Ottawa

Pit bull owners calling on Ontario to repeal ban

Dozens of people gathered at Parliament Hill in Ottawa Saturday to appeal to Ontario's new provincial government to change the law that bans pit bulls.

The City of Ottawa does not enforce the provincial ban on pit bulls

Some dog owners took to Parliament Hill Saturday to get the new provincial government's attention around Ontario's pit bull ban. (Florence Ngué-No/Radio-Canada)

Dozens of people gathered at Parliament Hill in Ottawa Saturday to appeal to Ontario's new provincial government to change the law that bans pit bulls. 

The legislation bans the pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, American pit bull terrier and any dog that has an appearance or physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs.

Dozens of people came out to show support for a repeal of the pit bull ban in Ontario. (Florence Ngué-No/Radio-Canada)

Ottawa Citizens against Breed Specific Legislation hopes Ontario will follow the Quebec government's move last month to back down on its pit bull ban.  

"We're hoping that we can show our newly elected provincial government that the right thing to do is take away the breed specific language in our laws," said Alix Packard, founder of Ottawa Citizens against Breed Specific Legislation. 

Group calls for law to be based on behaviour

The group wants the law based on the behaviour of a dog, not its appearance. 

The pit bull ban came into affect in 2005 in Ontario, but the City of Ottawa does not enforce it. Advocates want the province to follow suit. (Florence Ngué-No/Radio-Canada)

"Focus more on responsible ownership and hopefully get rid of the pit bull ban, as people like to call it in Ontario, and replace it with a very breed neutral law," said Packard. 

The City of Ottawa does not enforce the provincial ban on pit bulls, but prefers to enforce its bylaw, which requires owners to register their dogs, use leashes and includes provisions on how to deal with aggressive dogs. 

Packard wants the province to follow Ottawa's example.

"All of these dogs should be treated on an individual basis and not treated based on a breed or appearance," said Packard. 

About the Author

Krystalle Ramlakhan is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I., Winnipeg and Iqaluit.