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Municipalities complaining about high cost of enforcing DOLA

twodogsandacat
December 10th, 2005, 12:58 AM
Ottawa is already complaining about the extra costs associated with enforcing the DOLA. Wait to they start losing cases and the defendants seek costs. Nice: :fingerscr

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/story.html?id=11618785-041e-4bba-a9ce-2b85fd3e9544&k=44701

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Dog law puts costly bite on municipalities
One recent case cost city $50,000 in legal, kennel fees; more to come

Anna Piekarski, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, December 09, 2005

Ottawa officials are concerned that enforcing the province's anti-pit bull law will cost city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"When they put in the legislation, we made it clear we didn't have the resources to deal with it," Susan Jones, the city's director of bylaw services, said yesterday. Enforcing the Dog Owners' Liability Act takes "an extensive amount of resources on our part. The legislation was passed and the municipalities are now dealing with it."

Indeed, she pointed out that a single case recently cost the city more than $50,000 after the court ordered that three pit bull-type dogs be destroyed for attacking people in two incidents last winter. The city had to shelter the dogs and pay legal fees over a seven-month period. Now, the city faces more costs in having to go to court following dog owner Jeff Hickey's refusal Wednesday to turn his pit bull-type dog, Dozzer, over to bylaw officers to be destroyed.

The dog bit a woman in late November and the city ordered that the animal be put down. Mr. Hickey was supposed to surrender his dog Wednesday, but refused. He is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 15 to fight the city's order. Under provincial legislation, certain breeds of pit bull-type dogs are no longer permitted in the province. As well, dogs that substantially resemble pit bulls, or have the same physical characteristics, can be subject to the legislation.

This latter provision may prompt dog owners to go to court if they feel their animals have been improperly included under the legislation. And that's where the potential cost to municipal taxpayers comes in.

"I'm hoping we don't end up in court (often), but we are at least going to have a few incidents for sure," said Ms. Jones.

Provincial officials couldn't comment on whether the province would offer short-term funding for municipalities to offset the costs of enforcing the legislation.

However, Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ontario attorney general's office, said the province views cost issue as a short-term problem, because in the "long term, inevitably, there will be a decrease in the pit bull population."

In the meantime, he suggested that the city could cover any increase in costs by boosting fines and fees for licences.

Ms. Jones questioned the efficacy of that advice. She pointed out that in last winter's attacks, the dog owner was fined $2,100 on nine bylaw charges, which hardly covers the city's costs. In any case, "we aren't likely to see those fines and you don't recover your costs in a situation like that," said Mrs. Jones, noting that the dog owner is currently in jail.

As well, there's no surety that judges will impose the maximum $10,000 fine allowed under the legislation.

"Hopefully, the courts are going to start imposing those types of penalties," said Ms. Jones. "Pet owners that have dogs that bite need to pay attention that this is very serious."

Ms. Jones said higher fees could be implemented for dogs that have bitten previously.

Owners of these animals could face a $75 licence fee instead of the current $10 to $20 fee.

But even an increase in fees will not cover the costs of enforcing the law, she said, noting that about 270 dog bites are reported each year.

"Essentially, it comes out of the taxpayers' pocket at the end of the day."

seeker
December 10th, 2005, 11:56 AM
We should form a province wide support group to help people fight this at the municpal level . Clayton Ruby is going to deal with the law itself but meanwhile there will be lots happening to individuals that might not have the resources to put up a fight .

All of Your thoughts and ideas Please !

twodogsandacat
December 10th, 2005, 01:47 PM
Certainly many individuals may not have the information that they need and their lawyers may not have much information either. Hopefully when they do fight this they will at least do a goggle search and find websites such as savinglily.com , the DLCC and others. Hopefully lawyers see this as an area to practice in and learn how to fight it.

With Crown Attorneys making deals to clear backlogs and showing up in court unprepared as was mentioned in the legislature just last week a decent lawyer should be able to mount a good case. The idiot Bryant isn’t providing the resources they need to win these cases.

I imagine that in a case like the one in Ottawa there is not much chance of winning but in many other cases they would be. The best chance to drive up their costs is with mixed breed dogs. They offer a chance to win without changing the law (that will be handled by Clayton Ruby). Anybody that shows that they presented significant evidence to animal control that the case shouldn’t have been pursued should ask for costs. This way the municipality will not only lose the money they spent they will lose the money the defendant spent. Hopefully the ‘once bitten twice shy’ effect takes place.

As Michael Bryant offered no evaluation system to have your dog evaluated BEFORE you are charged there is a great chance that a dog owner doesn’t know if they would be targeted. The failure to provide a mechanism for evaluation in order to know if you are legal AND the inclusion of a reverse onus clause doom this law to failure. Consider the fact that Kitchener advised them in the hearings to set up such a system for evaluation which they promptly ignored and the argument is even stronger.

Individuals could walk into animal control, humane societies and vet offices before the ban went into place and be told “you’ll be OK”, “there shouldn’t be a problem” and “god no only an idiot would say that’s a pit bull” could not be offered a piece of paper to prove they sought advise in order to comply with the law.

Imagine a case where a vet, a humane society worker and an animal control officer are called as witnesses to testify that they said those things when some new hire in a small municipality you are passing though decides otherwise.

seeker
December 10th, 2005, 06:02 PM
There are many unknowns and that is what any bad lawmaker counts on , lot of grey areas so that everyone can spend lots of money defending themselves and making lawyers{many of them polititians} rich. They don't care who pays , the municilality or the individual the results are the same . More laws simply mean richer lawyers .
My Rant aside . You are right there are many places to get info but funding will be another matter . Remember the dog called "Copper" a few weeks ago ? That case is still pending , meanwhile the dog is in quarranteen inside a cage all day has not been outside since it all started and the cage is cleaned only once a day . Not "humane" at all even though it is being held at the scarbough animal control on Progress avenue just south of the 401 . I don't know the money situation of the owner but no matter what if the dog is simply held there long enough the bill will be enormous and will jeopardize the ability to hire a lawyer. The first few cases of bill 132 are simply tests for the court and will set precidents , in order for them to go in our favour they must be fought and fought properly $$$.
Once the idiocity of this law is exposed the municipalities will probably back off somewhat and life will return to normal {yeah right} .I suppose that is being hopelessly idealistic .

babyrocky1
December 10th, 2005, 06:10 PM
We should form a province wide support group to help people fight this at the municpal level . Clayton Ruby is going to deal with the law itself but meanwhile there will be lots happening to individuals that might not have the resources to put up a fight .

All of Your thoughts and ideas Please ! I think its a great idea, especially after what happened with Sixteen, I posted the number of a cheap legal service, you can talk to them for up to thirty minutes and it is charged to your phone bill. We could call that service with some of our questions, theres so many of us it would end up being alot of cheap hours if we ask either different or more indepth questions and maybe we could find some law student "volunteers' there must be such a thing???? Maybe we could post something somewhere that were looking for some "idealistic, animal loving , CHEAP lawyer... Its possible isn't it? At the committee hearings some crappy lawyer volunteered his services to the gov. Probaly to suck up but maybe since this is a precident setting kinda thing we could get some legal minds to help just for the publicity factor. Just as Jen and Sandra put all there info on there site, we could compiile all the info that we can get and try and help people that way. If there were another case like Missy and Sixteen, we could all call the legal help line and get answers specifically for the person and dog in trouble.... Could be that only the person involved can call.... Its worth checking into though.

seeker
December 10th, 2005, 06:21 PM
I like the idea of a law student , anyone know any ?
The call in site is good too we must get the word out . I know someone doing a website right now maybe she would post the # there .

babyrocky1
December 10th, 2005, 06:22 PM
Have you moved? I thought you were living in Fascist Ontario LOL

babyrocky1
December 10th, 2005, 06:27 PM
Back to reality lol the phone number is on the Missy and Sixteen thread for the cheap legal service, I wonder of the law schools have message boards were we could post something. I would still like to know if a low income person charged under DOLA could qualify for legal aid, how would Bryant look if the province had to pay on both ends! Im pretty sure that if one is facing jail time , and one would be, that the situation would qualify. Ill make some phone calls next wk. and will post the phone number for the lawyers later as well cause Im trying to watch Brandon at the moment!

seeker
December 10th, 2005, 06:38 PM
Have you moved? I thought you were living in Fascist Ontario LOL

I am designing a new Red flag with a circle of yellow stars soon it will replace the trillium .

gdamadg
December 10th, 2005, 06:41 PM
I would still like to know if a low income person charged under DOLA could qualify for legal aid, how would Bryant look if the province had to pay on both ends! Im pretty sure that if one is facing jail time , and one would be, that the situation would qualify.

I don't think it would matter. It would be discrimination if they defined qualification for legal aid, depending on the charge. I would like to see them try it though, it would just be another point to use in the law suit.

seeker
December 10th, 2005, 06:41 PM
Back to reality lol the phone number is on the Missy and Sixteen thread for the cheap legal service, I wonder of the law schools have message boards were we could post something. I would still like to know if a low income person charged under DOLA could qualify for legal aid, how would Bryant look if the province had to pay on both ends! Im pretty sure that if one is facing jail time , and one would be, that the situation would qualify. Ill make some phone calls next wk. and will post the phone number for the lawyers later as well cause Im trying to watch Brandon at the moment!

That sounds good .

babyrocky1
December 14th, 2005, 04:26 PM
Heres a start, sorry to post so late, I have been going crazy with my Xmas deadlines, Lawyer Referal Service....1-900-565-4577, this is the service were you can get advice from a lawyer for up to 30 minutes, it costs $7.00 charged to your phone bill. Legal Aid, 416-598-0200, thats for Toronto though. And the Lawyers that "saved Lily" Green and Vespry. I need to spend some time on the phone and find out about the regulations governing Legal Aid, there are also community Legal Clinics who might be able to help.