Eight years after the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (DOLA) was passed in 2005 which banned so-called “pit bulls,” Hamilton, Ontario has admitted that “dog owners are getting around [Ontario’s] ban by registering their pets as another breed ” or not registering them at all.” Hamilton’s Animal Control Supervisor Jim Gillis acknowledged,
“The fact that pit bull-type dogs, six years of age and under, still find their way into the shelter indicates that there are people out there breeding pit bulls and selling them…”
In fact, Gary White, an admitted former dog fighter in the province noted that,
“The only thing that ban did was increase the value of (pit bulls) from $1,000 to $5,000.”
In other words, Ontario’s breed-specific legislation (BSL) is, as White claimed, “useless” and worse, actually promotes animal cruelty by making the banned breeds that much more attractive to the very individuals — dog fighters — whom you don’t want owning them.
Yet it was well known that BSL is useless well before Ontario passed its “pit bull” ban in 2005. For instance, it has been widely reported for years that the UKs breed-specific law, the Dangerous Dogs Act, which has been instituted since 1991, has been an utter failure as there has been a huge rise in banned dog breeds. The BBC noted that, “the number of banned dogs used for fighting, then abandoned, is soaring.”
Toronto itself backed up the claim that BSL doesn’t reduce dog bites when in May 2010, the Toronto Humane Society released statistics from a survey they conducted which showed that “the number of dog bites in Ontario had changed little” since Ontarios 2005 ban on pit bull breeds was instituted.
The findings that breed-specific laws are ineffective and unenforceable is nothing new, and yet even when proven wrong, some municipalities (and provinces apparently), refuse to seek more effective legislation like non-breed-specific dangerous dog (owner) laws. Why?