Let’s Raise Our Voices and End Breed Specific Legislation

| October 21, 2022

Every dog, like every person, is unique. Every dog deserves the chance to show the world who they are on the inside and not to be judged by their looks. Unfortunately, because of  Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that came into effect 17 years ago, on August 29, 2005, Pit bull breeds are not given this chance.  

If you agree that all dogs should be treated as individuals, we encourage you to join us during the month of October as we challenge BSL and celebrate Pit bulls.  

The Issue with BSL

Ontario’s Pit bull ban is problematic for many reasons: 

  • The law punishes dogs for their appearance, instead of their behaviour. Aggression can result from many factors, including lack of training and socialization, lack of exercise and mental stimulation, poor breeding, mistreatment, health issues, and failure to spay/neuter (which reduces aggression). 
  • It deprives owners of due process, with no objective method for establishing whether a mixed breed dog falls under the legislation’s vague “pit bull” definition. 
  • It unfairly penalizes those on low-income who may be unable to afford to retain a lawyer and where an accusation can mean the de facto death of their dog. 
  • Focusing on breeds gives the public a false sense of security – as individual dogs may be dangerous, regardless of breed – and punishes many dogs who are not dangerous. 
  • It is costly to enforce, both for municipalities (through sheltering and enforcement costs) and the province (through court cases). 
  • It is virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds, but dogs of any breed can become dangerous if they are raised to be aggressive. Individuals who exploit dogs simply turn to other breeds. 

Because of this ban, two loving dogs that recently came into our care won’t be able to find their forever homes in Ontario.  

Meet Sunny and Victor – Two Pitties That Desperately Needed Help

Sunny was transferred into our care in June. He needed heartworm treatment, which can take months to treat and comes with severe risk of complications.  

With the dedicated support of our foster parents and our medical staff who closely supervised his recovery, Sunny tested negative for heartworm on August 30th and transferred into the loving care of our rescue partners in Alberta. Keep shining your brightest Sunny!    

Victor came into our care extremely malnourished with a broken back leg that caused him to limp. A fellow animal-lover saw Victor’s condition and decided to bring him to give him a better chance to live a healthy, happy life. 

Victor is still in our care while receiving medical treatment. We are working with rescue partners in Alberta to find Victor a loving home outside of the province, but we would be happy to re-home him with anyone who lives outside of Ontario. If you know anyone outside of the province that has room in their heart and home for Victor, a sweet and loving Pit bull who is perfect in his own way, please email adoptions@torontohumanesociety.com 

Let’s Challenge BSL

Sunny and Victor are prime examples of the defectiveness of BSL. They were deemed unadoptable in Ontario for no reason beyond their appearance. They, and many other Pit bulls, are perfectly adoptable dogs who deserve to live happy lives in Ontario too. That is why it is critical to shed light on the unfortunate and misguided law which remains in Ontario perpetuating the mislabeling of an entire breed.  

We challenge this legislation and ask for consideration around which end of the leash we should be focusing on. We advocate for Dangerous Dog Legislation and Responsible Owners Act as proven alternatives to reducing dog bites and increasing public safety.   

Raise Your Voice for Pit Bulls 

During the month of October, we encourage all animal-lovers to join our conversation online and in-person by talking about your love for Pit bulls. 

Use #EndBSL, #PitbullAwarenessMonth, and #AllDogsAreIndividuals and tag Toronto Humane Society on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram as we challenge BSL and advocate for Pit bull animal rights. 

Together, we can show the world why Pit bulls are amazing and deserve to be considered as individual dogs. It’s not the breed, but the deed!  

More Info on BSL