Private Members’ Bill to repeal Breed Specific Legislation

Published on November 21, 2019

Ontario Government to target the right end of the leash

TORONTO, ON — Today, at the Toronto Humane Society (THS), MPP Rick Nicholls announced he has tabled a Private Members Bill (PMB) to repeal Breed Specific Legislation in the Dog Owners Liability Act and Animals for Research Act. He was flanked by long-time supporter of the repeal and passionate animal welfare advocate, MPP David Piccini, and a full house of supporters who packed the THS.

The PMB is introduced on the heels of the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS) which significantly increases penalties for serious offenders and would, if passed, be the strongest in Canada. The legislation also introduces new offenses to combat activities like dog fighting.

In 2005, the McGuinty-Wynne Liberal Government enacted the Breed Specific Legislation banning “pit bulls” and even suspected “pit bulls,” in Ontario. The legislation was introduced with no scientific facts to support it and was opposed by over 80 expert organizations and individuals who testified before committee. It has since been proven to be very costly, ineffective and difficult to enforce.

MPP Nicholls and MPP Piccini are taking action to introduce breed neutral legislation that treats all dogs equally and shifts the focus to responsible pet ownership. The repeal has the support of over 50 animal welfare groups across the province, and more in other jurisdictions. Some of the proponents include the Toronto Humane Society, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, Windsor-Essex County Humane Society, the City of London, and the City of Ottawa.

“When I worked with local animal welfare advocates to break up a dog fighting ring known as the ‘Chatham 21’ some years ago, it became clear to me that our laws on Breed Specific Legislation were not accomplishing their intended goal” said Nicholls, the third term MPP for Chatham-Kent Leamington. “Since then several provinces have moved away from bans on specific breeds of animals and towards regulation and education on responsible pet ownership. I intend to table a private member’s bill upon the return of the Ontario Legislature to begin this process for Ontario”.

“The lack of progress in reducing dog bites and effectively protecting Ontario residents is but a few of the many reasons to end the ban,” said MPP Piccini. “We are introducing some of the toughest penalties for those who abuse animals in the entire country. With a focus on education and responsible pet ownership in additional to the current legislation we have introduced, we are building a safer Ontario for all.”

Nicholls and Piccini delivered remarks and were joined at the podium by Jacques Messier, CEO of Toronto Humane Society, Doug Raven, CEO of Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, Rob
Scheinberg, founder of Dog Tales Rescue and Animal Sanctuary, and Cheri DiNovo, former MPP for Parkdale—High Park.


Quick Facts

• Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is a ban on specific breeds of dogs found in the Dog Owners’ Liability Act dating back to 2005.

• Ontario is the only province with Breed Specific legislation. • The Provincial Government recently introduced the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS) which introduces a new enforcement model in Ontario, modernizes the legislative framework and introduces the strictest penalties in Canada.

• The Private Members’ Bill is supported by the New Democratic Party and the Green Party. • MPP Nicholls tabled the Private Members’ Bill on November 20, 2019.
Additional Resources
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Media Contact

Paige Wiggans, Executive Assistant Office of MPP David Piccini 905-372-4000 [email protected]