10/27/2004

Attorney General Michael Bryant introduced legislation to ban pit bulls in Ontario.

The proposed legislation would ban pit bulls, i.e., ban ownership, breeding, transferring, abandoning, importing, and training pit bulls to fight. The legislation would provide a definition of “pit bull” for the purposes of the ban.

It would also classify an existing pit bull as a "restricted pit bull" if the dog is already owned in Ontario, or if the dog is born in Ontario within 90 days of the legislation coming into force.     

The legislation would permit regulations that would impose province-wide restrictions on restricted pit bulls, including leashing and muzzling when in public, and requiring pit bulls to be neutered or spayed. 

The proposed legislation would not interfere with the authority of municipalities to impose other appropriate controls.  The Bill states that in the case of a conflict between the provincial legislation and a municipal animal control bylaw, “the provision that is the most restrictive in relation to controls or bans on pit bulls prevails.”

The legislation would increase fines up to a maximum of $10,000 and allow for jail sentences of up to six months for owners of any dangerous dog that bites, attacks, or poses a threat to public safety.  Corporations - such as "puppy mills" - could also be fined up to a maximum of $60,000. The court would also be provided with the ability to order restitution to a victim.   

The legislation would also provide for the power to search and seize dogs under a warrant on private property or without a warrant in emergency situations or in a public place.


AMO will review the legislation in detail and prepare a submission on the Bill.  AMO has called upon the Attorney General to work with municipalities to ensure implementation of the legislation is practical, effective and affordable for Ontario municipalities.