March 30, 2007

How much public money has been wasted on the Ontario dog ownership ban?

How much public money has been wasted on the Ontario dog ownership ban?

We are asking EVERY ONTARIO RESIDENT to contact their MPP and ask them how to file a Freedom of Information request with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance (if necessary) in order to obtain the following information.

You can find your MPP by riding at:

or by your postal code at:

The Ontario Legislature website is likely to be the most accurate, so if you use the Elections Ontario site, make sure you double-check the MPP for your riding using the Legislature site.

Please clip and paste the following and email it to your MPP.


I am asking you to tell me how to file a Freedom of Information request with the Provincial Ministry of the Attorney General and if necessary, the Ministry of Finance, regarding expenditures associated with Bill 132/Amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act of Ontario, 2005. I would like to know how much public money was spent on the following items.

I would also appreciate your raising this question in the House.

1. Press releases and conferences announcing the intent to ban 'pit bulls' in Ontario

2. Expenses and honoraria for affidavits and other information solicited from extramural experts in 2004/2005 such as Alan Beck, any private law firms and others in Canada and the US whom the government may have consulted prior to holding Committee Hearings in winter 2005.

3. Public hearings conducted by the Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on January 24, January 27, February 2, February 3, 2005 including:

a) Research costs
b) Supplies including photocopying, paper, postage
c) Travel Expenses for Committee members
d) Any payments made to witnesses at the hearings
d) Venues, audiovisual, computer and other equipment costs
e) All other costs associated with the hearings.

4. Costs associated with preparation of the Report by Committee.

5. Training costs for Animal Control officers in Ontario.

6. Dissemination of notices and other information to the public, educating them about the provisions in the law.

7. Legal Fees:

a) Expert testimony including travel expenses and honoraria for Alan Beck, Tom Skeldon, and any other witness expenses associated with pre-trial examinations
b) Legal fees associated with preparation of the defence, including hourly rate, number of hours spent
c) Research costs relative to the defence including time and materials
d) Legal fees for barristers to present arguments in Ontario Superior Court on May 15, 16 and 18, 2006 and to argue three motions
e) Costs specifically associated with the motion filed in summer 2006 and argued in Superior Court on December 21, 2006 including costs for reports, witness testimony, travel expenses, research costs, lawyer fees (internal and external), courts costs, material costs and any other pertinent expenditures.
f) Any other expenses related to defending the constitutional challenge to the amended Dog Owners' Liability Act, 2005
g) Fees paid to the Court

8. Any other costs not listed above relative to the matter described.

Please let me know when you have filed the request and when I can expect to receive the information.

Thank you very much for your time and effort.



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Voting without knowledge or understanding

Don't know how I missed this before.

The Ontario committee hearings on the Dog Owners' Liability Act were a constant flow of politicians (members of provincial parliament), with no one day containing the same nine members of the committee. I really don't know how they managed to vote intelligently without personally hearing (or reading) all of the evidence.

I also happen to know that the answers to all the committee's requests for more information arrived at the desks of the individual committee members THE NIGHT BEFORE they were to vote on the Bill. Two large boxes of presentations, CD's, research papers, and summaries were deposited at each of the members' offices.

It would not have been possible for them to read the answers to their own questions before being required to vote the next day!

That's not even the worst part.

Two Liberal MPP's (Kuldip Kular and John Wilkinson) did not attend ANY of the committee hearings, yet were two of the five Liberal members to vote on the amendments, pretending that they even had a clue what was going on without having heard a single word of any of the presentations.

Kuldip Kular is the MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale and can be contacted here.

John Wilkinson is the MPP for Perth-Middlesex and can be contacted here.

Feel free to let them know how you feel.

If you want to find out for yourself who attended the hearings each day and who voted later, you can visit the following links:

Committee (Toronto) - January 24 2006

Committee (Barrie) - January 27 2006

Committee (Brantford) - February 2 2006

Committee (Toronto) - February 3 2006

Committee (Voting) - February 10 2006

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Pit bull owner acquitted of felony charges

Hewitt A. Grant, subject of the St. Petersburg Times story "Kennel Trash", has been convicted of 80 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and has been sentenced to 364 days in jail, 5 years of probation and 500 hours of community service at the animal shelter that cared for his abused dogs.

Below are two articles from the Times regarding Grant's conviction and sentence.

Read my original article Killing Dogs in Florida about the "Kennel Trash" story.

Oh, and a special (sarcastic) thank you to the Humane Society of the United States, who stuck their Animal Rights nose into the fray and insisted that all 139 dogs had to be killed because they were "bred for fighting". Although this man was clearly neglectful, irresponsible, and way out of his depth, resulting in obvious animal abuse, the court did NOT believe that he was using the dogs for fighting.

Guess that's just too bad for those "fighting dogs". They're still dead.

Pit bull owner acquitted of felony charges

Published January 11, 2007

The pit bull owner featured in a Times story called "Kennel Trash" in July was convicted Tuesday of 80 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Polk County jurors, however, acquitted Hewitt A. Grant II of Nichols of 43 counts of felony animal cruelty and one count of possessing equipment for baiting or fighting. Grant's sentencing is scheduled for later this month. Many of the 139 dogs confiscated from his property last January had to be euthanized. "The jury didn't think he was into the dogfighting, and they didn't think he intentionally hurt the dogs," said Julia Williamson, Grant's attorney. "I'm very satisfied with the verdict. Hewitt is very disappointed." To read the "Kennel Trash" story and an interview with Grant, visit


Jail, shelter time in dog cruelty case

By Kelley Benham
Published January 26, 2007

Hewitt A. Grant II, convicted of 80 counts of animal cruelty, will serve time in the place he is most hated - Polk County Animal Control.

A judge on Thursday sentenced the former pit bull owner to 364 days in jail, 5 years of probation and 500 hours of community service at the animal shelter that cared for his abused dogs. Grant's case was profiled in last year's Floridian story "Kennel Trash."

A year ago today, officers from Polk County Animal Control and the Sheriff's Office raided Grant's property in Mulberry. At the sentencing Thursday, officer Mary Kirkland described that scene to the judge: "An ocean of frail bodies covered the property. Pitiful little eyes gazed on with curiosity at the activity surrounding them."

She described heavy chains, battle scars, and puppies that ate "like piranhas" when the officers fed them. Many of Grant's dogs were sick and starving and had to be euthanized immediately.

The jury that found him guilty of the 80 misdemeanors this month acquitted Grant on 43 felony cruelty charges and on a charge of owning equipment for baiting or fighting.

All of his pit bulls, deemed unsuitable for adoption because of their breed and ownership history, were eventually euthanized at animal control.


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March 29, 2007

Full text of Ontario decision

Full text of Ontario decision now available on the Superior Court website.

Decision regarding December 2006 motion

Decision regarding Dog Owners' Liability Act

The lawyers from both sides will be going back in front of the judge for further interpretation and explanation, as well as to obtain a decision regarding the entire law and whether it is to be rewritten, thrown out, or chopped into pieces.

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March 21, 2007

Those Born 1930-1979!

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-Aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING !

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms....... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them . . . CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

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March 09, 2007

Ontario Legislature website changes

The Ontario Legislature has redesigned its website, making many old links invalid. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites (mostly opposed to their legislation) that often link directly to documents on the Legislature site. I'm enough of a conspiracy nut to consider the possibility that the government did this to deliberately break all the links from those sites. Makes it much harder for people to find out the truth if they can't find the info, no?

Anyway, courtesy of Caveat, here are the new links to information about Bill 132 and the Dog Owners' Liability Act:

Bill 132 Main Page

Status of the Bill

Read the Debates (including the Committee Hearings)

What the Bill is About

Acts Affected

I am working on updating all posts that contain links to the Legislature site, as well as links on this blog's sidebar.

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© Copyright 2007 Steve Barker