If an injured dog being cared for by the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society turns out to be a pit bull, it will be shipped out of the province for treatment rather than euthanized.
Coco is a severely injured seven-month-old puppy that arrived at the Humane Society on May 5.
"The owner surrendered her because he couldn’t deal with her medical conditions," said Melanie Coulter of the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society.
While efforts are underway to treat her injuries, including a fractured back leg, the Humane Society has also sent away a sample of Coco’s DNA for testing.
The Humane Society is using DNA My Dog, a Toronto company that says, "DNA test lets you learn every breed in your dog and gain insight into the unique genetic background of your dog, including the history of their breed, personality traits, [and] exercise levels."
Results of the DNA test should be known in about two weeks.
"Many dogs which may resemble one breed are actually a mix of a number of different breeds, and our hope is that Coco falls into this category," the agency said in a media release. "This would allow her to move into our adoption program as soon as her treatment is complete."
If it's determined Coco is a pit bull "she will still be able to move on to a new life in another province which doesn’t have breed restrictive legislation," the Humane Society said.
"The process of transporting her out of province is expensive, but when it is required to save a dog’s life we don’t hesitate to do so," the agency said.
Coulter said a crate for the dog would cost between $100 and $200; a flight will cost about $500; and a Humane Society employee would have to drive Coco to catch her flight out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
None of that can happen until Coco has recovered from surgery, which she is scheduled to undergo Wednesday.
"We definitely wouldn’t send her on a flight with these injuries," Coulter said.
Pit bull ban in effect since 2005
In Ontario, it’s illegal to own, import or breed a pit bull, which is one of several breeds including the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, pit bull terrier, or any mix thereof.
People who owned pit bulls before the ban was put in place in August 2005 were allowed to keep their animals, but owners are ordered to ensure the dogs are spayed or neutered.
The dogs also have to be muzzled and leashed in public.
The law also gives judges the right to put down the animals if they’ve been involved in an attack.