Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo ‘Attacks’ Breed Restrictive Legislation

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Breed Restrictive Law has been all over the news, as a temporarily suspended bylaw in Montreal banning pit bulls has sparked controversy. Parkdale-High MPP Cheri DiNovo is opening up with the truth about breed restrictive legislation and how she wants to change it in Ontario.

Nearly 11 years ago, Ontario’s then-attorney general spoke in front of the Ontario legislature and claimed that over time, a ban on pit bulls and pit bull type dogs would mean fewer attacks by pit bulls, as well as fewer attacks in general by dangerous dogs.

The legislation he was pushing restricting those breeds was passed, but….

Turns out, he was wrong, and Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo is introducing a new bill that will null that antiquated and erroneous decision, and allow common sense and justice to reside. DiNovo smartly uses statistics to support her position that breed-specific legislation does not work, and shared that the number of fatal dog bites since the restrictions went into place is actually up.

Yes, up. Seems like it’s not a breed problem–it’s an owner problem.

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Claiming that other jurisdictions are already rescinding any breed-restrictive legislature as they see that the efficacy of such laws simply is not there, DiNovo says that she’d like to see Ontario follow a model similar to Alberta–where the province educates the population and strictly enforces already-in-place legislation that would punish bad dog owners, not presumed ‘bad dogs.’

In light of the recent bylaw legislation that bans pit bulls and pit bull type dogs passed in Montreal and backed by Mayor Denis Coderre who originally did not agree with breed restriction either, Alberta rescue groups are actually rescuing pits from Montreal–knowing that the breed itself is not the problem and proving it with low attack numbers and rehabilitation programs.

DiNovo gets to the heart of the irresponsible legislation recognizing that for the last 11 years, family pets were literally killed because of the law. So, not only is it ineffective, it’s simply cruel, and she plans to change that.

Related: FBI Deems Animal Cruelty A Top Tier Crime

Which is not to say that some still won’t back down and that DiNovo won’t have a fight. The current spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General, Brendan Crawley, factually claims that there are fewer pit bulls in Ontario–which means there are fewer opportunities for pit bulls to attack people. Yeah, obviously.

What he fails to mention, however, is that while fewer pit bulls mean fewer pit bull bites, the vague ambiguity of the laws defining what a pit bull is are unfair and discriminatory, as there is no way to prove what a pit bull really is, even with DNA testing. DiNovo’s concern is that many innocent dogs are being grouped with mixed breeds and ‘mongrels’ and being unfairly condemned as a result.

And to her, that’s just not fair. Any big dog is capable of the same bite and attack that a pit bull is, and she maintains that there’s really no difference between a bite from a pit bull or her own adorable Bull Terrier.

So she aims to go after irresponsible and negligent owners with a vengeance–knowing that bad owners will just move from one banned breed to another, different breed they will then use as a weapon. She’s sickened that it’s already happened to pit bulls, and she’s going to ensure that’s changed and that it doesn’t happen any more.

And we’re right behind her!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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