Friday, February 15, 2008

Dog gets death sentence

In Ontario, all it takes is hear say to have a Pit bull breed condemned. It doesn't matter if you can prove differently. They won't listen and that's the frightening thing for all Bullie owners.

You're always at mercy with an ex that could want to make trouble, or a neighbour dispute. Even someone who just bluntly does not like the breeds and can say, 'That dog was looking at me aggressively.', when in fact the dogs tail was wagging and just wanted to say, 'hi.'

This story was in an article of the Toronto Star.

Dog gets death sentence
Pit bull or just pitiable? Court backs decision to put down dog accused of biting Toronto man
Feb 14, 2008 04:30 AM

Staff Reporter

Is he a pit bull or isn't he?

Did he bite a man and his dog or was the man threatening him with a knife?

The facts are unclear, but Munchie's fate may be sealed. This week a court upheld a decision by Toronto Animal Services to have the 4-year-old dog destroyed. Munchie has 30 days to live, pending an appeal.

The case began last September when Munchie escaped his downtown backyard. A scuffle ended with Munchie's quarantine and criminal charges against the man the dog is alleged to have attacked.

Sheila Yeung, one of Munchie's owners, said her neighbour had previously threatened to kill the dog and on that day he attacked the dog with a knife. When the dog broke free of his grasp, it ran into the house, she said.

Yeung, a 21-year-old Ryerson student, said she locked her door only to have the man break in, make threats and hold her at knifepoint. That man currently faces charges including uttering threats, break and enter and threatening with a weapon. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

But the man claims he and his dog were bitten. As a result, Munchie was quarantined and has remained with Animal Services since.

In October, Animal Services classified Munchie as a pit bull, and a threat to the safety of others.

Yeung said the dog is gentle and friendly. Munchie is a mutt who looks like a chocolate Lab, she said.

She does not believe he is a pit bull, and a Canadian Kennel Club-licensed judge agrees. After assessing the dog, Mike Macbeth concluded Munchie is not a pit bull but a mongrel that most resembles a field Labrador.

"I thought this case was a slam dunk. He doesn't have any characteristics of a pit bull. He looks like a skinny chocolate Lab," said Macbeth. But the court concluded Macbeth was biased and noted that of the eight dogs she has assessed for court cases, she has claimed none were pit bulls.

Eletta Purdy, manager of Animal Services, said looking at pictures of Munchie can be misleading.

"We believe he is a restricted pit bull," she said. "... We had evidence that the dog did attack and bit at least one person and one animal. Upon investigation of that incident, we believed it would continue to be a menace."

A restricted pit bull is one born and owned in Ontario before Aug. 29, 2005, when the province-wide ban on pit bulls came into effect.

Purdy said staff use accumulated knowledge, training and experience to determine the breed of a dog. In the case of a pit bull, legislation also provides guidance.

The Dog Owners' Liability Act defines a pit bull as a pit bull terrier, a Staffordshire bull terrier, an American Staffordshire terrier, an American pit bull terrier or a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are "substantially similar" to those dogs.

Yeung and Angela Feng, 24, co-owner of the dog, said they're upset the court rejected the argument Munchie is not a pit bull. The court ordered they pay $15,000 in court costs, money they don't have.

Lawyer Terry Green argued the expert they hired has more experience and knowledge than those at Animal Services. "Munchie looks like Bill Clinton's dog Buddy. He's a chocolate Lab," Green said.

Yeung and Feng have 30 days to file an appeal or Munchie will be destroyed.


Mac`s Gang said...

Do you think this case is going to
wake up Ontario dog owners?

I`ve been waiting 3 weeks for a legal designation on this dog.

What do you think the answer is going to be Ontario?

I`ll give you a hint.
She`s not one of the 3 Banned Ontario Pure Breeds.

Here`s the kicker
Is she
"Substantially similar"
NOT "Substantially similar"?

See if you can come up with an answer quicker than my Township.
The Deadline for my Township is Feb 20/08

Sometime after that date my Lawyer will request that designation again.

Don`t wait till your dog gets out of your yard or your neighbour whines about something.

Get your designation on their letterhead before you purchase your Municipal License this year.

Since they wish to judge dogs by breed/type/look
I suggest they get going.
How many dogs are in Ontario...?

Indy said...

That is so heartbreaking. Those pictures of Shasta with her muzzle on are sad too!

We keep praying that the people who put these breed bans in effect will come to their senses.

Sorry I haven't been around much, my mom has been so busy with work and rescue! I will try to stop by more often!