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Suspected pit bulls on death row (Sarnia, Ontario)

Mom_Of_Two_Dogs
September 5th, 2009, 06:44 PM
Suspected pitbulls on death row
CANINES: Owners say their pups are actually boxers
Posted By CATHY DOBSON, THE OBSERVER
Posted 2 days ago

Korinn Seabrook and Sonya Pimentel are desperate to stop Sarnia from euthanizing their puppies, but neither is optimistic they can be saved.

The women, who are friends, each adopted an 11-month-old dog they believe are boxer mixes from a mutual friend.

"Both the mom and the dad are boxer mix. My friend has the papers to prove it," said Seabrook.

But Sarnia animal control officers say the puppies look like Staffordshire bull terriers, a breed that's been illegal to own in Ontario since legislation was passed in 2005 to ban so-called pitbulls.

Seabrook's dog Maddi went missing Sunday night near her home on Michigan Avenue. She believes the 30-pound pup escaped through a hole in the screen door.

"I stayed up all night looking for her," she said. In the morning, she discovered Maddi at the Sarnia and District Humane Society.

The dog was running at large, had no licence and is not spayed, says Brad Loosley, the city's acting deputy clerk. She was also judged to be "substantially similar" in appearance to a Staff ordshire bull terrier.

The city seized the dog and impounded her, initially saying Maddi would be euthanized Thursday. She has since been granted a reprieve until Sept. 10 to give her owners an opportunity to prove she isn't a Staff ordshire bull terrier.

"I don't like it anymore than anyone else," said Loosley. "But the city has to enforce the provincial legislation."

He said he's trying to work with Seabrook and her boyfriend, but the paperwork they have is insuffi cient.

"It's awkward. The onus is on them to prove it's not a Staffordshire bull terrier. But paperwork that says mom and dad are boxers is not good enough."

Seabrook tearfully admitted to "screwing up."

"I know I should have had her licenced but I didn't have the money," she said. "But how can this be happening? I don't want my dog to die."

Loosley said the opinions of a veterinarian and an expert from the Canadian Kennel Club might help save Maddi. But Seabrook isn't convinced and, besides, she doesn't have the financial means to pay experts, she said.

"Maddi is a good dog and she doesn't growl. She doesn't even bark. She's a sweetheart and it's ripping my heart out."

Pimentel owns another puppy from the same litter. Her dog Carter was impounded Tuesday morning in what she calls bizarre circumstances, she said.

"I was walking Carter on a leash along the sidewalk on Indian Road when a car pulled up and control officers grabbed him," she said. "They said he looked like a pitbull and had no licence."

She moved to Sarnia from St. Clair Township last week and hadn't had time to get a licence, Pimentel said.

City officials told her they will euthanize Carter on Saturday unless she can prove he's not a Staffordshire bull terrier, she said.

"I want to know what training or authority these animal control officers have to say my dog is a pitbull. I'm going to be at city hall with the papers (today). My three kids love him and he's never hurt anyone."

Seabrook said she's inquired about dog blood tests but was told that can take two months.

Dogs judged to be Staffordshire bull terriers by city officers are impounded at least once a month and they are usually killed, Loosley said.

"We don't like to do this but the law is the law. We're just doing our job. If we ever let one go without proof we would be in a lot of trouble."
http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1725948

Pitbull law unevenly applied
Posted 3 hours ago

CATHY DOBSON

The Observer

If Maddi and Carter lived in St. Clair Township they probably wouldn’t be on death row.

But they live in Sarnia where animal control officers say they resemble Staffordshire bull terriers or pitbulls and are illegal.

Both 11-month-old pups are scheduled to be euthanized this week unless their owners can prove they aren’t a banned breed.

Sarnia is only following provincial legislation that binds the municipality, says Mayor Mike Bradley.

“We didn’t ask for it but we have to deal with it,” he said. “The city doesn’t agree with banning by breed and I’ve been opposed to it since day one. But we are doing what the provincial law requires.”

The 2005 Ontario Dog Owners Liability Act says any Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any dog that looks “substantially similar” is illegal.

In Sarnia, animal control officers don’t require a complaint to pick up a dog they believe is banned. If the officer deems it a pitbull, the onus is on the owner to prove otherwise.

Bradley and Brad Loosley, the city’s deputy clerk who supervises animal control, agreed the law is awkward.

“Our animal control officers have tremendous expertise,” Bradley said. “They are professional and ethical people doing what they believe the law requires.”

About once a month a dog is euthanized in Sarnia as a banned breed.

But just down the road in St. Clair Township, no dogs have ever been euthanized under the law.

Animal control officer Gayle Farr only picks up dogs running at large or causing problems, she said.

“That’s my mandate. It’s not about what the dog looks like. I think the provincial law is wrong. The merit of a dog is its owner.”

Farr, who breeds rottweilers, said the act targets a breed rather than badly behaved individuals.

Most complaints she receives are about smaller dogs, like chihuahuas, she said. “And the only bites I’ve got are from dogs under 12 pounds.

“I’ve picked up Staffordshire bull terriers who are at large but the owners pay the fine and the dog is released,” Farr said.

Maddi, one of the pair to be euthanized in Sarnia, was found running at large, having escaped from owner Korinn Seabrook’s house on Michigan Avenue.

St. Clair Township deputy CAO John DeMars agreed his municipality doesn’t enforce the pitbull law.

“It’s provincial legislation and therefore should be enforced by the OPP,” he said. “There have been no pitbulls put down in St. Clair Township.”

Mayor Steve Arnold said St. Clair upholds all provincial laws but that “at the end of the day, it’s about safety.

“If it’s dangerous, no matter the breed, then there’s an issue. People need to be responsible for their animals.”

Seabrook, one of the owners trying to save her dog, said she is doing everything possible to prove Maddi is not a Staffordshire bull terrier before a Thursday deadline.

Two members of the Canadian Kennel Club from Lindsay have agreed to come to Sarnia to assess Maddi and Carter’s breed, she said.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page, incorrectly spelled “Bring Maddie an Carter home,” has been started in support of keeping the dogs alive. It had 389 members as of Friday.

cdobson@theobserver.ca
http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1730851

Here is the Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=124939013291

If anyone can help in any way possible, please do! Even spreading the word helps.

BenMax
September 5th, 2009, 06:50 PM
Ok - I don't have to read this whole thing to tell you from experience that this is very common and not only that - even if she proves with vet papers and testimony they will not budge. I even proved a pit X was 9 years of age and they threw another spin asking me to then prove she was born in Ontario. If they are determined to have these dogs killed, they will do it.

In my case, I had the dog sent to me and I found her forever home. The family back in Ontario was devasted.

Hopefully, a DNA test can be done to prove that the dogs are anything but staffie...it's the only hope as long as the DNA test do not say 'breed is non conclusive'.

This is a damn crime. I don't know what else to say except I have pulled a few out of there and it is absolutely the most ridiculous thing that us Canadians have to live with.....or do we?

Mom_Of_Two_Dogs
September 5th, 2009, 07:14 PM
I believe it :( This "law" really, really needs to go.

Chaser
September 5th, 2009, 07:17 PM
So sad....:sad:

Love4himies
September 15th, 2009, 11:40 AM
I hope they win and get to bring their pups home :pray:

Bailey_
September 15th, 2009, 11:50 AM
OMG, this totally gets my goat. I absolutley do not understand why this happens to innocent pups, or how people can do this. Clearly they are scared of something they do not understand or care to take the time to do that. :frustrated:

chico2
September 15th, 2009, 04:35 PM
Thank's MR Michael Bryant for this terrible injustice to innocent dogs,it is just unbelievable.
I do not know what I would do if someone took my dog away,I'd for sure end up in jail.
This is like a witch-hunt,is there not anything else these people can do,like maybe help homeless animals,leave the ones who have owners alone:shrug:

BenMax
September 16th, 2009, 08:24 AM
Thank's MR Michael Bryant for this terrible injustice to innocent dogs,it is just unbelievable.
I do not know what I would do if someone took my dog away,I'd for sure end up in jail.
This is like a witch-hunt,is there not anything else these people can do,like maybe help homeless animals,leave the ones who have owners alone:shrug:

Excellent comment Chico2!!!:thumbs up

Love4himies
September 16th, 2009, 08:51 AM
Thank's MR Michael Bryant for this terrible injustice to innocent dogs,it is just unbelievable.
I do not know what I would do if someone took my dog away,I'd for sure end up in jail.
This is like a witch-hunt,is there not anything else these people can do,like maybe help homeless animals,leave the ones who have owners alone:shrug:

Well said, chico.:thumbs up