Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Benny - Slain Pit Bull Dies a Hero

Benny - The local Hero
Slain pit bull dies a hero
By Susan McDonough, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND — It was a routine walk for Mike Henrickson and his dogs.

Up and down the hill from King Estates Middle School, where Henrickson, 47, would throw a ball for Benny, his fetch-minded pit bull, while his other dogs played off leash.

Henrickson, a mild-mannered guy who retired as an auto body mechanic six years ago after a stroke, had made that walk every day for 11 years, sometimes after midnight.

Nothing broke their routine until dusk a week ago today, when Benny took a bullet between the shoulder blades while protecting his pack.

As he was returning home from the school with Benny and his other dog, Rosie, by his side, Henrickson was mugged. Someone had run up behind them on Fontaine Street and struck the back of Henrickson's head with a pistol, knocking him to his knees.

"Benny looked at me, listened to my voice, knew I was in trouble and took it from there," Henrickson said. Benny lunged at the gunman, releasing his fury and full 85 pounds at the stranger.

Henrickson pleaded with the gunman not to shoot. Benny was on a retractable leash, which Henrickson released while Rosie, also a pit bull, barked wildly at his side.

"Benny pushed him and bit him and got him as far away from me as he could," Henrickson said.

The dog chased the gunman into the middle of the street, which runs along Interstate 580 near Keller Avenue in East Oakland.

Henrickson said Benny locked his jaws on the arm the gunman used to point his pistol.

The guy grabbed the gun with his free hand and shot Benny "pistol to fur," Henrickson said.

The dog fell, and the gunman fled to a car waiting a few feet up the street.

Henrickson dragged Benny to the sidewalk, where he held his dog while he died.

"He looked in my eye like he was saying, 'Did I do OK, Dad? Did I do good?" Henrickson said. "I told him, 'You're a good boy, Ben. Don't die.'"

Pit bulls are known for being fiercely loyal to their owners, but dog trainers say any dog might respond the same way.

"Dogs have a way of sensing things that we can't fully explain," said Mike Wombacher, a San Francisco-based dog trainer.

Wombacher said he has had clients with dogs who reacted like Benny when their owners were threatened, as well as dogs that do nothing. So much is based on temperament and training, he said.

Benny was protection-trained. Henrickson had worked with the dog to provoke aggression when attacked, although people who knew the 6-year-old dog said he had never attacked anyone or anything, save a tennis ball or two, in his life.

"He was a big ol' lap dog," said David Ratto, a friend of Henrickson.

He's now a hero to some.

"Benny defended my dad to the end. He gave his life for my dad," Henrickson's 18-year-old daughter, Krista, wrote in a letter to the Tribune.

"My dad is so upset. I am too, but mainly because I almost had lost my dad," she said.

Henrickson and his friends said they wanted to share their story — accounts all verified by Oakland police — because they are tired of hearing only pit bull horror stories in the media.

"There is nothing that can bring Benny back, I know," Krista wrote. "But I can't stop the tears. I held my dad while he cried and he did the same (for me)."

Henrickson and his girlfriend, Amanda Zamacona, found Benny on Halloween morning about five years ago about 30 feet from where he was killed.

He was scared, skinny and full of fleas, the two recalled this week while sitting in Henrickson's kitchen, a marked-up pit bull calendar on the wall and a big-framed photo of Benny that Zamacona made him as a memorial atop a counter.

Benny had crawled under a parked car on the corner to escape police.

"They couldn't coax him out for anything," Henrickson said.

He has had dogs, mostly pit bulls, for 27 years. He said he walked up to the 10-month-old stray and said, "Come on, big boy."

Benny came right out, so Henrickson slipped a rope leash around his neck and told police he'd take it from there.

"He walked just perfect with me all the way to my house," Henrickson said.

"Poor dog," Henrickson said. "He was a real soldier. He gave his life for mine."

Police said it is highly unusual for robbers to mug someone walking with dogs, particularly two big pit bulls. And definitely not very smart.

"If they were smart, they wouldn't be criminals," Sgt. Caesar Basa said.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Great Video

Well, I saw this video and had to share it with everyone.

It has a great message, so please watch it.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

New addition

Well, yesterday I decided to add a new addition to my house. So, I'm a new mom all over again!

I decided to get a bunny. She's not really a bunny, she's a rabbit. And she's cute. I got her from Animal Care and Control. She was picked up by them roaming around outside. How could people do that to a pet. They are horrible.

A friend of mine has rabbits and loves them deeply. I went over to her house and fell in love with hers, so decided that I needed to get my own. She's great! I'm going to start working on building her a pen or cage type enclosure, so she can have a lot of room to run around. Right now she's in a horribly small cage for a rabbit, but I'll get her something bigger and better tonight.

The dogs don't seem to mind her at all. Sadie is a little interested, but Brutus couldn't be bothered. That's a good thing.

She's sharing a room with my rat. Well, not really sharing, but living in the same room. Hopefully they won't bother each other too much.

I'll need to get some pictures of her out there, but first I have to take some pictures. :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It's 'Dog Racism'

Owner: It's 'dog racism'
Fur flies as pit bull-type pooches -- and owners -- head to court

Something happened between two dogs around 6:15 a.m. in Scarborough on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2005.

It was pre-dawn on that dark, damp, drizzly day and what happened, happened fast, the way things often do with dogs.

The "something" that happened between the two animals erupted seemingly for no apparent reason.

Suddenly, a routine walk between dogs and walkers turned from calm canine companionship into a tangle of flesh, fur and fangs.

There were only two witnesses. The two dogs and the two women -- one a 50-year-old registered nurse and the other a 45-year-old community worker. Both had innocently ventured out that dank autumn day to exercise the pets they adore.

What we know is that the dogs fought. Who started it has yet to be determined and there are always at least two sides to every story.

Though each woman tells her story completely differently and the case is now before the courts, we'll never know exactly what happened.

There is no absolute truth in this world. Ever.

But what we do know is that one of the dogs, a 5-year-old female named Ginger, an alleged pit bull-type, is now on death row in one of the city's Animal Control Centres awaiting trial on June 8.

And the other, Buddy, a 12-year-old-German shepherd-border collie mix, is fully recovered and at home with his owner.

We know both women have sons. And we know that neither owner is particularly fond of Bill 132, Canada's first province-wide breed-specific ban on pit bull-type dogs. It came into effect on Aug. 29, 2005.

"I've never been a supporter of breed specific legislation," says Jody Macdonald, owner of Buddy, the shepherd-border collie mix. "It's a form of dog racism."

The nurse asked that her name not be used. She had her right ring finger badly bitten during the incident when she tried to stop it and she's facing surgery.

And she's not Ginger's owner -- her son is.

"I used to work at a graphics company, but I was let go because they kept pulling me into court," he said in a telephone interview last week.

"Now I'm working side jobs, painting houses. I'm paying $2,000 for this trial and somebody in Kingston has put up the rest. I'm scared for my dog. They can't blame the breed. This dog came to me out of love and all she wants is to be loved."

Lawyer Clayton Ruby adds: "Bad dogs are created or selected by people who deliberately seek an aggressive animal. Ban one breed, and these people migrate to another large muscular breed."

Ruby is mounting a constitutional challenge to Bill 132 on behalf of The Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC), one of the five member organizations of the Banned Aid Coalition.


And Ottawa lawyer Terrance L. Green is making his name by defending impounded dogs, getting them off death row and freeing their owners, if they have been jailed under this new Dog Owner's Liability Act.

There is a fundamental flaw in this act according to Eletta Purdy, city-wide manager of Toronto Animal Services, and a veterinary technician.

"We assess dogs as a matter of course, but with the pit bull-type of dog, there are three breeds.

"I know, it's not a breed, it's a type, so we have to look at the animal's behaviour. Certain characteristics. Pit bull is a catch-all phrase," she says.

"But it's a difficult piece of legislation the way it reads. We do assessments as a matter of course, but it's difficult when you have a cross. That's why we speak of a pit bull-type, not a breed," she says. "It's not what you'd call a win-win."

Ruby explains it this way.

"Ninety-nine percent of all pit bulls are loving kind dogs. Why kill all newborn pit bulls to save a tiny percentage of deliberately abused animals from rotten owners?" says Ruby.

Is Ginger's owner, who is seeking psychiatric counselling to help him cope with his dog's exile, a rotten owner?

The case goes to court on May 15 and 16.

Meanwhile, a tony, invitation-only, $350-a-plate fundraiser called the "Bully Ball" next Saturday night at the Imperial Room of the Royal York will raise funds to pay his fees.

Justice is expensive, these days, especially if you're a dog.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Pit Bull Licence Renewal Lagging

Friday, March 17, 2006

Hundreds of unlicensed pit bulls could be living in London despite a provincial ban and strict regulations backed by steep fines.

Jay Stanford, the city's manager of environmental services, says London could have 340 unlicensed pit bulls based on the number of owners who haven't renewed their dogs' licences from last year.

"We really don't know how many are out there, but we know there are 340 owners who haven't come in for licence renewals," he said.

About 500 pit bulls in London are licensed, he said. "Our plan now is to get back to these folks (who don't have licences). We've given them a lot of time to register and they've had lots of notification. Now it's a matter of finding out if they need a fine to convince them we're serious."

Stanford said the city will crack down on the owners of unlicensed dogs at the end of the month with letters, phone calls, visits and possibly fines.

When the province amended the Dog Owners' Liability Act banning pit bulls last fall, the city followed up with a supporting bylaw.

Existing pit bulls were grandfathered under the law.

The new laws require owners to have their pit bulls sterilized and microchipped. The dogs must be leashed and muzzled in public. The licensing fee is $50 plus an application fee of $10.

A judge recently approved the fine schedule of $70 to $500 for a dog running at large.

A judge recently approved the city's fine schedule that ranges from $70 to $500 for a dog running at large. Not licensing a dog carries a fine of up to $200.

The city also adopted a policy to pursue the maximum court sentence -- a $10,000 fine and six months in jail -- under the Dog Owners' Liability Act for owners of dogs that bite a person or domestic animal in the city.

Beth Sayler, past president of the London Dog Owners' Association, said she's not surprised many owners haven't licensed their pit bulls.

"I think a lot of them are scared to death to license their pets because they feel they're being targeted," Sayler said.

Others may have sent their pets to new owners out of province, or even had their dogs euthanized.

With the cost of licensing, not to mention the estimated $200 to $300 for sterilization and microchipping, some owners may not be able to afford licences, Sayler said.

"I also think some are waiting for the outcome of a court challenge to see if the law is overturned before they pay and others simply don't agree with the law," she said.

Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby has launched a constitutional court challenge of the provincial law. The issue is expected to return to court in May.

Stanford said the city is being "extremely cautious" enforcing the bylaw because of the court challenge.

Fears that hundreds of pit bulls would turn up at shelters and be euthanized haven't been realized, Stanford said.

This year, 28 pit bulls have been euthanized, about the same rate of 10 a month as last year. There are 24 pit bulls now impounded waiting to be claimed by owners.

"There were fears pit bulls would be abandoned, but we're not seeing any of that here in London," Stanford said. "But it has been unusually quiet, although that's probably in part because it's winter and many dogs are indoors."

The province imposed the ban after a number of vicious attacks by pit bulls on people and pets.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bail hearing delayed for charged pit bull owner

Bail hearing delayed for charged pit bull owner

CTV.ca News Staff

A 29-year-old Toronto woman appeared in court for a bail hearing Tuesday facing charges under Ontario's new pit bull laws after her dog was allegedly involved in a vicious February attack.

It is alleged that that Tarra Christina Barnett's pit bull attacked another dog and its owner on February 14, 2006.

The Toronto resident is facing charges of unlawfully causing bodily harm and of being a common nuisance in relation to the incident.

Her bail hearing has been delayed until Thursday so that the Crown can gather more information on the case.

The incident happened in the Danforth Road and Midland Avenue area after the accused allegedly was walking her dog without a leash or muzzle.

Initial police statements in February suggested Barnett did have her pit bull on a leash and muzzle but that the dog broke free from her.

At that time, police said Barnett tried to subdue the pit bull but that during the struggle the dog's muzzle came off.

It is alleged that the pit bull ran at another dog, a Shih Tzu, and killed it.

The Shih Tzu's owner, Peter Ip, was also mauled when he allegedly picked up his dog to save it from the pit bull. He said that there was no sign of any muzzle or leash on Barnett. The man sustained injuries to both his arms and legs.

"I was so scared he tried to bite my Shih Tzu's tail, his head," Ip told CTV Toronto on Monday. "Even though I tried to really get away from him I couldn't."

Ontario passed pit bull legislation, known as the Dog Owner's Liability Act, in September 2005 under a cloud of controversy from owners of the breed.

The law states that all pit bulls must be muzzled and leashed in public.

Owners who had their dogs before the law was in place are able to keep their pets, but people are not allowed to own, breed, import, transfer or purchase pit bulls.

Breaking the law can result in fines up to $10,000 and/or a prison term.

Critics called the legislation too broad and said it would clog the court system with challenges from owners.

Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby announced Tuesday that he will challenge the controversial law. He is representing another woman who is fighting to be able to walk her pit bull without having to muzzle it.

"The evidence in Toronto shows that this breed is fifth on the list of biters, according to the latest statistics," Clayton Ruby said. "So why pick this breed if it's number five?"

However, others welcomed the new law saying it was needed after a rash of vicious attacks by pit bulls in 2004.

CTV Toronto has also learned that Barnett is facing other unrelated charges of a more serious nature. But if convicted of contravening the pit bull act she faces a maximum penalty of $10,000 and six months in jail.

As for Barnett's dog, he will likely be put to death if she decides to drop a pending legal challenge.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Toronto lawyer to dispute pit bull ban

Toronto lawyer to dispute pit-bull ban
Rulings from an Ohio court to be used in legal challenge
To date nobody has been charged under the new legislation

Mar. 15, 2006. 01:00

Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby will fight Ontario's pit-bull ban using an Ohio court decision that struck down a similar law in that state.

"It's not often that one gets to start a constitutional challenge here with a little help from our friends in the States, but we thought it significant," he told reporters yesterday at his downtown office.

The March 3 decision by the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled that a Toledo law allowing residents to own only one pit bull, or "vicious" dog, was unconstitutional. The Ontario law is a complete ban.

But Ruby plans to challenge the Ontario legislation using two key rulings from the Ohio decision. First, since pit bulls aren't inherently dangerous it doesn't make sense to have a law to protect people from them. Second, the definition of pit bull is so vague that people may not know if they're breaking the law.

Ruby will square off with Attorney General Michael Bryant in an Ontario Superior Court May 15 to challenge a ban that has drawn immense criticism from pit-bull owners since it came into effect Aug. 29.

When reached yesterday, Valerie Hopper, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General, would not go into detail about the government's case but said, "our position is that this is constitutional and improves public safety for Ontarians."

Canada's first province-wide ban, the Dog Owner's Liability Act, pertains to any dogs that fall under the definition of "pit bulls," including Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers, as well as dogs that look "substantially similar" to any of the banned breeds.

People who owned pit bulls before the law was introduced can keep them, but the animals have to be neutered and must be on a leash and muzzled in public. All pit bulls born after Nov. 27 have either been shipped out of province or destroyed. Currently, people are not allowed to breed, purchase or import the dogs. Anyone breaking the law faces fines of up to $10,000 for individuals, $60,000 for corporations and six months in jail.

To date, no one has been charged under the new legislation. However, on Monday, a Toronto woman was charged with unlawfully causing bodily harm and common nuisance, a month after her pit bull killed a Shih Tzu dog and attacked his owner. Ruby is going to court on behalf of Catherine Cochrane, a 23-year-old anthropology student from Toronto who wants to breed her two-year-old Staffordshire mix, Chess. Ruby said yesterday he would introduce evidence from Dr. Timothy Zaharchuk, who was president of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association when the law was passed.

Zaharchuk argues breed-specific bans don't work, pointing out there are 24 breeds of dogs that are very similar to pit bulls.

"Just by looking at a dog you cannot declare it a pit bull — there's no way to verify it genetically," said Zaharchuk.

As in the Ohio case, Ruby said the province's definition of a pit bull is "unconstitutionally vague."

"If you're going to jail as a result of breaching a law, you've got to have the kind of certainty that lets you know whether you're committing an offence."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Challenge to Ontario's "Pit Bull" Legislation

Challenge to Ontario's "Pit Bull" Legislation

TORONTO, March 13 /CNW/

On March 3, 2006, the Ohio Court of Appeals released a judgment declaring that the State's "pit bull" legislation was unconstitutional. The former legislation is similar to Ontario's own
"breed-specific" legislation which is now facing an ongoing Constitutional challenge to be argued in the Superior Court of Justice May 15 and 16. The Ontario Dog Owner's Liability Act bans any new dogs that fall under the province's definition of "pit bulls", including Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers as well as dogs with a physical appearance
that is "substantially similar" to any of the banned breeds.

In striking down the law, Ohio's Court of Appeals reviewed testimony from numerous experts, some of whom are also involved in the Ontario challenge. Local Toledo County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon has given evidence supporting Ontario's position.

After reviewing the testimony of the experts and the facts put forward, the Ohio Court sought to dispel persistent myths surrounding "pit bulls" and their owners:

1. Breed-specific laws were enacted because, in the past, courts and legislatures considered it to be a "well-known fact" that pit bulls are "unpredictable," "vicious" creatures owned only by "drug dealers, dog fighters, gang members," or other undesirable members of society.

2. Over time, however, "well-known facts" are often discarded in light of new technological, scientific, or social discoveries and the laws change in response to this new information.

3. ...As the evidence presented in this case demonstrates, previous cases involving "vicious dog" laws, especially from the late1980's and early 1990's, relied on what is now outdated information which perpetuated a stereotypical image of pit bulls.

Clayton Ruby, counsel for the challenge to Ontario's law, will hold a press conference to discuss the recent Ohio decision and its impact on Ontario's Dog Owners' Liability Act (Bill 132).

Ruby & Edwardh
Barristers and Solicitors
11 Prince Arthur Ave.
Toronto, ON M5R 1B2

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.


Weird. I was running a blank screen for days. I finally found out what to do, so if anyone has this problem keep republishing your blog until you can see it. I had to republish it twice and then it showed up.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Toughen Up Bylaws

This is sooooooo sad, but a good point is made. If the Government had of done something about Dangerous Dogs and not just 'pit bull type' dogs.....Maybe this wouldn't have happened.

Toughen up bylaws
Weekend dog attack in Port Colborne leads call for tougher animal control policies
By ALLAN BENNER, Tribune Staff Local News - Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Eric Arenburg ran outside Saturday to find Freddy, the family’s five-year-old dog, lying dead where he’d been tied out that morning. The two dogs that had apparently killed the purebred pomeranian stood over his lifeless little body. It was a frantic telephone call from a neighbour across from their Cross Street home that alerted him to the trouble.

“She was yelling on the phone, telling me to go out front,” the 20-year-old recalled.

But by the time he got to Freddy’s side and chased away the two mixed breed black labs, it was much too late.

“He was torn almost in half,” Eric told The Tribune.

Eric grabbed a baseball bat and chased the dogs around the corner onto McRae Avenue. He followed them for two blocks onto Johnson Street where they attacked a second dog a little pit bull. While continuing his pursuit of the dogs, Eric yelled to the pit bull owners to call the police.

The dogs led Eric to their home on Johnson Street, but their owner wasn’t home. Instead, a neighbour put the dogs in his garage.

Eric loved that dog, he said, but it was even more precious to his mother Edie.

“He was my baby,” she cried. “I know that sounds really silly, but to me that’s what he was.

“Every move I made he was at my heels, as soon as I moved on the couch, he was at my feet. When I got out of bed in the morning, he was right there shaking and waiting for me. He’s going to be missed a great deal.”

Freddy was tied out that morning just as he had been everyday since since he came to live with the family about four years ago. The family always kept him on his leash, trying to keep him safe. The fact that Freddy died so violently despite their efforts left Edie speechless.

“Words can’t describe the feeling,” she said. It’s not the first time the dogs had been terrorizing the neighbourhood.

“They have killed at least one other dog that I know of,” Edie said. “And they attacked my dog two years ago.”

At that time, she said a friend was walking him along the road when the same two dogs attacked him. She’s seen the same two dogs running loose many times since.

“When I went over and found out where they were living, three or four of the neighbours came out and were complaining about the dogs too,” Eric added. “They couldn’t let their dogs out because these dogs would attack them.”

As of Monday afternoon, the dogs were being held at the humane society’s Port Colborne shelter. And Edie hopes that’s where they remain.

“They’d better not be set free again,” she warned.

Welland and District Humane Society manager Ted Bettle said the humane society is limited in determining penalties by municipal bylaws. And they’ve been lobbying to add some teeth to Port’s animal control policies.

“In fact, we are in the process of looking at the bylaw structure in Port Colborne to add some severity to it,” Bettle said adding the dog attack Saturday will likely help the humane society’s efforts to do that.

“I think this incident would certainly help that process,” he said.

Port Colborne’s director of community and corporate services, Peter Senese, agreed that the city’s animal control bylaws could stand for some improvement.

“What they do need are stiffer fines on them,” Senese said. “Over the next few months we’re going to be working with the humane society in reviewing our bylaw. If there’s anything there they feel we could provide more to that would help them do their job easier and better, then we would probably look at considering those and bringing any amendments to the bylaw to council at that time.”

As of Monday afternoon, investigators still hadn’t made contact with the owner. And since the investigation was ongoing Bettle couldn’t delve into much more detail such as releasing the name of the dogs’ owner. Still, Bettle was confident charges would be levied against the owner.

“A muzzle order and fines are pending,” said Bettle. While dog attacks of that severity don’t happen very often, Bettle said it’s the same sort of situation that can result in injuries to people especially children who might try to break up the fight.

“It’s very unfortunate,” he said. “This is a rarity, and thank God it is, but obviously it happens.”

It’s ironic that the second dog that was attacked was a pit bull a breed of dog that was the topic of the province’s recent viscous dog legislation.

“It makes a good point,” Bettle said. “This legislation should have covered this circumstance as well, not just the breed. That’s what we were hoping it would do, but unfortunately the provincial government never followed through with any suggestions from any of the humane society’s or the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).”

For Edie, the tragic loss of her companion is something she never wants to have to bear gain.

“That’s it for me, no more pets. I can’t do this,” she said. “I can’t go through this again. It’s like losing one of my family members. It just breaks your heart.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bill 132 - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Now that the amendments are law, do I have to send my pit bull out of Ontario or have it euthanized?

No. Owners of pit bulls may keep their pit bulls, provided they keep them in compliance with the requirements of the new legislation and any regulations made under it. The new legislation will take effect on August 29, 2005.

2. Is my dog a pit bull?

Under the amendments to DOLA, pit bull is defined as:
A pit bull terrier
A Staffordshire bull terrier
An American Staffordshire terrier
An American pit bull terrier
A dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs.

3. Who decides whether or not a dog is a pit bull?

The amendments provide that in a Part IX proceeding the onus of proving that the dog is not a pit bull will lie with the owner of the dog. In offence proceedings, the amendments provide that the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, a veterinarian's certificate attesting that a dog is a pit bull is evidence of that fact. Part IX proceedings and offence proceedings are heard before the Ontario Court of Justice.

4. What sort of documentation do I need to travel with my pit bull?

The amendments do not deal with customs documentation regarding shipping of dogs to Canada from foreign jurisdictions and dogs that are in transit destined for other countries. The legislation bans pit bulls and their importation into Ontario. It is the responsibility of an owner to show that a pit bull is not being imported into Ontario in contravention of the ban.

5. What if I am just passing through Ontario with my pit bull?

You will be in contravention of the law if you are found to have imported a pit bull into the province. Your pit bull may be subject to seizure and you may be subject to a fine and/or jail time. Please note that exceptions exist for Ontario residents who are out of the province with their pit bulls for less than three months. Limited exceptions also exist for individuals coming to Ontario for purposes of participating in recognized dog shows and flyball tournaments.

6. Do I have to have my pit bull muzzled and leashed?

Regulations provide that pit bull owners must comply with leash and muzzle requirements by October 28, 2005. Municipal by-laws may have such requirements prior to October 28, 2005. Check with your local municipality for further information.

7. What if I want to complain about a dog? Who do I contact?

Municipalities are responsible for animal control and you should generally contact your local animal control or by-law enforcement office in relation to animal control issues. In emergency situations, the police should be contacted. Please note that after October 28, 2005, owners of existing pit bulls must ensure that their dogs are sterilized and that they are muzzled and leashed while walking them in public.

8. Do I have to register my pit bull?

There is no provincial plan for dog registration as animal control is a municipal responsibility. You should license and register your dog in compliance with requirements set by your local municipality.

9. I am being harassed when walking in public with my pit bull. What should I do?

The Ontario government's amendments to DOLA are designed to make all Ontarians safer. The fact that the government has chosen to ban pit bulls is no justification for harassment of pit bulls owners or cruelty to animals. Pit bull owners are allowed to keep their dogs and walk them in public, as long as they obey the law as it applies to all dog owners. However, pit bull owners walking their dogs in public after October 28, 2005, must comply with certain requirements, such as keeping the dog muzzled and on leash. Pit bull owners who are subject to harassment that may constitute criminal activity and/or fear for their safety should contact the police.

10. Our municipality already has a pit bull ban in place (or is thinking of implementing one) with no grandfather clause. Do the new amendments mean that pit bull owners can bring their dogs into our community regardless of our by-law?

No. The new section 11 of DOLA will provide that if there is a conflict between the provincial requirements and a municipal by-law, the more restrictive provisions in relation to pit bulls will prevail.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Pit Bull Debate

Ontario seeks input from local official on breed-specific laws

Dog Warden Tom Skeldon says pit bulls don't necessarily bite more than other dogs, but their bites are more apt to be fatal. ( THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH )

Armed with court rulings, research papers, and graphic photographs of a pit bull victim, Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon is headed to Toronto on Sunday to testify on behalf of breed-specific legislation.

Known locally and statewide for his knowledge of pit bulls, Mr. Skeldon was contacted by Ontario officials after the Canadian province's ban on pit bulls was challenged in court.

He said he plans to use the same evidence that was submitted in Toledo Municipal Court when Toledo's law against vicious dogs was challenged in 2004.

"I imagine I'm being brought up there to accentuate the difference between pit bulls and other dogs," Mr. Skeldon said. "Pit bulls aren't the most popular dogs. They don't necessarily bite more than other dogs. But when they do, they are more likely to be fatal."

In Lucas County, more than 150 pit bulls have been picked up or surrendered to the dog warden so far this year. That's about 20 more than during the same period in 2005, when 900 of the canines were brought to the pound throughout the year.

Supporters of the breed say that legislation banning or restricting pit bulls is a violation of a property owner's constitutional right. A similar argument is being used by those opposing the law in Ontario that banned all future pit bulls from living within Canada's most populous province.
In effect as of Aug. 29, 2005, the Ontario law bans all pit bulls, which are defined as pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers, or any dog with substantial characteristics similar to pit bulls.

Though current owners will be allowed to keep their dogs on a restricted basis, it became illegal to import a pit bull into Ontario. Those puppies born after Nov. 27 must be shipped out of the province, given to a research facility, or destroyed.

Several breed clubs and dog organizations formed a coalition to challenge the law. Next week, witnesses will be brought by both sides to testify in the case.

"We're seeking to have certain sections declared unconstitutional," said Caroline Wawzonek, a student-at-law in the Canadian law firm handling the case. "This law restricts the liberty of a dog owner to own whatever breed and raise it as he or she sees fit."

The challenge also claims that the definition of a pit bull is vague. Additionally, the law forces the owner of a dog to prove it is not a pit bull instead of forcing authorities to prove it is.

Brendan Crawley, spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General in Ontario, said the law is "evolutionary" in that it will take several years for the full ban to take effect.

"All the pit bulls that were legal before this bill came into effect can live out their days with restrictions," he said. "Once all the grandfathered or restricted pit bulls die off over the years, they will not be replaced by new pit bulls."

Breed-specific legislation is being implemented, and challenged, all over the United States.
Mr. Skeldon offered assistance to Denver, where a recent ban on pit bulls was challenged but upheld.

Recent talk of a ban on pit bulls in Detroit has met with criticism.

In Toledo, the vicious dog ordinance requires that a person own no more than one pit bull, that the dog be muzzled when being walked, and that it is secured by a locked fence if in a yard. The 2004 decision by Toledo Municipal Judge Francis X. Gorman to uphold the law is currently under appeal.

In the ruling, Judge Gorman held that dog ownership is a property right rather than a fundamental constitutional right involving personal liberty. Therefore, those rights can be limited by a government's responsibility to protect its public.

The Collars are Coming!!!!

I just got the pictures from Lisa. She's finished all the collars and will probably be sending them out to me today. :)

Here they are:

These two belong to Brutus. The navy one was supposed to be Zeus' but I decided to let Brutus have two.

This one is Sadies!
They are so nice. I can't wait until they arrive.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Pit Bull Puppy Going Over the River to Save His Life

March 1 2006.
St. Catharines Standard
Pit bull puppy going over the river to save his life
By PETER DOWNS Standard Staff

It's the canine equivalent of deportation. The Lincoln County Humane Society had to look across the border for a home for a young pit bull born after Ontario's ban on the breed took effect.

The puppy believed to be about 12 weeks old - will be driven to an animal shelter in western New York Thursday where it will be put up for adoption.

“Basically our hands are tied" said Kevin Strooband, manager of the St. Catharines shelter. "We would like to give it back to the owner, which is always best for a dog. We don't have that option this time"

Strooband said humane society staff took the dog into care last week after its owner was arrested by police for a traffic infraction. While the owner was subsequently released by police and wanted his pet back, Strooband said the shelter's hands are tied by the provincial government ban.

“This guy is unfortunately after the ban, so there's no way he can stay in the province” he said.

The first part of the government ban came into effect last August, requiring all pit bulls to be leashed, muzzled and sterilized.

A second phase of the law went into effect at the end of November, making all pit bull puppies born here illegal.Under the ban, all puppies born in Ontario after Nov. 28 must be given to a research centre, shipped out of the province or euthanized.

Strooband said the shelter didn't want to destroy the pup.

“We'd rather never put down a healthy dog” he said.“Sometimes, we're forced to. If you have an adult pit bull, it's difficult enough to find it a home, let alone ship it out of the province.”

But in this pit bull puppy's case, the Erie County SPCA has agreed to take the unnamed dog and try to find him a new owner.

Strooband and an animal control officer are scheduled to take the pooch to the shelter Thursday. Strooband said he's not in favour of the government banning the breed.

“He's paying for the transgressions of his forefathers, so to speak, and he didn't do anything wrong,” he said.


A three-month old pit bull sits in a cage at the Lincoln County Humane Society in west St. Catharines Tuesday.

Staff Photo By Denis Cahill

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Kind Words from a Kind Man

I just wanted to write to say that I just got a letter in the mail. Well, actually it's a card, but needless to say that doesn't matter. It is from the Vet Clinic, well from the Vet that I was working with to see what could be done:

Here's the letter:

Dear ..........

I am very sorry that Zeus is gone. I know how much he was loved and how much he'll be missed. I know you made the right decision. Please take care.

Dr. Jason Gerena

Now isn't that the nicest thing? I sent him a thank you card this afternoon. I can't believe how awesome he is. I'll never see another vet again. :-)