Ontario, Toronto, in Canada has passed laws that regulate which dogs are allowed in the province. The laws not only apply to dogs owned by Ontario residents, but also to dogs that owners bring through the province during transit. According to the government, the law was put into place to make people safer by protecting them from potentially dangerous and violent dogs.
The primary dog law in Ontario that bans specific canines is part of the Dog Owners' Liability Act. The thrust of the dog ban is aimed specifically at pit bulls. A grandfather clause in the legislation, which came into effect in 2005, permits owners who had pit bulls prior to the enactment to keep their animals. However, the law also requires that owners sterilize the pets and always leash and muzzle the animals when away from home.
Other dogs closely related to the pit bull breed are covered by the law that bans pit bulls. According to the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario's website, three other specific breeds are included in the ban. The Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and the American pit bull terrier are all prohibited breeds.
Dogs in Ontario that pose a threat to people are banned, no matter which breed they belong to. This means that any dog that has bitten a person in the province could potentially be declared dangerous. This results in court-mandated protective measures, which could include a court order for the destruction of the dog.
An important distinction in the law in Ontario is that a dog falls under the pit bull law even if it is not a pit bull but could be mistaken for one. This gives lawmakers and enforcement officers the right to declare a dog illegal if it resembles the breed, even if its bloodline does not conform to the breeds already mentioned. Unless an owner can prove that his dog is purebred and belongs to a breed not related to the pit bull, the owner could be at risk of losing any dog that closely resembles a pit bull.
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