Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Death row 'pit bull' won't be killed after all

Death row 'pit bull' won't be killed after all
July 7, 9:13 AM · Anita Robeson - Toronto Animal Rights Examiner
Last month, Princess, identified as a "pit bull" by Hamilton Animal Control, escaped from her home and, allegedly, "attacked" a smaller terrier.

Princess was then ordered to be killed---not because she was involved in an altercation with another dog---but because a vet at the pound estimated her to be three to four years of age, automatically making her an "illegal pit bull" under the breed-specific sections of the Dog Owners' Liability Act (DOLA).

When Ontario's "pit bull ban" took effect on August 29, 2005, all dogs born before, or within 90 days of, that date were allowed to live as "restricted pit bulls." But all "pit-bull-type" dogs born after the 90-day window are deemed to be "illegal" and are to be destroyed or shipped out of province.

Upon hearing of Princess's fate, lawyer and animal advocate Jaime Stephenson informed Animal Control she intended to bring an application before a Hamilton court for a stay of execution. Supervisor Jim Gillis then agreed to postpone killing Princess, pending an investigation into the dog's background.

Stephenson also offered to pay to have Princess spayed and sent to an out-of-province animal rescue group.

Not an "Illegal Pit Bull"
The city's investigation revealed that Princess was, in fact, licensed in 2005 and is not an "illegal pit bull" under the law.  

This, of course, reveals how insane the "pit bull ban" actually is. Once a dog is seized and labeled an "illegal pit bull" by an animal control officer and/or an animal services vet, it will be killed---unless the dog's owner (or the owner's lawyer) steps in to fight for the dog's life and can prove the dog is not an "illegal pit bull."

Although it was proven that Princess is not an "illegal pit bull," she is, nevertheless, considered to be a "restricted pit bull" who escaped from her yard and injured another dog. As such, she will not be allowed to return home.

Stephenson, who describes Princess as "relaxed and friendly," will pay the $15 a day to board her at the pound until she can find an out-of-province rescue organization willing to take the dog.

"It's unfortunate that we don't hear about these situations more often because these animals are being put down in this province every day," Stephenson told the Hamilton Spectator.

StopK9Profiling is a Toronto-based animal advocacy group fighting to end Ontario's breed-specific legislation (BSL).

A fundraiser called Bands Against BSL will take place this Saturday, July 10, 2010, at the el Mocambo on Spadina Ave. in Toronto.

[Photo: Princess/Hamilton Spectator]

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