Victims’ group decries proposed lifting of pit bull ban

Stock photo of chained pit bull. (Photo courtesy © Can Stock Photo Inc. / lastingimages)

A coalition of over 70 pit bull victim groups across the U.S. and Canada is not wagging its tail over Ontario possibly lifting its pit bull ban.

Bill 147, introduced by Chatham-Kent Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls, aims to change the Dog Owners’ Liability Act to stop discrimination against pit bulls and to put the focus back on all dog owners for the behaviour of any dog breed.

The coalition called National Pit Bull Victim Awareness (NPBVA) advocates for victims of pit bull attacks and breed-specific legislation. The coalition said pit bulls are not safe and encourages politicians to keep and enforce the pit bull ban.

“It’s like listening to the tobacco industry about the safety of smoking,” the NPBVA said about animal rights groups lobbying the province for change. “Studies in medical journals on the dangers of pit bulls are rapidly piling up.”

The NPBVA group said pit bulls have killed 52 people in Canada and the U.S. since the start of 2018 and 20,000 people had reconstructive surgery last year after pit bull attacks. The group also said 30,000 dogs, 17,000 cats, and 14,000 farm animals were killed by pit bulls in 2018.

The NPBVA said doctors are calling pit bulls a “public health crisis.” The group said medical studies show more severe and frequent injuries from pit bulls.

“Notice the pace of them appearing is rapidly increasing as pit bull bans are repealed,” said the coalition. “Fatal and severe dog attacks go through the roof wherever pit bull bans are replaced with general dangerous dog laws.”

Ontario is the only province that has a province-wide ban on pit bulls.