Despite having one of the best dangerous dog laws in the country, despite having had success with their existing legislation in reduction of dog bites and in prosecution of offenders, and despite a massive public outcry, California implemented breed specific legislation in 2006. The new legislation allows individual municipalities to decide if they want to create mandatory spay/neuter laws by breed, thus encouraging the eventual extinction of certain breeds.
The legislation listed below is still in place and is still considered to be a fair and effective method of dealing with dangerous dogs. Unfortunately, owners whose dogs are not dangerous and have never exhibited dangerous behaviour are now targeted by the new legislation.
A dog is designated as a potentially dangerous dog
A dog is designated as a vicious dog
In September 1998, 11-year-old Cody Fox was attacked by a pack of anywhere from 8 to 18 dogs while walking past his neighbour's house. He was rushed to hospital with severe bite wounds all over his face and body, particularly on his arm, which was amputated. Police investigated the home of the dogs' owner and found a blood-smeared, torn, life-size human replica hanging on the property, indicating that the dogs were being trained to attack humans. Animal Control officers responded to the residence and snared 15 dogs, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, and bulldogs.
Cody's Law was passed in August 1999, which provided for felony charges with imprisonment of up to one year and fines of up to $10,000 if a dog that was trained to fight, attack, or kill causes substantial injury.
In 2001, 9-year-old Ryan Armstrong was attacked by a Rottweiler, losing part of his thumb and suffering chest wounds that came close to puncturing his lung. The owner was fined $200 under existing laws.
Ryan's father, Jeff, lobbied for stricter vicious dog laws and harsher penalties. The result in August 2003 was Ryan Armstrong's Law, a carefully thought out and clearly defined piece of legislation dealing with dog behaviour and owner responsibility.
Calgary - SUCCESS
Calgary - REASONS FOR SUCCESS
WinnipegWinnipeg introduced a ban on pit bulls in 1990, the first in Canada. At the time, pit bulls were third on the list of biting breeds in the city. The breed with the highest bites had more than three times as many bites as the pit bull the year before the ban was implemented.
Despite the Ontario Attorney General's claims to the contrary, Winnipeg's own bite statistics show that dog bites did not go down significantly after the ban and other breeds clearly replaced the pit bull in the bite statistics.
In 2002 (twelve years later), there was a concerted effort by the city to license dogs and educate owners, at which point the bites by ALL BREEDS dropped by 28% and remained down.
Winnipeg still continues with its breed specific legislation targeting "pit bulls", despite their own Animal Services manager's statements that their major bite problem is now with an entirely unrelated breed. Winnipeg is listed here as an example of how BSL does not reduce bites and how a proper licensing and education program does.
In May of this year, Kelly Lamrock, a Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly, introduced BILL 55. He has clearly stated that he introduced the bill out of frustration with the province's inaction on the recommendations from the James Waddell inquest.
The bill placed significant restrictions on the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Rottweiler, and the Akita. The restrictions included the following:
The Dog Legislation Council of Canada, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club, and other groups met with Kelly Lamrock and also made two days of presentations to the legislature, during which the politicians made real effort to listen carefully to the arguments. On November 18 of this year, Kelly Lamrock made the following statement:
The new Dog Owner Responsibility Act will incorporate the following changes:
There are numerous cities in Ontario that have considered Breed Specific Legislation and have rejected it in favour of stricter licensing and leash laws and harsher penalties for irresponsibility. Some of these cites are:
The elected officials in many of these cities were directly influenced by presentations made during public input and by letters and packages provided to them by experts and interested organizations.
They listened to the experts.
Updated September 26, 2007
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