or other temporary expeditions away.

    Similarly, in a now spent provision, Ontario residents and their pit bulls who were temporarily absent from Ontario on 29 August 2005, but who returned by 28 November 2005 (three months), are an exception to the importation ban [DOLA s.10(2)].


    9. Training to Fight

    Part of the pit bull ban is a prohibition on the training of pit bulls for fighting [DOLA s.6(g)], though practically this would only apply to restricted pit bulls as banned pit bulls are generally illegal.

    This DOLA offence only prohibits 'training' for fighting. In addition, "encouraging, aiding or assisting" dog-fighting is a Criminal Code offence, as is explained at this Isthatlegal.ca link:

    Animals and the Criminal Law (Canada), Ch.4, s.5: "Fighting and Baiting"


    10. Sports (Flyball) Exceptions

    (a) Exceptions for Resident Restricted Pit Bulls

    The muzzling and leashing requirements for resident restricted pit bulls [see s.4(d) above] do not apply with respect to pit bulls on the site of and participating in dog flyball tournaments if the owner has been compliant with ALL of the following conditions [Reg s.6,7]:
    • the flyball tournament is sanctioned, in writing, by the North American Flyball Association;

    • the restricted pit bull is registered with the North American Flyball Association;

    • the owner of the restricted pit bull has given written notice to the North American Flyball Association stating the owner's intention that the restricted pit bull participate in a flyball tournament;

    • the restricted pit bull participated in at least one flyball tournament during the 365-day period between 30 August 2004 and 29 August 2005;

      AND

    • the restricted pit bull has participated in a flyball tournament at least once annually, counting years from the date of their first participation within the above 30 August 2004 to 29 August 2005 period.
    Anyone claiming this exemption is well-advised to keep copies of the relevant paperwork with them at all times.

    (b) Exceptions for Non-Resident Pit Bulls

    The muzzling, leashing requirements [see s.4(d) above] do not apply with respect to non-resident pit bulls on the site of and participating in dog flyball tournaments, AND the ownership and importation bans [see s.4(a) and 8 above, respectively] do not apply to non-resident pit bulls within the below-listed seven-day periods, IF the owner has been compliant with ALL of the following conditions [Reg s.6,8]:
    • the flyball tournament is sanctioned, in writing, by the North American Flyball Association;

    • the restricted pit bull is registered with the North American Flyball Association;

    • the owner of the restricted pit bull has given written notice to the North American Flyball Association stating the owner's intention that the restricted pit bull participate in a flyball tournament;

    • since 29 August 2005 the pit bull has only been present in Ontario for participation in flyball tournaments within the seven-day windows allowed;

    • since 29 August 2005, the pit bull has not been brought (ie. imported) into Ontario more than seven days before a flyball tournament in which it was registered.
    Anyone claiming this exemption is well-advised to keep copies of the
    relevant paperwork with them at all times.

    Regardless of the above ownership exception, no non-resident pit bull shall be present in Ontario for more than 14 consecutive days [Reg s.9].
    Note re Sterilization and Flyball:

    Unlike the situation for non-resident 'visiting' pit bulls participating in dog shows [s.11 below], there is no sterilization exception in Reg s.8(3) for visiting flyball participants. While this suggests that visiting flyball pit bulls must be sterilized, I note that the Reg s.2 sterilization requirement only applies to "restricted pit bulls" [which under DOLA s.7(1) are 'resident'].

    But of course if the sterilization requirement did NOT apply to visiting pit bulls then the Reg s.5(3) sterilization exception for visiting dog show pit bulls would be unnecessary.

    Either I'm missing something or this is just bad legislative drafting leading to am ambiguous result on an important issue. I note that the A-G Ministry's information web-page [at August 2008] ducks the issue completely by referring the reader to the Pit Bull Regulation generally.

    11. Dog Show Exceptions

    (a) "Dog Show" Defined

    For the purposes of this section:
    • "dog show" "includes a conformation show, an agility trial, an obedience trial, a tracking test and an earth dog test", but NOT a flyball tournament sanctioned by the North American Flyball Association [for those see s.10 above] [Reg s.3(1)].

    • "approved dog show" "is an event, whether held in Ontario or elsewhere, that is sanctioned, in writing, by one or more of the following dog registries:

      1. The Canadian Kennel Club.
      2. The United Kennel Club.
      3. The American Kennel Club.
      4. The American Dog Breeders Association."
    (b) Exceptions for Resident Restricted Pit Bulls

    The muzzling and leashing requirements [see s.4(d) above], AND the sterilization requirements [see s.4(e) above] for (resident) restricted pit bulls do not apply if ALL of the following conditions apply [Reg s.4]:
    • the restricted pit bull is registered as a Staffordshire bull terrier, an American Staffordshire terrier or an American pit bull terrier with one or more of the dog registries (listed above in the definition of an "approved dog show");

    • the owner of the restricted pit bull has given written notice to one of the dog registries stating the owner's intention that the restricted pit bull participate in approved dog shows;

    • the restricted pit bull participated in at least one approved dog show during the 365-day period between 30 August 2004 and 29 August 2005 - EXCEPT that if it was 36 weeks old or less or unborn on 29 August 2005, it has participated in at least one approved dog show in the year since it reached to age of 36 weeks;

      AND

    • the restricted pit bull has participated in an approved dog show at least once annually, counting years from the date of their first participation as determined immediately above.
    Anyone claiming this exemption is well-advised to keep copies of the relevant paperwork with them at all times.

    (c) Exceptions for Non-Resident Pit Bulls

    The muzzling and leashing requirements [see s.4(d) above], the sterilization requirements [see s.4(e) above], AND the ownership and importation bans [see s.4(a) and 8 above, respectively] do not apply to pit bulls within the below-mentioned 14-day periods if ALL of the following conditions apply [Reg s.5]:
    • the pit bull is registered as a Staffordshire bull terrier, an American Staffordshire terrier or an American pit bull terrier with one or more of the dog registries (listed above in the definition of an "approved dog show");

    • the owner of the pit bull has given written notice to one of the dog registries stating the owner's intention that the restricted pit bull participate in approved dog shows;

    • since 29 August 2005 the pit bull has only been present in Ontario for participation in approved dog shows within 14-day periods that include the approved dog shows in which they participated;

    • since 29 August 2005, the pit bull has not been brought (ie. imported) into Ontario more than 14 days before an approved dog show in which it was registered.
    Anyone claiming this exemption is well-advised to keep copies of the relevant paperwork with them at all times.

    Regardless of the above ownership exception, no non-resident pit bull shall be present in Ontario for more than 14 consecutive days [Reg s.9].


    12. Mandatory Destruction for Pit Bulls Under Court Orders

    In Ch.4 ["Dog Destruction and Control Orders"]
    I explain the procedures and criteria for the issuance by the court of dog destruction and control orders under DOLA. Applications for these orders may be made where any of several safety-related allegations are made against a dog and/or their owner OR where a breach of DOLA or a prior DOLA order has been alleged [DOLA s.4(1,9)]. They may be granted if specifically-defined safety risks are shown [DOLA s.4(3)].

    Where a case is made out for such an order against a NON-pit bull (technically against their owner) the court is required to consider several factors in deciding whether to order the dog be euthanized or whether alternative control orders are sufficient. However, where the involved dog is a pit bull (restricted or not) the court has no discretion in the matter and the dog must be ordered destroyed [DOLA s.4(8)].
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