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Article: Pregnant pit bull’s future bleak

November 29th, 2005, 07:29 PM

Pregnant pit bull’s future bleak

By Michelle Thompson
Local News - Tuesday, November 29, 2005 @ 10:00

A pregnant, brindle-coloured pit bull sits in a locked cage at the Quinte Humane Society (QHS).

She is friendly, though shy, with smiling eyes.

When her puppies are born in about a month, it is likely they will be immediately killed.

The dog likely has a name, but the staff at QHS don’t know what it is. She was found wandering along Avonlough Road Saturday and taken to the shelter.

Jenny Duffy, manager at QHS, doesn’t think the timing was a coincidence.

On Monday, pit bull puppies became illegal in Ontario. This means any puppy born on or after Nov. 28 must be euthanized, given to a research centre or deported from the province. No pit bulls can be imported into Ontario.

Duffy isn’t happy with the ban.

She said pit bulls “are the same as any other dog.
We haven’t had any more (pit bull) bites than we have poodle bites.”

The pregnant pit bull’s future looks bleak — because she is listed as a stray and it can’t be proven she is from Ontario or not.

“If her puppies are born in Ontario, they would have to be put down,” Duffy said, adding that if their mother remains in the province “she probably isn’t going to have a chance.”

This is why Duffy hopes the dog’s owner will come forward with proof the dog was born in Ontario before the ban took effect. If this happens, the people at QHC will be allowed to spay the dog and place her for adoption. If they spay her, however, the puppies will die.

Another option involves shipping the pit bull to another province before she has her puppies. Duffy is looking into that option.

The banning of pit bull puppies is the second stage of Bill 132, which was introduced by the Dalton McGuinty government last year. The ban’s first part became effective in August and states pit bull owners must have their dogs leashed, muzzled and spayed or neutered.

Fearnley Davies, of Davies and Elliot Animal Control, is familiar with the new bill. He says he will abide by it, although he doesn’t think it should be specific to one breed.

“Pit bulls aren’t the highest dogs on the list for biting. But when a pit bull does bite, it tears because of the shape of its mouth and head,” he said. “I think it should be a vicious dog act rather than a pit bull ban.”

Davies is an animal control by-law officer who has been patrolling Belleville since January. He said he has heard of two cases in the city this year where pit bulls have been euthanized for attacking people.

If Davies sees people walking their pit bulls without leashes or muzzles, he usually issues them a warning. If he catches them a second time, though, he said he would charge them. He has yet to charge a pit bull owner.

If caught not abiding by the new bill, Davies said owners could face a fine as high as $10,000. The court decides how much the fine would be.

Duffy is asking pit bull owners to “be responsible” and not abandon their dogs on the side of the road if they no longer want them.

“Bring them in rather than ditching them,” she said. “If they’re strays, they have no chance.”