December 29, 2006

Advice from an expert

Every morning, a quotation pops up on my computer. I was particularly struck by today's.

"What luck for rulers that men do not think."
The speaker was Adolf Hitler.

As 2006 ends, I and many others have spent the last two years fighting Ontario's pit bull ban. An online conversation this morning discussed people's blind acceptance of blatantly false and disproved statements from politicians and "authorities".

My morning quotation fit in perfectly with that conversation.

I did a quick search for other quotes by Hitler and found a few, mostly from The Quotations Page, Brainy Quote, and Nazism Exposed.

I have not been able to confirm the sources of these quotations. I have no idea if Hitler really said them. They're just food for thought.

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.

Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized.

It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.

The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.

The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.

The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.

The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.

What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.

When an opponent declares, "I will not come over to your side," I calmly say, "Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community."

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December 27, 2006

Gotta love partisan politics

On Thursday, December 21, 2006, the last day before the Ontario Legislature's winter break, members of Provincial Parliament voted on two bills. I find the voting on these two bills disappointing and disturbing.

The first bill was Bill 178 - The Truth and Transparency in the Justice System Act.

This is a private member's bill introduced by John Tory. Its stated purpose is to provide more detailed reporting about the way in which various types of offences are handled by judges throughout Ontario.

The bill was shot down upon its second reading by a vote of 26 to 17. Although this seems close, my knowledge of the way things work in the Legislature is that the majority party was well aware of how many votes it would take to defeat the bill and only that many members voted. This view is supported by the voting on the second bill.

The second bill was Bill 173 - The Legislative Assembly Statute Law Amendment Act.

This sounds innocent enough until you realize that this is the bill that raises MPP's salaries by 25% and increases their pension from 5% to 10%, resulting in an effective salary increase of 31%.

I cannot say how disappointed I was that the Conservatives chose to vote for this increase.

The vote was 77 to 7 in favour of the bill. Only the NDP voted against it. Interesting how a lot more Liberal members showed up for this vote.

Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star has some good comments about this bill.

In a following article, I will be providing a list of who voted on each bill, which way they voted, and to which political party they belong.

In the meantime, this information is available on the Ontario Legislature website. See for yourself how your MPP voted on these two bills.

Note the second-to-last sentence by the Speaker of the House: "This House stands adjourned until ... Monday, March 19, 2007."

That's three months away. Nice work, if you can get it.

To find out who the MPP is for your riding, click here.

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December 19, 2006

Petitions to the Ontario Government

From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation website, a number of petitions to the Government of Ontario, in particular to Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Premier McGuinty honour your pledge

On the 11th of September 2003 you signed a pledge to uphold the Taxpayers’ Protection and Balanced Budget Act if your party formed the next government of Ontario.

Property Tax Reform

Property tax reform in Ontario

No New Municipal Taxes

We call on the government of Ontario to repeal the taxing powers given to the City of Toronto under the “Stronger City of Toronto Act” and that these powers not be extend to any other municipality in the province.

Conduct a full forensic audit of Hydro One and fire President and CEO with cause

We, the undersigned taxpayers, call on the government of Ontario to conduct a full forensic audit into Hydro One. Any individual found to have falsified expense claims should be forced through legal means to repay amounts owing.

Ask Taxpayers if MPP's deserve a pay raise

The 25% proposed pay raise for MPP’s is outrageous. You have justified the raise by comparing your salary and MPP salaries to those of MP’s in Ottawa. Unfortunately, while Ottawa continually balances the books your government has yet to deliver on your pledge to not raise taxes and maintain balanced budgets. Even more troubling, your government is trying to fast-track this legislated pay raise without consulting taxpayers.

And, last but not least, from the Dog Legislation Council of Canada:

Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

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December 18, 2006

This is why we are where we are!

I received the following comment today regarding my "Ontario Bans Pit Bulls" article. This text is copied and pasted from the original comment, including all spelling and grammatical errors.

"Guest what? I'm breeding pittbulls because i have a male and a female pitt bull and they are having puppies. You can't do nothing about it Ha Ha."
Clearly, this person must not have read much else on this blog or they'd have no doubts that I'm AGAINST the legislation and I'm certainly not running around trying to find secret breeders.

To clarify:

I am against mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs. I am most definitely against mandatory spay/neuter for specific breeds. I am in favour of public education regarding unnecessary breeding, unhealthy breeding, and puppy mills. I am somewhat in favour of financial incentives to spay/neuter, but I'm still not sure about that one.

I actually end up fighting unwillingly for this owner's right to breed dogs because of the need to fight for the right of responsible people to breed dogs.

I hope this person realizes the potential consequences of their actions if they get caught:
  • Mandatory death for both parent dogs.
  • Mandatory death for the puppies.
  • Charges to the owners under the Dog Owners' Liability Act with penalties of up to $10,000 in fines and up to six months in jail.
I hope it's worth the risk to you and your dogs, buddy.

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MPP's "mad as hell" at Kormos

Over the past two years, I have truly come to appreciate Peter Kormos, Ontario MPP for Niagara Centre.

As a senior member of the New Democratic Party of Ontario, Peter holds the posts of Justic Critic, Labour Critic, Consumer Protection Critic, and Community Safety Critic.

During the House debates and Committee hearings on the Ontario Liberal Party's Bill 132 amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act, Peter was one of the most vocal critics of the legislation.

Outspoken and direct, he outlined clearly the absurdities, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the law, as well as its constitutional problems.

Don't get me wrong. I recognize that it's the duty and responsibility of the Third Party critic to do everything within his power to hold the government accountable and to test the mettle of every new bill. I did feel, however, that Peter truly believed that Bill 132 was bad law.

Now, he's at it again over the government's recent introduction of a 31% salary increase for MPP's. From being kicked out of the legislature last week for refusing to back down, to making a promise that his own salary increase will be donated to charity, to insisting on house debate and committee hearings about the pay hike, Peter is not making a lot of friends in that House.

Note in the following Toronto Star article that Liberal House Leader Jim Bradley is expected to make a motion limiting debate on the subject. This tactic has been used multiple times by the current government in order to ram through controversial legislation.

Ironically, Jim Bradley is Minister of Tourism. As such, he is one of the most frequent recipients of angry letters from potential visitors to Ontario who now refuse to enter the province because of this government's discriminatory dog legislation. If anyone is aware of public sentiment against laws that are hastily contrived and speedily passed, it should be Mr. Bradley.

The MPP's are "mad as hell" that they have to work this week and possibly the next. Hmmm, I'll be working then. So will everyone I know, and not for as much money as these guys. I also don't get writeoffs and perks, nor do I work for only six months of the year. Unlike the MPP's, I'm also expected to show up for work every day.

Read the rest of the story here.

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December 17, 2006

Ontario government accused of misleading the public

A ruling from Advertising Standards Canada has found newspaper and television ads (by the Ontario government) this fall falsely suggested that people who visited a government website or phoned a hotline could find new ways to get treatment faster.

Misleading the public again?

This by the government responsible for the "pit bull" fiasco, the roasting by the Auditor General for misuse of public funds, and then a self-imposed 31% pay increase?

We really have to get rid of these guys in October. This is getting ridiculous.

Read the whole story from the Toronto Star.

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December 12, 2006

Ontario Liberals introduce 25% pay raise!

Ontario politicians plan to give themselves a 25 per cent pay increase before the legislature’s Christmas break.

Read the entire story from the Toronto Star.

Unfortunately, the original report from the Star has disappeared due to their new and improved format. In that article, there was a particularly great quote from Liberal MPP Richard Patten:

"I think this is the right thing to do; it’s fairly humble"

"If they don’t (like it), then they can boot us out (in next year's election)."
Don't worry, Rick. That's exactly what's going to happen.

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December 11, 2006

Dog Owners' Liability Act of Ontario (2005) Information Sheet

Consolidated plain language interpretation of Ontario's amended Dog Owners' Liability Act (2005), courtesy of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada.

Version for viewing (HTML)

Version for printing (PDF)

Information in these documents is intended to provide the reader with a summary of the key elements of the legislation for ease of reading. It should not be construed as authoritative or as legal advice. For a more thorough analysis of the legislation, please contact a lawyer. Information in this document is the copyrighted property of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada. All rights reserved. These documents may be distributed, without alteration of any kind, for the purpose of informing interested parties. Any errors or omissions are unintentional. The Dog Legislation Council of Canada recognizes that the word "pit bull" is often used and misused to apply to many purebred and mixed-breed dogs with varying appearances. Any use of the word "pit bull" by the authors is limited to these documents and is used only for the purpose of referring to dogs that may fall under the government's definition in the Dog Owners' Liability Act, its regulations, and the Animals for Research Act. This does not mean that the authors believe there is any such breed as "pit bull" or that any dog can be identified as such.

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Front Groups

I received a comment from Anonymous about my previous post, PETA Kills Animals!, stating that "the Center for Consumer Freedom is a front organization...(with) almost zero credibility".

I do not dispute this. Everyone has an agenda and CCF definitely has one. The following quote is from their "About Us" section:

"The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices."

"The Center for Consumer Freedom is supported by restaurants, food companies and more than 1,000 concerned individuals. From farm to fork, our friends and supporters include businesses, employees and consumers."
Clearly, reading through their website, CCF is biased against animal-rights organizations, particularly those that try to force their own choices on the rest of the world through propaganda, lobbying, and sometimes through violence.

I am also biased against those same organizations, so perhaps I'm a little more willing to use information from CCF's website. I'm biased against an organization whose stated objective is to end all pet ownership and that supports, and lobbies for, legislation that automatically kills dogs because of the way they look.

That said, having been dealing with "pit bull" mania for years, I know how easy it is for anyone to twist facts and figures to suit their particular purpose and CCF might be no different in that regard.

Perhaps the most important point to remember, regardless of the source on the Internet, is that the documents and statistics shown on the website are from actual documents provided by PETA themselves to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the years 1998 through 2004.

Take away any hyperbole and propaganda from either side. Ignore, for the moment, the bias that may or may not be spread throughout the CCF website. Look only at the documents provided by PETA themselves. Those documents speak loudly enough.

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December 08, 2006

Bryant is bankrupting Ontario's Legal Aid system

According to Legal Aid Ontario, grandiose "mega-trials" designed by Ontario's Attorney General, Michael Bryant, are bankrupting the Legal Aid system, which can now no longer afford to provide assistance to people who truly need it.

Just like with his ill-conceived dog legislation, Bryant has dived headlong into another pet project (no pun intended) without proper research, consultation, or planning, resulting in suffering to people who don't deserve it.

Another example of something that sounds great to the public in the beginning, but quickly turns into an unmanageable mess.

Read the Toronto Star article here.

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December 07, 2006

PETA Kills Animals!

It's been almost a month since my last post. To make up for that, I'll quote an article that's over nine months old.

The Center for Consumer Freedom has been a consistent critic of extremist animal rights organizations and has been a valuable source of information regarding not only the terrorist measures to which these groups will resort, but also regarding their financial gains from donations by an unwitting, uninformed public.

A press release from March 3, 2006, states that, in 2005, as reported by PETA to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), PETA killed over 90% of the animals that they received at their Norfolk headquarters.

According to a statistics table on a related site, that's 1,946 killed, 146 adopted, and 69 transferred to other shelters.

% Killed90.7%
% Adopted6.8%

If you're a little skeptical, you may want to view earlier original reports (from 1998 to 2004) submitted to the VDACS. This is a PDF file, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

Given PETA President Ingrid Newkirk's unequivocal support, not only of "pit bull" bans, but also of the automatic destruction of "pit bulls" entering shelters, I wonder how many big-headed dogs with silly grins ended up on the killing floor?

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November 17, 2006

Browsing the web

I was recently browsing the web looking at various sites about breed-specific legislation and I came across a number of pages about Ontario, all of which I'd seen before and forgotten. So, for your reading pleasure, I've included them here.

Here is a wonderful petition created by the owners of a dog named Lily, a boxer-lab cross identified by authorities in Kitchener, Ontario, as a "pit bull". The owners fought this and won. They created this petition to try to hold elected officials accountable for false and misleading statements made to the public.

In January and February 2005, 102 individuals and organizations made presentations to a committee in Ontario. The responsibility of this committee was to listen to public and expert opinion and to make recommendations regarding what was then Bill 132 and what eventually became the Dog Owners' Liability Act of Ontario. The Dog Legislation Council of Canada has created a summary of those presentations.

It never ceases to amaze me how much information the Ontario government was given on this subject and how much it chose to ignore. Read for yourself the actual presentations and the committee's final recommendations.

Some insightful comments about "pit bulls" by Antonia Zerbisias, columnist for the Toronto Star. Until recently, Antonia's American Eskimo, Syd, played regularly with a number of different "pit bull type" dogs. My sincerest condolences to Antonia regarding Syd's recent passing.

Here are some responses to Peter Worthington's series of articles in the Toronto Sun, the latest of which was a half-hearted attempt to show both sides of the argument:

Dianne Singer
Bryan Dale
Steve Barker and Bryan Dale

In that same column, he dismisses as proposterous the notion that a Jack Russell Terrier attacked a "pit bull", which did not respond in kind.

As a dog trainer, I have met the following Jack Russell Terriers:

  • A nine-month old puppy that had bitten each of the five human members of his family multiple times, twice seriously.
  • A two-year-old female that had tried, numerous times, to bite people in the face and could not be trusted to be petted or picked up.
  • A year-old dog that literally tried to kill any other dog that she met.
  • A two-year-old dog that had not had a bone in his house for over a year because he would seriously attack anyone who came near him once he had possession of one.
I actually really liked all of these dogs. They have all had their problems resolved, gradually, and they are wonderful dogs. But don't tell me that your particular breed won't bite, just because your own dog happened to be great, and don't tell me that my dog will attack someone or something, just because you happened to meet one that did.

Here are Worthington's other articles attacking pit bulls, their owners, and anyone who disagrees with him:

May 18, 2006 - Bite's worse than its bark
July 5, 2006 - Pitbull attacks columnist's dog

My own comments on his July article are here.

My final thoughts are with Linda Williamson, editor of the Toronto Sun and outspoken critic of the Ontario legislation. She has left the Sun and has dedicated her final column to her mother, who passed away in May of this year.

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November 16, 2006

Conservatives throw their support behind inadequate animal protection bill

I had started to put this together back in September and then decided to re-read bill S-213 before posting here.

Since that time, Mark Holland, a Liberal from Ajax-Pickering in Ontario, introduced private member's bill C-373 which is identical to the former C-50. Without a doubt, I would be much more willing to support C-373 over S-213.


August 29, 2006

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies issued a press release today expressing their disappointment with the Federal Conservative government's decision to support a private members's bill amending the animal cruelty sections of the Criminal Code.


Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
CFHS Legislation Page
CFHS History of Animal Cruelty Legislation
CFHS Legal Analysis

Criminal Code of Canada
Criminal Code of Canada - Current Animal Cruelty Section

Bill C-50 (dead)
Bill C-373
Bill S-213

Ottawa Citizen / Vancouver Sun article courtesy of the Toronto Humane Society

Below are the details from the CFHS.

August 29, 2006

The CFHS learned yesterday that Justice Minister Vic Toews has indicated his government will support Senator Bryden's private members' bill, S-213, to amend the animal cruelty sections of the Criminal Code. This is extremely disappointing news. Watch for an article in today's Can-West newspapers (including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette) about this unfortunate news. Bill S-213 is identical to Bill S-24, a private members' bill that Senator Bryden first tabled in February, 2005. As you may recall, Senator Bryden's bill makes no changes to the offences in the current legislation - which was initially enacted in 1892. Bill S-213 takes only the penalty provisions from the previous government's bill, C-50, including the prohibition on animal ownership and the restitution clause that allows reimbursement to a person or organization that cared for the animal(s).

We are attaching the media release that we circulated to national news outlets today. As always, you are welcome to use any parts of it that you wish. Also attached is a grid we developed to summarize the problems with Bill C-213. This grid is available on our website, as is the text of the current legislation, Bill S-213 and Bill C-50.

Here are some key points/messages about this development that you may wish to use:
  • S-213 makes no changes to the offences in the current, archaic and inadequate legislation
  • While there is a dire need to increase the sentencing provisions, there are some serious problems with the wording of the current offences that need to be fixed (see the grid for details about these problems) - Bill C-50 would have made such changes
  • It would be outrageous to enact legislation in 2006 that retains the ancient and confusing language of 1892
  • In 2003, Bill C-50 (then called C-22) was supported by the vast majority of Canadians, the Liberal Rural Caucus on behalf of scores of animal industry groups; a coalition of about 35 animal industry groups and, of course, humane societies, SPCAs and other animal protection organizations.
  • In the summer of 2003, Bill C-22 was repeatedly passed unanimously in the House of Commons, but was held up by the Senate, due mostly to concerns about the protection of Aboriginal practices
  • Bill C-50 added a clause to address the concerns about Aboriginal practices
  • The coalition of industry groups (mostly livestock, but some trapping and other animal-use industry groups) that had actively supported C-22, threw their support behind Senator Bryden's bill last year, mostly based on a legal opinion that has fueled concerns about private prosecutions from animal rights organizations
  • Hunting and fishing groups are convinced that Bill C-50 would make their activities illegal. This is absurd. Hunting and fishing are lawful activities and would no more be illegal than slaughtering animals for food
  • The phrase, 'lawful excuse' is what permits people to engage in lawful activities, such as hunting, fishing, farming, trapping, euthanasia or scientific research.
  • Many animal industry groups are also concerned about the only new offence in Bill C-50 - 'killing an animal brutally or viciously, whether or not the animal dies immediately'. While we do not feel their concerns are valid, we have indicated to industry that we would accept changing this offence to 'killing an animal with brutal or vicious intent, whether or not the animal dies immediately'.
  • One of the priorities for the Conservative Party is crime prevention and safe communities - Bill S-213 would have negligible impact on violence in our communities
The CFHS will be launching a complete strategy to mobilize Canadians to make their views known on Bill S-213 - we will be sharing this with you and hope to count on your support in your communities as well. In the meantime, please feel free to add a link from your website to the CFHS website,

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
102 - 30 Concourse Gate
Ottawa, ON K2E 7V7
Tel: 613-224-8072, ext 21
Toll free in Canada: 1-888-678-CFHS (2347)
Fax: 613-723-0252


Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

Conservatives throw their support behind indaquate animal protection bill

Ottawa, August 29, 2006

The Conservative government is putting the welfare of animals and vulnerable Canadians at risk by today announcing it will support a wholly inadequate private members bill to amend the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code.

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) is disappointed but not surprised that Justice Minister Vic Toews is supporting Bill S-213, says CFHS Chief Executive Office Steve Carroll.

The Conservatives, who campaigned on their efforts to get tough on crime and make Canadian communities safer, are falling short on their own election promises by supporting S-213.

The proposed legislation, introduced this April by Liberal Senator John Bryden, is nearly identical to todays Criminal Code, originally enacted in 1892: it contains the same loopholes, archaic language and inadequacies, and provides only increased penalties. Animal abusers who today slip through the cracks unpunished, will continue to do so under Bill S-213.

The Conservatives are missing a great opportunity to introduce strong, effective legislation that would not only better protect animals and appropriately punish those guilty of animal cruelty: it would also help protect vulnerable citizens from violence, says Mr. Carroll.

In the last decade, extensive research has shown a clear link between violence toward humans and violence toward animals. In domestic violence cases, abuse toward women or children is often noted alongside violence toward animals. And many of the most notable violent offenders like Paul Bernardo and Jeffrey Dahmer were known to have abused animals in their youth. Effective animal cruelty legislation could help stop violence toward animals before it escalates to violence toward people.

The Justice Ministers announcement to support Bill S-213 is the latest setback in a seven-year effort to update the animal cruelty provisions of Canadas Criminal Code. The CFHS supports the reintroduction of effective animal cruelty legislation, similar to the Bill last known as C-50. And while Parliament continues to delay passage of effective legislation, animals continue to suffer, and Canada falls farther and farther behind other developed countries when it comes to animal protection.

Canadian animal lovers need to write to the Prime Minister, the Justice Minsiter and their MP to tell them Bill S-213 just doesnt cut it, adds Mr. Carroll. The government needs to understand Canadians want anti-cruelty laws that will actually make a difference.


For more information, please contact:
Tanya OCallaghan
Communications Coordinator
Tel: 613-224-8072 ext. 12 or 613-808-2475

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
102-30 Concourse Gate, Ottawa, Ontario K2E 7V7 (613) 224-8072 fax: (613) 723-0252 email:

Animal cruelty amendments at a glance

Flaws in current legislationWhat's wrong with the current legislation?How does Bill S-213 address it?How would effective legislation address this problem?*
Wilful neglectThe wording of the current offence of wilful neglect requires proof of a person's intent. The requirement that a person intended to neglect their animals makes it extremely difficult to lay charges, as is proven in the following example: A Saskatchewan farmer allowed more than 30 sheep to starve to death and his other animals were emaciated. The SPCA visited numerous times over several months advising him to provide proper feed and bedding. Ultimately he was charged with causing wilful neglect but the judge found him not guilty as he did not feel the farmer intended to starve his animals.No change. Under this legislation, crimes of neglect will continue to be nearly impossible to punish appropriately.Effective legislation introduces the term negligent and defines it as departing markedly from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use.
Killing an animalIt is currently an offence to kill an owned animal without lawful excuse. For example, animals may be killed in the pursuit of lawful activities such as farming or research. However, wild or stray animals can be killed for any reason.No change. Bill S-213 still would not extend any protection to wild or unowned animals.Effective legislation makes it an offence to kill any animal without a lawful excuse. Lawful excuse includes hunting, fishing, farming, euthanasia and protection of life and property.
Brutal and viciousThe current legislation does not address brutally or viciously killing an animal as a form of violence. Several years ago in Edmonton, two young men tied a dog to a tree and beat it to death with a baseball bat. Because the veterinarian testified that the dog died instantly on the first blow, the men could not be convicted of causing unnecessary pain and suffering.No change. Cases such as this one from Edmonton would continue to go unpunished.Effective legislation makes it an offence to kill an animal with brutal or vicious intent, whether or not the animal dies immediately. This would allow the Criminal Code to address a particularly heinous form of violence in our society.
Different protection for different animalsCurrent legislation refers to different animals and protects them differently. It contains a separate section and offences for cattle and also refers to dogs, birds and other animals.No change. Bill S-213 maintains the confusing language of the current legislation, enacted in 1892.Effective legislation applies to all vertebrates equally whether they are owned or unowned and includes special provisions for the protection of law enforcement animals.
DefinitionThere is currently no definition of animal.No change.Effective legislation includes the following definition: A vertebrate, other than a human being.
Property sectionCurrently, crimes against animals are considered property offences. Contemporary Canadian values place animals as more than just simple property, but rather as feeling, sentient beings.No change. Bill S-213 continues to entrench the century-old concept that animals need to be protected simply as someone's property.Effective legislation moves animal cruelty out of the property section of the Criminal Code to better reflect modern Canadian values.
Fighting and trainingThe current legislation does not make it an offence to train animals to fight other animals, nor to receive money for the fighting of animals.No change.Effective legislation makes it an offence to train an animal to fight and receive money for animal fighting and training.
PenaltiesIn the current law, the penalties do not appropriately punish perpetrators nor act as a deterrent. The bill also provides different penalties for crimes against cattle. There is currently no provision for cost recoveries for those who provide care and treatment (such as SPCAs, humane societies or veterinarians) of animals who have been abused.Bill S-213 provides greater flexibility in sentencing by allowing animal cruelty crimes to be prosecuted as either summary conviction or indictable offences. Maximum penalties are either a jail term of up to five years and unlimited fines for indictable offences; or fines of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 18 months for summary convictions. The bill also includes up to a lifetime prohibition on ownership, and those found guilty can be ordered to pay restitution.Effective legislation contains all these penalties, and in addition, applies to unowned animals.

* The problems with current legislation were all addressed in Bill C-50

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October 16, 2006

Update on Yarmouth: Somebody's listening

YARMOUTH (NS) — Downtown business owners have voted against a dog ban proposed by town council.

Read the full story here.

Although this is no guarantee that the politicians won't still do something silly, at least the people voicing the original concerns have managed to look at things logically and rationally.

Here's my original article.

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October 13, 2006

Bryant: Legislation is overbroad

In a recent National Post news report, Michael Bryant, the Attorney General of Ontario, was quoted as saying that the federal government's new dangerous offender legislation is "too broad and will catch too many people in its net without zeroing in on the truly dangerous".

Ironically, the constitutionality of Mr. Bryant's own dog law is being challenged in the Superior Court of Ontario because of identical flaws. The Attorney General could not have summarized any more clearly the failings of his own legislation.

Mr. Bryant is truly proving himself to be a two-faced animal, although I'm not sure of what breed.

It is deeply troubling that the Attorney General will champion constitutionality, fairness, and the presumption of innocence when it concerns dangerous violent offenders throughout the country, but will not afford the same protection to dog owners in his own province.

The article goes on to state that "Bryant [wants] federal Justice Minister Vic Toews to change the law so that people who are long-term offenders and, therefore, subject to long-term supervision after their release, should be candidates for dangerous-offender status as soon as they breach their probation conditions".

Imagine that! Targeting people based on their actions!

If he had done that with his own legislation two years ago, he wouldn't be defending it in front of a judge today.

Read the rest of this article

October 10, 2006

Yarmouth, NS: Not anti-breed, just anti-dog!

Sigh! Another example of the movement by politicians towards completely isolating dog owners from the rest of society. Another town to add to my list of places in Canada I choose not to visit.

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, is considering banning ALL dogs from the town's Main Street and possibly from the entire downtown core.

Representatives for the town state that the measure is necessary because of "pooping without scooping", because "many people feel uncomfortable and nervous around dogs", because of "how dogs react when they meet other dogs", and because "getting rid of the dogs would solve the issue of loitering".

Yarmouth has already banned ALL dogs from Department of Leisure facilities "when people are present".

Apparently, it's easier to ban than it is to enforce existing laws. The concept is identical to breed banning, penalizing responsible owners, who are the vast majority, for the irresponsible actions of a few.

Read the whole story here

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September 29, 2006

Euthanasia: sugar coated extermination

As anyone who has read some of my articles knows, I have an aversion to the term "euthanasia" when referring to the killing of dogs that fit a certain physical profile.

Michael Bryant (Attorney General of Ontario), with the support of various Animal Rights groups, has repeatedly used the word to soften the impact of the Ontario breed ban.

I prefer the terms destruction, annihilation, extermination, eradication, or killing.

Various dictionaries define "euthanasia" as:

The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment.
The act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition.
The act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.
The killing of someone who is very ill to end their suffering.

Friendly, healthy, adoptable dogs do not fit this definition.

I suppose you could argue that killing "pit bulls" is euthanasia, if you believe that "pit bulls" are a disease, a genetic abomination, a Frankenstein of the dog world. If you believe that, then you could argue that they suffer from the "incurable condition" of being a "pit bull" or that they are hopelessly "pit bull".

If, however, you have met, played with, or lived with one of these dogs, you already know that destruction and extermination are much more accurate descriptions of what is being done on a daily basis to these animals.

The source of the word "euthanasia" is the Greek "euthanatos" (eu + thanatos) meaning "easy death". It's supposed to mean that the act is performed in a painless manner.

Maybe we should use it to mean that the mass killing of dogs is EASIER than doing the real work of public education, effective enforcement, and deterrent punishment.

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Our minds are made up - don't confuse us with the facts

After listing every vote on the amendments to Bill 132 by the members of the committee, I was thinking that readers might be interested to read the entire discussion that took place on February 10, 2005, as each of these amendments were considered.

Four people presented amendments:

Norm Miller and Joe Tascona for the Conservatives
Peter Kormos for the New Democrats
David Zimmer for the Liberal party, the creators of the legislation
It's a long read, but worthwhile. Here are some of my thoughts after reading it again:
  • David Zimmer only confirmed his status in my mind as a weasel of the highest (lowest?) order.
  • The lawyers who worded this legislation, and the government amendments, DON'T HAVE A CLUE! I could have written better stuff on the back of a napkin in Tim Horton's!
  • A number of the suggestions by the non-government members were symbolic in nature, designed to allow further comments to be placed on record by the person making the motion. They should not be criticized individually, but should be considered as pieces of a whole strategy.
  • A simple review, as I did earlier, of only the motions themselves and their success or failure, misses most of the point. The accompanying comments and arguments show, in detail, the reasons for suggesting each amendment and, even more so, show the attitude of the government to clearly be one of "our minds are made up - don't confuse us with the facts".
  • Many of the other parties' recommendations were designed to reduce dog bites or to eliminate unfairness and vagueness, whereas all of the government recommendations were clearly to cover their legal behinds, to enable them to include more dogs (and their owners), or to make it easier to prosecute.
Here is the full text of the clause-by-clause discussions and voting.

February 10, 2005

And here are the four days of presentations by the public. Each time I re-read these, I am struck again by the massive amount of information and suggestions that were made available to the government, ALL of which were ignored.

January 24, 2005
January 27, 2005
February 2, 2005
February 3, 2005

Read the rest of this article

And people worry about "pit bulls"?

I never cease to be amazed at the inhuman acts one man will do to another man or, in this case, to a woman.

Wife abuser deported to Canada - National Post, September 29, 2006

In case the article disappears, here are some highlights:

A Canadian man who spent six years in a Washington state jail for keeping his wife on a squalid sailboat for years and forcing her to fight with German shepherds for food has been deported to Canada.

By the time police in Everett, Wash., found Linda David stuffed into the bow of the boat amid seven growling dogs in early 1997, she was covered in vomit and faeces. She had suffered brain damage and could barely move. Her ears looked like those of a boxer and scars from scrapping with the dogs crisscrossed her face. She weighed 105 pounds.

Her husband -- Victor David, 66, a Canadian citizen -- told social workers his wife had multiple sclerosis, and he had been collecting government cheques as her caregiver.

Mrs. David's brain is so badly damaged she barely remembers the abuse.

After years of therapy, Mrs. David can still only walk a few steps. She suffers from dementia and can barely see because her cataracts went untreated.

"Her brain was pulverized in some places," said Lynne Fulp, executive director of Partners In Care, the guardianship firm that oversees Mrs. David's trust. Almost every bone in her body had been broken, she said. "Those bones were allowed to heal without medical attention, so there's deformity from bones being healed improperly."

Experts say her brain has shrunk up to 40% from repeated blows.
Now, after only SIX years in prison in Washington State, this man is free to roam Canada. To borrow a phrase from Ontario's dog legislation, he is clearly a "menace to the safety of persons and domestic animals".

Read the rest of this article

September 28, 2006

Bill 132 Amendments

Here is a list of every amendment to Bill 132 proposed by every party on February 10, 2005 during the clause-by-clause voting.

All Liberal amendments were carried (accepted).
All Conservative and New Democrat amendments were lost (rejected).

The transcripts of the four committee hearings held prior to this clause-by-clause voting are at the following links:

January 24, 2005
January 27, 2005
February 2, 2005
February 3, 2005

The transcript of the clause-by-clause voting is at:

February 10, 2005

The text of the bill after these amendments is at:

Bill 132 Third Reading

Thursday 10 February 2005

Liberals: Mr. Kuldip Kular, Mr. Tim Peterson, Mr. Shafiq Qaadri, Mr. Mario G. Racco, Mr. David Zimmer
Conservatives: Mr. Norm Miller, Mr. Joseph N. Tascona
New Democrats: Mr. Peter Kormos

All Liberals voted in favour of their own amendments and against all others.
All Conservatives and New Democrats voted against all Liberal amendments and in favour of all others.

All Liberal amendments were carried (accepted).
All Conservative and New Democrat amendments were lost (rejected).


1 Tascona: I move that the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out.

2 Miller: I move that clause (b) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out. That is Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

3 Kormos: I move that clause (c) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out. That is American Staffordshire Terrier.

4 Kormos: I move that clause (d) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out. That is American Pit Bull Terrier.

5 Kormos: I move that clauses (b), (c) and (d) of the definition of "pit bull", as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out. That is Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier

6 Kormos: I move that clauses (b) and (c) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out. That is Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier.

7 Kormos: I move that clause (b) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be amended by adding, at the end, "except a Staffordshire bull terrier that is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club."

8 Kormos: I move that clause (c) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be amended by adding, at the end, "except an American Staffordshire terrier that is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club."

9 Kormos: I move that clause (d) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be amended by adding, at the end, "except an American pit bull terrier that is registered with the United Kennel Club or the American Dog Breeders Association."

10 Kormos: I move that clauses (b), (c) and (d) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
(b) a Staffordshire bull terrier, except a Staffordshire bull terrier that is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club;
(c) an American Staffordshire terrier, except an American Staffordshire terrier that is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club;
(d) an American pit bull terrier, except an American pit bull terrier that is registered with the United Kennel Club or the American Dog Breeders Association.


11 Kormos: I move that clauses (b) and (c) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
(b) a Staffordshire bull terrier, except a Staffordshire bull terrier that is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club,
(c) an American Staffordshire terrier, except an American Staffordshire terrier that is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club.


12 Zimmer: I move that clause (e) of the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
(e) a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those of dogs referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d); (`pit bull').


12A Miller: I move that the definition of "pit bull," as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be amended by adding the following closing flush after clause (e):
but, despite clauses (a) to (e), does not include any dog that is registered as a purebred dog by the Canadian Kennel Club.


13 Zimmer: I move that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
(2.1) Section 1 of the act is amended by adding the following subsection:


(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.


13A Kormos: I move that government amendment number 13, amending subsection 1(2.1), be amended by deleting the word "may" and replacing it with the word "shall."

14 Zimmer: I move that the heading immediately before section 4 of the act, as set out in subsection 1(4) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted: "Proceedings -- Part IX of the Provincial Offences Act".

15 Miller: I move that clause 4(1)(b) of the act, as set out in the bill, be struck out. Clause 4(1)(b) is "the dog has behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals."

16 Miller: I'd like to move that subclause 4(1)(c)(ii) of the act, as set out in the bill, be struck out; and that is, "behaving in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals."

17 Zimmer: I move that section 4 of the act, as amended by subsection 1(5) of the bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:
Standard of proof

(1.3) Findings of fact in a proceeding under this section shall be made on the balance of probabilities.


18 Tascona: I move that subsection 1(7) of the bill be struck out. That deals with dog behaviour posing a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.

19 Tascona: I move that subsection 1(11) of the bill be struck out. It deals with pit bulls and the breed ban, and we don't support that.

20 Tascona: I move that subsections 4(8) and (9) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(12) of the bill, be struck out. My comments are the same that we used with respect to the previous amendment, because we're dealing with mandatory orders with respect to pit bull destruction.

21 Zimmer: I move that section 4 of the act, as amended by subsection 1(12) of the bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:
Onus of proof, pit bulls

(10) If it is alleged in any proceeding under this section that a dog is a pit bull, the onus of proving that the dog is not a pit bull lies on the owner of the dog.


22 Tascona: I move that clause 1(13)(b) of the bill be struck out. Once again, it's dealing with dog behaviour posing a menace to the safety of persons.

24 Zimmer: I move that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
(13.1) The act is amended by adding the following section:

Precautions by dog owners

Owner to prevent dog from attacking

5.1 The owner of a dog shall exercise reasonable precautions to prevent it from, (a) biting or attacking a person or domestic animal; or (b) behaving in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.


25 Kormos: I move that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
(13.1) The act is amended by adding the following sections:

Duty of dog owner

Spaying, neutering

5.2 (1) The owner of a dog shall ensure that the dog is spayed or neutered.


(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of a dog licensed or registered as a show dog or as a breed dog.


26 Tascona: Tascona: I move that sections 6 to 11 of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. Each one of those provisions specifically deals with the pit bull ban.

27 Tascona: I move that clause 13(3)(b) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. This deals with the warrant provisions, specifically dealing with a dog that's behaved in a manner on more than one occasion that is menacing conduct.

28 Tascona: I move that subclause 13(3)(c)(ii) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. It's dealing with the warrant provisions again and the dog behaving in a manner that is posing a menace.

29 Tascona: I move that clauses 13(3)(d) and (e) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. That's dealing with the warrant provisions again, and specifically dealing with the pit bull breed ban.

30 Tascona: I move that clause 15(1)(b) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. This deals with the seizure of a dog in a public place and deals specifically with the dog's behaviour posing a menace to a person or a domestic animal.

31 Tascona: I move that subclause 15(1)(c)(ii) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. This deals with seizure in a public place and the conduct of a dog behaving in a manner that poses a menace.

32 Tascona: I move that clauses 15(1)(d) and (e) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. It deals with seizure in a public place, dealing specifically with the pit bull breed ban.

33 Kormos: I move that subsection 18(3) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
Offence of absolute liability

(3) An individual owner of a dog that bites or attacks a person or domestic animal is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or both.


(4) A corporation that owns a dog that bites or attacks a person or domestic animal is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $60,000.

Order for compensation or restitution

(5) If a person is convicted of an offence under this act, the court making the conviction may, in addition to any other penalty, order the person convicted to make compensation or restitution in relation to the offence.


34 Zimmer: I move that the heading preceding section 19 of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
Identification of pit bull

19(1) A document purporting to be signed by a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario stating that a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of this act is receivable in evidence in a prosecution for an offence under this act as proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the dog is a pit bull for the purposes of this act, without proof of the signature and without proof that the signatory is a member of the college.


(2) No action or other proceeding may be instituted against a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario for providing, in good faith, a document described in subsection (1).

Onus of proof

(3) For greater certainty, this section does not remove the onus on the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.


35 Tascona: We move that section 19 of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out. This is dealing with the reverse-onus provision.

36 Tascona: I move that section 20 of the act, as set out in subsection 1(14) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:

20(1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make such regulations as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable for the purpose of effectively carrying out the intent and purposes of this act.


(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,
(a) ensuring that municipalities have the resources they require to enable them to provide effective municipal dog control in the interests of public safety;
(b) providing for the development and implementation of a comprehensive program, including education, training and other measures, to encourage responsible dog ownership;
(c) providing for the development and implementation of a comprehensive dog bite prevention strategy to encourage dog owners to take all reasonable steps to prevent their dogs from biting persons or domestic animals;
(d) providing for the establishment and operation of a province-wide dog bite registry."



37 Tascona: I move that subsections 2(2) to (5) of the bill be struck out. This is dealing with the Animals for Research Act in specific reference to the pit bull breed extinction.







FOLLOWUP ARTICLE: Our minds are made up - don't confuse us with the facts

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We told you so!

Caveat has hit the nail on the head (again) in an article so subtly entitled DUDES, YOUR STUPID BAN ISN'T WORKING!

Every one of these problems was predicted BY EXPERTS during Ontario's sham committee hearings on Bill 132.

Can you say, "we told you so"?

Read the rest of this article

September 27, 2006

Phantom "pit bulls" in Sudbury

Here we go again with another article from the Sudbury Star. What is it with this newspaper? Have they forgotten that they're supposed to be reporting the news, not making it up as they go along just to fill in space?

This is the second dog attack incident in two weeks that the Sudbury Star has rushed to report as a "pit bull", only to discover that the dog was NO SUCH THING! You can read my comments about the first incident here and here.

Ignoring, for the purposes of this discussion, that no breed of dog can be identified as a "pit bull", we can certainly assume from this story that the reporter intends to insinuate that the dog is one of the breeds targeted by the Ontario government.

Where on earth did she get that idea? Who identified this dog's breed?

This is another example of a reporter who, in a frenzy to report a "pit bull" attack, madly repeats the first words that come out of people's mouths, without any attempt whatsoever to verify their reliability.

A ten-year-old girl, for Pete's sake, described the dog as "looking like Don Cherry's dog". Any self-respecting dog owner who's seen Don Cherry with his dog on TV would recognize it as a Bull Terrier, a unique purebred dog that was specifically excluded by Attorney General Michael Bryant from his definition of "pit bull".

In fact, in his press conference filled with falsehoods, discrepancies, and fantasy, the Attorney General of the largest province in the country made it clear that he was keeping the Bull Terrier off the list in order not to enrage Don Cherry himself. Little did he know that Don Cherry would still be enraged and would be fully supportive of the constitutional challenge to Bryant's legislation.

How, in God's name, is it possible that a ten-year-old, in the middle of the insanity of one dog attacking another, can accurately identify the breed of the attacking dog and an adult reporter, with every investigative and journalistic tool available to her, cannot?

The phrase "pit bull" blinds many people, especially journalists. It drives them to "get the story", no matter what. It goads them into asking leading questions, making assumptions, and misinterpreting responses that, in any other circumstance, in any other story, would not only be unacceptable journalism, but would be called tabloidism or even fiction.

Look at this story.

The dog is initially described, ONCE, as "an apparent pit bull". This is the only phrase you need in order to know that the reporter does not actually have a clue what the dog is. The purpose of including the word "apparent" is purely to PROTECT HER ASS, while allowing her to delve into utter speculation for the rest of the story.

Throughout the rest of the article, the reporter (her name is Laura Stradiotto, by the way) doesn't even pretend to be tentative about the breed. The dog is now a "pit bull" and she has no qualms about calling it that for the entire story.

The headline screams "Pit bull". Six times, the phrase is used in the story.

Guess what, Ms. Stradiotto? Guess what, Sudbury Star?


Turns out the dog WAS a Bull Terrier and the ten-year-old was right!

Now what?

When is the Sudbury Star going to apologize, in writing as big as the originals, for two articles with significantly incorrect and misleading information in them?

What will the editors, and the reporter, say to all the responsible "pit bull" owners who now have to endure even more verbal abuse for walking their dogs on Sudbury's streets because readers believe that story?

You want to be a REAL journalist? Here are some tips:

1. Get the FACTS.
2. Report EVERYTHING you know to be true.
3. Report ONLY what you know to be true.

Read the rest of this article

September 26, 2006

SEARCH & RESCUE dog not allowed in Ontario

An American recently visited Ontario to vacation and to train with his SEARCH & RESCUE American Pit Bull Terrier. This gentleman called Canada Customs prior to his visit and was assured that he could bring his dog into Ontario or vacation in Ontario with his dog as long as he complied with the leash and muzzle requirements.

This error by Canada Customs could have cost the life of his dog and he could have faced fines of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to six months.

After returning home and discussing the issue with Canadian dog owners, he wrote a letter to the Attorney General of Ontario, requesting clarification.

Here is an excerpt from the response from the Attorney General's office.

(Emphasis mine)

Dear Mr. X:

Thank you for your correspondence...


Except for some narrow exceptions allowing temporary entry for dog shows, importing pit bulls into Ontario is prohibited. Pit bulls not legally resident in Ontario prior to August 29, 2005, are subject to seizure. Individuals found to have imported a pit bull into Ontario will be in violation of the law and may be subject to fines and/or jail. There are no exceptions for tourists, including those simply passing through Ontario with their pit bulls. To be clear, it is this Ministry's view that individuals merely traveling through Ontario with pit bulls-even for short periods of time-would be in contravention of the DOLA.

The Ministry cannot provide opinions as to whether or not individual dogs are included in the definition of pit bull set out in DOLA. The legislation specifically indicates that a pit bull is (a) a pit bull terrier, (b) a Staffordshire bull terrier, (c) an American Staffordshire terrier, (d) an American pit bull terrier, (e) a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those of dogs referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d). Section 1(2) of DOLA provides that when making determinations as to whether or not a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of DOLA, the courts will be able to have regard to the breed standards for Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers or American Pit Bull Terriers as established by the Canadian Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club or the American Dog Breeders Association.

Thank you for contacting the Ministry in regard to this issue.

Policy Division
Ministry of the Attorney General

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September 25, 2006

Help needed in Ontario NOW!


The link is


Twice the size of Texas.

Three times the size of Germany.

Five times the size of the United Kingdom.

Home to a breed-specific legislative ban covering the largest geo-political area in the world.

A ban that discriminates not by action or deed, but by physical appearance.

A ban that targets not only "pitbulls", American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers", but haunts *ANY* pure-or-crossbred canine bearing a substantial physical resemblance to one of the aforementioned. The 2004 brainchild of the province's Attorney General, Michael Bryant, the now-infamous Bill 132 was conceived as a vote-grabbing safety measure; a poorly designed and ill-appointed law geared to target the public's visceral fear of dog attacks. Implemented in August of 2005, retribution against innocent canines and their owners was swift.

Walking your pet without a muzzle now means risking seizure without warrant. Visitors and residents alike travelling without certified documentation face the spectre of breed (mis)-identification looming around every corner.

Pets showing natural protective tendencies within the boundaries of their home turf may now be turned in on the suspicion of being 'menacing'. This last is particularly frightening; simple barking at passers-by can be interpreted as 'threatening behaviour' by control officers with no training in either animal behaviour or breed identification. Failure to pass muster on any of the above can and will result in a one-way trip to the official's choice of humane society, pound or research facility. There are few second chances.

This ban has raised both the conscience and ire of dog lovers from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island . It's not just a 'pit-bull' issue. It's a Rottweiler issue, a Doberman issue. It's about Boxers and Bullmastiffs, Bull Terriers, Neapolitan Mastiffs and Boston Terriers, Great Danes and Vizslas... are you surprised? These are but a handful of breeds that have come under scrutiny and endured public censure following the implementation and subsequent over-broad interpretation of A.G. Bryant's Bill.

From the beginning, concerned groups and individuals questioned the feasibility of a legal challenge - a challenge directed at the violation of constitutional rights, yet still allowing for the punishment of those who willfully put animals and people in harm's way. Prominent trial and constitutional lawyer Clayton Ruby was immediately retained.

With the help of the American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Canada, the Golden Horseshoe American Pit Bull Terrier Club, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada and Advocates for the Underdog, a coalition was formed including the Dog Legislation Council of Canada and aptly named "Banned-Aid". This group was to play a prominent role in the ensuing months, bringing the plight of Ontario's dogs to those who otherwise might never have considered the gravity of the situation. Their determination paid off; the spring of 2006 saw a trial date set, and on May 15th, 16th and 18th, Justice T. Herman heard final arguments from both sides in Ontario's Superior Court.

The battle, however, is not quite over. Government-initiated delays have resulted in the near-doubling of our legal fees, which have long passed initial "guesstimates" and are closing in on the 1/2 million mark. In this we are running out of time. Generous time allowances by Clayton Ruby's offices have merely slowed the inevitable, that being we *MUST* come up with $ 100,000 in two weeks' time for this case to continue.

The importance of being present to rebut this new motion cannot be overestimated. Lacking an opposing legal presence gives government lawyers carte blanche while countering from our side greatly increases the chances of any further introductions being struck down as frivolous. Ruby strongly believes this attempt to be a last-gasp 'smoke screen' effort by our opposition, carefully orchestrated to bring us to our financial knees. We cannot let this happen. If we have come this far, it is in large part due to the faith of our members, friends and allies - individuals who possess the same gritty determination hallmarking the breeds this Bill seeks to eliminate forever.

We are so very, very close. For the latest updates and news briefs, we urge you to visit the Dog Legislation Council of Canada website at:

If you believe - as we do - that victory is a mere leash-length away, then please help by donating to the Ontario Legal Challenge of Bill 132 through the following agents:

Banned Aid Coalition -

Send a cheque or money order payable to Banned Aid to:

Cathy Prothro
National Secretary/Treasurer - Banned Aid Coalition
351 Pleasant Street
Dartmouth NS B2Y 3S4

Mark a cheque "Banned Aid - In Trust' on the memo line; make payable to "Ruby and Edwardh" and send to:

Ruby and Edwardh
11 Prince Arthur Avenue
Toronto, ON M5R 1B2

No donation is too small, no suggestion unimportant. Each and every contribution is humbly appreciated - indeed, more than can be possibly expressed. We know the dogs this saves would thank you if they could.


Banned Aid Coalition
351 Pleasant Street
Dartmouth NS B2S 3Y4

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September 22, 2006

Worthington: Objective reporting is not possible!

Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun has finally stunned me more than I thought possible.

After reading and responding to his columns in May and July, articles that I truly believe incited hatred and vigilantism towards responsible dog owners, my opinion of him as a balanced and fair journalist pretty well went out the window.

In his latest rant against the CBC, however, Worthington makes one of the most outrageous statements I have ever read. If ever there were even a glimmer of hope that he had not completely descended into tabloid fantasy, it died with this column.

"Objectivity is impossible in journalism."
— Peter Worthington - Toronto Sun - September 14, 2006
Yes, Peter Worthington believes that a journalist or reporter cannot report on the news without injecting their own personal biases.

My first thought, first question, one that Worthington does not address in any meaningful way, is "Why not?"

Why is it impossible for a journalist to report objectively, without bias? Cambridge's Dictionary of American English defines the adjective "objective" as "not influenced by personal beliefs or feelings; fair or real". The antonym is "subjective". Worthington even admits as much in the ending sentence to that same paragraph: "The reporter, subjectively, chooses what is newsworthy". He also states, "But while objectivity is impossible, fairness is attainable by all."

The definition of "objective" above includes the word "fair". They are one and the same. An objective reporter is, by definition, fair.

Judges act objectively and fairly every day. So do accountants, lawyers, tax auditors, systems analysts, business leaders, police detectives, and others. People whose occupations require them to receive, analyze, and act on facts and evidence, must, by the very nature of their jobs, be objective and fair.

I do not deny any of these people their own personal beliefs, opinions, and biases. They would not be human without them. But that is no excuse for lack of objectivity within the framework of their jobs.

What makes journalists so special? Why is Worthington so willing to allow them their subjectivity when, by all accounts, the purpose of journalism is to INFORM, not to persuade?

The Society of Professional Journalists, North America's most broad-based journalism organization with over 10,000 members, has a Code of Ethics. I quote parts of it here.
Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.

Journalists should:
- Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
- Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
Clearly, the Society believes that not only are journalists capable of objectivity, but that it should be a standard towards which they should always strive.

Even though I agree with Worthington in his criticism of the CBC and in his support of Christine St-Pierre, I cannot and will not use her situation as an excuse for fatalism and lack of responsibility.

Just like everyone else in this crazy, mixed up world, journalists with character, integrity, and honesty must be objective. They are not perfect nor should we expect them to be. But they have a goal, a set of ethics, by which they try to judge every word that they write or speak.

Perhaps Worthington's attempts to justify bias and subjectivity reflect an underlying laziness, a "shrug of the shoulders", a lack of fortitude to put the time and effort into sifting through the chaffe. Perhaps this is why his earlier articles irked me. In those, it seemed to me like he just didn't care enough to even try to dig for the truth. Maybe now we know why.

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September 12, 2006

It's not my fault!

I have no intention of starting a debate as to the merits or dangers of wolf-hybrids.

That just happens to be the type of animal that bit two children in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, on Thursday. It could just as easily have been any other dog.

The word "mauled", as used in the article, might be a bit much since the young girl received three stitches and the word "gash", although undefined and unquantifiable, seems to have come into vogue as the new description of someone's injuries.

Caveat has done a good job of showing the owner's stupidity and blindness. I won't repeat that effort here.

I'd just like to point out some quotes from a second article about the same incident and let you draw your own conclusions.

The owner of what's been called a husky-wolf-cross says it's not her family's fault.
"We're not to blame. We didn't ask for this to happen," said Jeanette McIvor.
The last time her son saw the dog it was chained up in the backyard.
Mystique's owners believe she may have been protecting her offspring. She gave birth to a litter of seven puppies a few weeks ago, and two were with her when the attack happened last Thursday.
The McIvors are fighting to make sure their pet isn't put to sleep. "I really don't want that to happen. It goes against our religion," McIvor said.
Tim Dack, chief operating officer for Winnipeg's animal control agency, said the city doesn't have a wolf-hybrid ban, either. Regardless, Dack advised people not to make pets of the animals. "Evidence and studies have shown that these types of hybrid dogs can be quite difficult to handle and quite dangerous," said Dack. "When they get nasty, they get nasty."
I'll make one comment about this owner. As far as I'm concerned, when you leave a dog unsupervised where someone else, particularly a child, can get to it, you ARE at fault. Expecting other people's children to stay away from your dogs is not realistic. At least one third of all children killed by dogs in this country wandered unsupervised into chained dogs' territory or were inside that territory unsupervised. In at least another quarter to one third, dogs had broken loose from their chains or yards.

I wouldn't put a whole lot of faith in Tim Dack's description of any breed's temperament. He was one of the architect's of Winnipeg's "pit bull" ban and testified at Ontario's hearings in favour of that province's ban. The man admits that the "pit bull" has been replaced in Winnipeg by other breeds (not wolf-hybrids, by the way), even though the "pit bull" type dog was not the number one biter when that city's ban was implemented. He now seems to be an expert on wolf-hybrids.

Considering how rare a true wolf-hybrid is, I'm not sure how Mr. Dack is able to make such a blanket statement. Seems to me like he took the same words he used for "pit bulls" and just changed the breed name.

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Therapy dogs? No thanks. Not here.

This Hamilton Spectator article demonstrates the absurdity of Ontario's "pit bull" ban.

A friend of mine has a 10-year-old "pit bull" type dog who is easily one of the best dogs I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

  • He has almost no teeth left from chewing on rocks and diving for them in Lake Ontario.
  • He is people-friendly and dog-friendly. He was a leash-free park dog for his whole life.
  • He has been assaulted numerous times by human "pit bull" haters without any aggressive response from him.
  • He watched his owner be severely assaulted and did nothing (some say this is bad, but that is his temperament).
  • He has been attacked by other dogs, including having his side ripped open by a German Shepherd, without responding.
  • He is not a wimp or fearful. In fact, he's the opposite. Very proud and regal, very much in control of himself and aware of who and what he is.
  • He was a therapy dog at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and at another children's hospice. He would thread his way through IV tubes to climb up on the bed and lie down with the kids.
He can't do therapy work any more because the new legislation has created fear as well as legal and liability issues. The kids cried when he had to leave. Now, after ten years of service to his owner and his community, he has to wear a muzzle in public.

Another friend of mine has a dog that helps with developmentally handicapped children. She works for a government organization and looks after these kids in her home. She was told to get rid of her dog or lose her job. Every parent of every child wrote letters of support saying that they wanted the dog to be with their children. The organization eventually backed off, but the dog still has to be muzzled inside her house when the children are there.

A number of therapy dogs have been "ejected" from the St. John's and Therapeutic Paws programs, not because those organizations feel there's anything wrong, but because of public fear and because of an inability to get insurance companies to provide liability insurance. Somehow these dogs, that have been working so diligently and reliably with children or in retirement homes, will suddenly turn into raging monsters just because Dalton McGuinty, Michael Bryant, and their hacks say so.

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September 11, 2006

Tribute to Search and Rescue dogs

As I take a moment to reflect on the events five years ago and what's happened to our world since that moment, I'd like to pay tribute to the four-legged rescuers who save lives and give families closure, not just at that one tragedy, but on a daily basis throughout the world.

World Trade Center Dogs:

Dogs in the News

DogSpeak Public Relations

Connecticut Legal Guide's Canine SAR Tribute

Cheyenne and Dakota (Columbia Space Shuttle):

For Pits' Sake - see Kris' tribute to the SAR dogs of 9/11

Missouri Pit Bull Rescue

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What Michael really believes

Browsing back through some of the Hansard documents from the time when the Ontario Liberal government was introducing Bill 132 to the legislature, I came across a quote from Michael Bryant during the November 4, 2004 debate of Bill 132.

I grew up with big dogs -- German shepherds. We had three in our house at one time. They scared some people, there's no doubt, when they barked and someone showed up at the door. They were trained. They never attacked. They never hurt anyone.
Really, Michael, there are some days when you should have just kept your mouth shut, like the time when you thought you could "pick the pit bull" in five seconds when seasoned American Pit Bull Terrier breeders had to think carefully when viewing the same pictures!

There is a phrase in mathematics: "If A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C". You can take that one step further by saying, "If A equals B and B does not equal C, then A does not equal C".

Same goes here. The logical conclusion from Mr. Bryant's statement is that his German Shepherds (assuming that they were purebred GSD's, of course) did not attack anyone and did not hurt anyone BECAUSE THEY WERE TRAINED.

Conversely, from his own statement, we can assume that, if they had NOT been trained, it is possible that they could have attacked someone and perhaps hurt them.

Therefore, despite the fact that, on camera, Mr. Bryant has stated that German Shepherds are not dangerous dogs, his own argument leads us to conclude that those dogs were inherently dangerous and had to be trained in order to not attack or injure someone.

Now, this is not my own personal point of view about his family's dogs. They were probably really nice dogs. This is what I say we could conclude from Michael Bryant's own statement in the legislature.

Even as a dog trainer, I believe that most dogs settle into their families just fine. They may have been formally trained using traditional correction methods, they may have been formally trained using positive motivational methods such as clicker-training, or they may have been informally trained by the owner, who might have owned dogs before or who might have followed a neighbour's advice or who applied the same rules to the dog as they did to their kids.

My belief is that most dogs don't threaten or bite, very few are really dangerous, and even less bite seriously.

But, it appears that Mr. Bryant's belief is that his own family's German Shepherds would have been dangerous had they not been trained.

So, Michael, is it really the breed or is it the owner, the environment, and the training? Sounds to me like your true beliefs slipped out of hiding for a second.

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Is this lady being quoted correctly?

Further to the story of the five-year-old boy bitten on the lip by a nine-month-old "pit bull / husky cross" (whatever that is).

In my earlier article, I failed to mention an important point. I had included it in a letter to the editor of the Sudbury Star, but forgot about it when writing the more detailed analysis of the news report.

Ms. McIntyre, the mother of the boy who was bitten, had been severely injured herself when she was eleven years old. Not by a "pit bull" nor by a "pit bull / husky" cross, but, according to her own testimony, by a German Shepherd. This incident resulted in FIFTY-FOUR stitches compared to the SEVEN received by her son.

Now, keep in mind that I am always suspicious of breed identification. Any dog that is brown and black with hair longer than a Rottweiler and with remotely pointy ears is called a German Shepherd, any dog with shorter hair and bigger muscles, but still brown and black, is called a Rottweiler, and anything with a big head, very short hair, and a muscular body that's any colour other than brown and black is called a "pit bull".

How they determined "pit bull / husky cross" with any degree of reliability is anybody's guess.

So, since nobody seems to be satisified with simply calling a mutt by its real name (MUTT), we should at least call that dog a German Shepherd TYPE of dog, until such time as someone, somewhere, can prove what it was.

Ms. McIntyre is quoted as follows:

  • She is in favour of the current "pit bull" legislation;
  • She is concerned about "pit bull" owners failing to muzzle their dogs in public (even though the incident to her son happened on private property);
  • She thinks that "pit bulls" should not be around kids;
  • She questions whether or not people should own "pit bulls" at all.
Yet she was badly hurt as a child by a dog that looked like a German Shepherd, one that would not have been targeted by the current legislation.

So the questions have to be asked:
  1. Is Ms. McIntyre being quoted correctly, especially when it appears that her quoted attitude is not logical considering her own experience?
  2. Is she being quoted fully? Does she perhaps want ALL large dogs specially legislated? Did the reporter, Jordan Ercit, ever ask her how she feels about dogs that look like German Shepherds?
  3. Is the reporter choosing, perhaps from many sentences, only the phrases about "pit bulls"?
  4. Despite the FIFTY-FOUR stitches Ms. McIntyre received as a child to repair the damage caused by the dog that looked like a German Shepherd, she appears to have gone out of her way in this interview to say that she still did not hate dogs. Is it logical to believe that she fails to hold a similar view regarding the nine-month-old puppy that gave her son only SEVEN stitches? Is it possible that the reporter asked leading questions, expertly guiding a traumatized and nervous interviewee, one who is unfamiliar with interviewing tricks and traps, down a garden path that ends in the phrase "I think pit bulls are dangerous and should be banned"?
As an example of a similar approach, I go back to the presentations to the committee hearings on the current Ontario legislation. David Zimmer was a member of that committee and is a Michael Bryant henchman that, in my opinion, is the type of person that gives lawyers their bad reputation. It was clear that, despite the Utopian ideal that a group of committee members could be brought together to hear expert witnesses and make informed decisions based on that testimony, David Zimmer's only objective was to trap people into saying things they didn't mean and to make them look stupid.

Mr. Zimmer managed to do this to two very well respected and educated individuals who have more knowledge about dogs and dog behaviour in their little fingers than he could hope to obtain in his entire lifetime. Instead of hearing their expertise, their experience, and their suggestions, all he wanted to do was embarrass them. To those of us watching who knew anything about dogs (or about politics, for that matter) and certainly for those of us who believe in honesty, integrity, and fairness, Mr. Zimmer was the embarrassment.

The point of that digression was that even very smart, educated, and experienced people who have been in the public eye many times, on television, on radio, in newspapers, and as witnesses in court cases, can be trapped into saying something they didn't intend if expertly led down that path by an unscrupulous guide.

I would like to delve deeper into this story because it is entirely possible that we're only getting a fraction of the truth through this reporter and even that fraction may have been distorted.

FOLLOWUP ARTICLE: Phantom "pit bulls" in Sudbury

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