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Ontario MPP introduces workable alternative to BSL

QUEEN'S PARK, ONTARIO: Julia Munro, Progressive Conservative Party MPP for York North, Ontario, introduced in the Legislature on Monday of this week a bill to control dangerous dogs. Her bill amends the Dog Owners' Liability Act to create a specific category of "vicious dogs" with resulting penalties for dogs and owners.

Munro introduced her bill to provide a clear alternative to Attorney General Bryant's unworkable and unenforceable ban on pit bulls.

"Bryant's bill targets pit bull type dogs without recognising they only represent a portion of all dog bites or attacks," said Munro. "Even if banning pit bulls was an effective solution, Bryant ‘grandfathers’ existing dogs. People need protection from vicious dogs today, not a decade from now."

Munro's bill defines a "vicious dog" as one that kills or severely injures a human being, and says that a court must order such a dog to be put down.

Owners of a "vicious dog" would face up to two years in prison and up to a $60,000 fine. They would be banned from owning any dog for at least 10 years. None of the existing penalties in law would be lessened.

"We're pleased to see a responsible Bill addressing the serious issue of dangerous dogs," says Dr. Tim Zaharchuk, President of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. "The proposed legislation focuses on punishing the deed rather than the breed."

"The Liberal government's breed-specific legislation will not work, it only bans specific breeds and does not deal with vicious dogs", said Munro. "My bill targets the real problem - vicious dogs and their owners."

Anti-BSL campaigners in the Province welcomed Munro’s Bill as a sensible, viable alternative to Bryant’s breed specific proposals, which are due to be scrutinised by a Parliamentary Standing Committee over the next few weeks.