Ottawa Dog Bite Lawyers on Ontario’s Pit Bull Ban

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Everything You Need to Know About This Legislation under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act

In 2004, Ontario introduced Bill 132 under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (DOLA) that would ban people from owning pit bulls. On August 29, 2005, the ban was officially implemented and was unsurprisingly met with staunch criticism from the many pit bull supporters across Canada. Even before a ban was introduced, people from both sides of the issue have been in contention with each other for many years. News stories of pit bulls viciously attacking and biting people, sometimes even their owners and children, fuelled supporters of the ban while opponents of the ban argued that many pit bulls are actually friendly, and that the responsibility to train and socialize them properly lies with the owner

As any Ottawa dog bite lawyer will tell you, no matter which side you are on, there are details in this legislation that are important for you to know.

As stated in the DOLA, no person shall,

(a) own a pit bull;

(b) breed a pit bull;

(c) transfer a pit bull, whether by sale, gift or otherwise;

(d) abandon a pit bull other than to a pound operated by or on behalf of a municipality, Ontario or a designated body;

(e) allow a pit bull in his or her possession to stray;

(f) import a pit bull into Ontario; or

(g) train a pit bull for fighting. (2005, c. 2, s. 1 (16).)

According to Ottawa dog bite lawyers, however, there are some exceptions. If a person already owned a pit bull before or on the day the amendment was added to the DOLA (August 29, 2005), they will be able to keep them as long as they comply with regulations stipulated in the legislation. The same applies if the pit bull was born within 90 days after August 29, 2005. These pit bulls are referred to as “restricted” or “grandfathered.” You are even allowed to enter a pit bull for participation in dog shows (sanctioned by one of the recognized dog registries outlined in the legislation) and in Flyball tournaments (sanctioned by the North American Flyball Association).

Some regulations for restricted pit bulls include, but are not limited to:

  • Owners are required to leash and muzzle their pit bulls while in public
  • The length of a leash can be a maximum of 1.8 metres long
  • Muzzles should be humane, but strong enough to prevent biting
  • All pit bulls must be sterilized by October 28, 2005

For more information on the Ontario pit bull ban, contact an experienced Ottawa dog bite lawyer today.