John Nunziata says Ontario should consider repealing pit bull ban

A Toronto lawyer is trying to help a rescue organization take custody of a group of pit bulls that could be destroyed and he says the province should consider repealing its existing ban of that breed.

Toronto lawyer is representing a rescue organization trying to obtain custody of 21 seized dogs

Should Ontario rethink its ban on pit bulls?

It's something a Toronto lawyer is calling for, as a rescue organization he represents is fighting to take custody of a group of 21 pit bull-type dogs that were seized in the Tilbury, Ont., area last fall.

The dogs were seized as part of a police investigation into an alleged dog-fighting ring. They are now in the custody of the OSPCA. A total of five people have been charged in connection to the case.

The OSPCA has since said experts they have consulted have indicated these 21 dogs cannot be rehabilitated. And an application has been made for these dogs to be destroyed.

Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary of King City, Ont., wants to be able to take these dogs in and is seeking the opportunity to take custody of them.

Lawyer John Nunziata is representing the Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, as it tries to obtain custody of a group of pit bull-type dogs that were seized in southwestern Ontario last fall. (Twitter/@Nunziata)

John Nunziata, who is representing the rescue organization, said that he and his client are also pushing for the province to repeal its ban on this breed of dog.

He argues that the number of troublesome incidents involving these dogs has not changed appreciably since the provincial ban came into effect in 2005.

"Why should they be banned?" Nunziata said, when discussing the issue on CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive.

He pointed out that pit bulls aren't the only type of dogs that can cause problems.

Nunziata said he has been reaching out to members of the legislature on this issue, including Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

An NDP spokesperson confirmed Nunziata had approached Horwath about the breed-specific legislation. And there have been voices in that party calling for an end to the ban. Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, for example, brought this up in the legislature earlier this month

A spokesperson for the Ontario Tories said the party does not have a position on the pit bull issue, but acknowledged Nunziata had been reaching out to some of its members.

There are sitting members of both opposition parties who previously supported a push to end the ban on pit bulls.

Nunziata believes there may be enough support among members of the legislature to bring change if another attempt was made to reverse the ban.

"I'm encouraged that should another private member's bill be brought forward that it's possible that the legislation will be repealed," he said.

With files from The Canadian Press