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St.Cath Standard Bryant/BSL

September 30th, 2004, 06:10 PM
Newspaper article from the St.Catharines Standard
Jail time proposed for dog attacks

By Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press, Toronto
National news - Thursday, September 30, 2004 @ 01:00

The Ontario government is considering jail time for owners of all dog breeds that attack, if it is found the pet’s owner acted irresponsibly, Attorney General Michael Bryant said Wednesday.

“If you’re not caring for your dog, and something very serious happens, you’re going to pay the price,” Bryant warned dog owners as he entered the weekly government cabinet meeting.

“We would give judges the ability to incarcerate people in the event that they were irresponsible dog owners,” he said.

“It would obviously (have to) be a particularly extreme case, but that would be for the courts to decide.”
Currently Dog owners can be charged under the criminal code. Bryant feels standards for criminal negligence are often too tough to deal with owners who don’t control their pets.

“The test for criminal negligence is quite strict, so we looked at other jurisdictions to see if the deterrent of jail time will in fact have an impact,” he said.

Bryant promised to toughen legislation “to deal with the rare occasion where there is a perfectly safe breed, but you’ve got a rogue dog owner who’s not taking care of it.”

He’s also considering doubling the $5,000 maximum fine for irresponsible dog owners.

“Other provinces have $10,000 in fines and include a jail term, and we’re looking at that.”

Bryant will meet this week with officials from the city of Toronto and the Ontario Association of Municipalities to discuss the impact of a provincewide ban on just one breed of dog, pit bulls.

Bryant said he wants to “get their feedback as to how a ban would affect them,” but insisted no final decisions have been made on banning pit bulls completely from Ontario.

“We’re obviously looking very closely at it, and we’re willing to go further than any other province in Canada has gone to protect Ontarians from the dangers of pit bulls,” he said.

“More and more every day we get news about the danger these dogs pose.”

Bryant said an attack Monday on a Scarborough teen who had been cutting the grass in a neighbour’s backyard where the dogs lived showed him that simply requiring muzzles for the animals would not be enough.

“The latest attack would seem to make the case as to why muzzles in public places just aren’t going to be a long-term solution.”

The attorney general said he was confident enforcement of a provincewide ban on pit bulls would not be a problem.

September 30th, 2004, 08:46 PM
Bravo for finally getting around to the irresponsible owner but then in like the next sentence they're back to blaming the dog! :confused: :(

October 1st, 2004, 08:32 AM
Michael Bryant has already made up his mind but I think he is starting to take a lot of heat on the subject from other agencies. I also believe that he is realizing how many dog owners there are in this city and is probably looking at the amount of votes they will be loosing next election. This is something that he really cares about. I know that he has been recieving a lot of emails from people not supporting the ban and is not able to ignore it. I know the people in the park around me have been emailing daily and faxing letters and articles against the ban. We all realize that it effects all dog owners, because if they get away with this it will be even easier for them to ban another breed and another and so on.

October 1st, 2004, 11:54 AM
This article doesn't tell us anything unfortunately. They are saying that they are thingking about jail time .... but if you think about it - there are WAY too many implications of enforcing jail time on owners. The jails of Ontario are nearly at capacity if not over. There is no room to keep people that have not physically done anything themselves. It is too expensive to keep these people behind bars for something that their dog has done...

Should a person behind bars for their dog inflicting and injury upon another human being vs. a person that is behind bars for premeditated murder be kept in the same type of facility? Will the province provide funding for a facility of people that are serving time for their pets? Will the government allow for murders, pedophiles and drug dealers be in "common areas" with people that are in jail for something that their dog has done? They are not criminals in the same sence of the word, but should they be treated as such?

It's a VERY costly and difficult action for the government to pass. Do you know how much it costs to "home" a prisoner for 1 year? I heard that it was in the range of 150, 000 - 200,000 per prisoner! Now, include people that are not violent or dangerous criminals, but rather, a bad pet owner!!!!

I would love to see that these people are held responsible for their actions - and even if that is raising and caring for an animal - they should pay the price. But I don't think that taxpayers will be willing to allow this, not if the "easy" solution is to just get rid of the dogs.

October 1st, 2004, 01:47 PM
I hope so.
He get's far too many opportunities to spout off & then he disappears, back into his den again, safe from criticsm (or input) from the public. :)