Pit Bulls Ruled "Unpredictable"
Toronto, CA - Pit bulls are dangerous and unpredictable dogs that have the potential to attack without warning, the Ontario Court of Appeal said today in a decision upholding the province's ban on the animals. The Ontario government enacted the Dog Owners' Liability Act in 2005 to ban the breeding, sale and ownership of pit bulls after several incidents in which the dogs attacked people.
The ruling confirms that the ban is constitutional.
The pit bull law survived a constitutional challenge in March 2007, though some changes were ordered. Superior Court Justice Thea Herman said a ban on "pit bull terriers" was unconstitutionally vague because it didn't refer to a specific type or breed of dog. The Appeal Court not only disagreed with Herman's ruling, they fully restored the law to the form in which it was enacted.
"The total ban on pit bulls is not 'arbitrary' or 'grossly disproportionate' in light of the evidence that pit bulls have a tendency to be unpredictable and that even apparently docile pit bulls may attack without warning or provocation."
"This evidence of unpredictability provided the legislature with a sufficient basis to conclude that the protection of public safety required no less drastic measures than a total ban on pit bulls." (view full ruling)
The lawsuit was initiated by Catherine Cochrane, who hired lawyer Clayton Ruby to try and strike down the law. Ruby had argued that the "breed-specific legislation" passed by then-Attorney General Michael Bryant wasn't clear on what constituted one of the dogs and was too confusing to be enforceable. The two are now considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
03/02/08: Ontario Pit Bull Ban Greatly Reduces Bite Count
02/26/08: U.S. Supreme Court Leaves Intact Ohio Supreme Court’s Ruling...