Friday, February 13, 2009

Breed Specific Legislation - BSL

Please note that this is not a crazy rant. I want to touch on both sides of the coin here, so please take the time to read this entire post before commenting.

BSL stands for Breed Specific Legislation. BSL has become big news here in Ontario over the last few years. Ontario implemented BSL in August, 2005. See this link here to read about Ontario's DOLA (Dog Owners' Liability Act). The BSL in Ontario was basically used in an effort to ban dogs of a specific breed. The breed in question was "Pit Bull".

So, for those of you who don't have "Pit Bull" dogs and so therefore think that this BSL doesn't have anything to do with you, let me explain something. When the legislation first came out, a "Pit Bull" was defined as a short-haired, muscular dog. This could include any short haired dogs such as:

boxer, bull terrier, doberman, bullmastiff, rottweiler, great dane, foxhound, beagle, boston terrier, dalmation, dogue de bordeaux, jack russell terrier, rhodesian ridgeback, pointers, vizsla, weimaraner, labrador retriever, most hound dogs ...

The lists go on and on. After much fighting in courts, the Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC) has won a few victories for dog owners. They have changed the legislation from what I explained above to define a "pitbull" as the following:
(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); (“pit-bull”)
A friend of mine has a tattooed yellow lab (who looks everything like a lab should look) - I couldn't count how many times he's been stopped in the dog park and asked to muzzle his "pitbull". The only thing that has saved her from the "purple juice" is her tattoo.
There have been many dogs in the last few years who have been euthanized because they were accused of being a "pitbull". Here's the thing about BSL ... if you can't prove your dog is NOT a pitbull, than you may be forced to euthanize your dog. (Guilty until proven innocent)
I would like to mention that the Netherlands has had BSL implemented for 15 years. In June of 2008, the Netherlands lifted their BSL ban. Read the news article here. Apparantly, researchers found that while the amount of dogs of this breed were lessened during the implementation of the ban, bite counts were not. They found that bad owners just bought different breeds that weren't banned.

Authorities in Netherlands are now going to push education and ensuring local leash laws are enforced.

Now the flip side of the argument

Politicians are NOT always dog people (or people who know lots about dog training) but it is their job to ensure the safety of the general public. If they can do this job easily with BSL, than they will! We elect them to protect us. Sometimes they have to protect us from ourselves.
You may not like that they have to be your hero, but that's their job. As my dad has always said: it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Too many people have been hurt, injured or killed by dogs to just stand by and do nothing.

So, what can you do to prevent BSL from coming to your home? Train your dogs people! If you don't want BSL than stop teaching your dogs to be aggressive bitey dogs. It's really quite simple.
Stop saying that it's the few that ruin it for the many. It's obviously a lot of people who "ruin it for the rest" because if it weren't, we wouldn't see so many bites being recorded by the health dept every year.
If it were your child who was mauled and needed re-constructive plastic surgery or even worse - died ... would you honestly be opposed to finding any means you could to prevent that from ever happening to someone else's child?

I'm not a fan of BSL, but I do understand why they feel the need to implement it - because of stupid dog owners who can't be bothered to train their dogs and can only be described as ... Asshats.


GoLightly said...

yeah, kelpies look like pits, too. Or dobermans, or rotties, hey they all have teeth!

great post..

The final sentences said it all.

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Now that really sucks. What next?

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Anonymous said...

Remember the old saying, "If Looks Could Kill"?
These days In Ontario, they can and do.

Do you own a short-coated dog with a boxy snout? Is he brindle, white, brown or red? Then you may very well own an Ontario "pit bull".

Everything from Boston Terriers to Great Danes, purebred or mixed, have been identified by those enforcing the Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA) as "pit bulls".

Due to the anxiety and confusion this law has created, many breed clubs have asked for official exemptions from Ontario's Attorney General. In fact, people are writing to the Attorney General before they get a dog to make sure they are making a safe choice.

For owners of mixed breed dogs (in other words, most people), the confusion means that they are unaware of how this ban directly affects them. After all, there is no valid method to test the breeding of a mix and there is nothing the law that says how you prove your dog is not a "pit bull" - yet the onus is on you, the dog owner, to do just that.

The latest decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal states that if even a tiny risk exists, it is the responsibility of government to regulate it by whatever means possible - even if this means exterminating it.

In restoring the law to its original form, the Justices told all Canadians that despite credible research and evidence proving otherwise, the mythology surrounding the "pit bull" is taken at face value by our courts.

In other words, uneducated opinions, gossip and hearsay from any source (such as news reports) can be used to prove anything - and worse, such flimsy evidence can influence our rights and freedoms in all aspects of our lives.

Do you now see that this not just about dogs anymore?

In the words of Clayton Ruby,

"According to the Court of Appeal, so long as the government puts forth some evidence in support of its legislative decision, regardless of its credibility, reliability or value, it cannot lose. And it's not just about dogs anymore. This ruling, if left unchallenged, will become case law and as such can be applied to anything, from dogs to donkeys."

Ultimately this means that the life of every dog and every breed is just a pen stroke away from extinction. All it will take is a little bad press.

But we have a problem.

In order to move forward, significant financial obligations must be met.

On-SCARIO ( AKA Ontario Canada ) has flagrantly wasted tax payers dollars to act as Goliath against our David ( Banned Aid Coalition ) to ban any "substantially similar" dogs to the banned pure bred dogs,Am Staffs,Staffie Bulls and AM.PBT.


Over 4000 dogs dead,yes even puppies folks.

In essence, the Ontario government has taken over our Pedigree Act and has decided what breeds and mixes thereof will live,drive through or visit within its boundaries.

It simply doesn't matter whether you like the bully dogs.It is now a matter of sending a message to government we are no longer willing to allow politicians to sacrifice the lives of innocent dogs.



PAY PAL. Please go to and click on the "Donate!" link for the Pay Pal tool.

You can also make an online payment from your financial institution's website by sending a bill payment to

Send cheques or money orders directly to :

Mr Clayton Ruby at the following address,

Clayton Ruby
11 Prince Arthur Ave.
Toronto, Ont.
416 964 9664

Snowball said...

Happy Valentine's Day!


OldMorgans said...

And then will be banned other breeds. And finally all dogs. And cats can harm people too, better ban them.
The Gov't money should go to education of dog owners.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

GoLightly - I agree ... it's frustrating. I've even had people ask about my beagle/cocker mix (who is brown and shorthaired)

OldMorgans - it's too bad that there aren't subsidy programs for dog training or something. Like the K9 Good Neighbour ... you'll note that if your dog has this certificate in "SOME" townships, the cost of a dog license is half? (Of course, it's full price in my township - darn!)

DLCC - thanks for posting this info! It's very informative.