Michael Bryant’s pit bull ban fails to totally eliminate dog-on-human violence: THS report

Michael Bryant’s pit bull ban fails to totally eliminate dog-on-human violence: THS report

Man's best friend or worst enemy? (Image: audreyjm529) 

In 2005, after a few headline-grabbing incidents of pit bulls mauling small children, the Ontario government moved to ban any new pit bulls in the province. (Being anti-child-mauling is an easy call for a politician.) It’s now five years on—is the ban working? Predictably, the Toronto Humane Society (THS) says no.

Reports the Toronto Star:

There were 5,714 incidents in 2004, the year before the Liberal government rolled out breed-specific legislation to ban the sale and importation of pit bulls. Owners were required to get their pit bulls spayed or neutered, and must muzzle and leash them in public.

Despite the law, the Humane Society found the number of dog bites dropped slightly to between 5,350 and 5,500 in the last four years.

“It is clear that the new law has not worked. It has not reduced the number of dog bites and increased public safety. All it does is punish one breed of dog,” said society spokesman Ian McConachie.

That law was pushed through by Michael Bryant, the former attorney general who now faces serious charges related to the death of a cyclist. The law was opposed by, among others, the THS, which has spent the last year battling charges of animal cruelty. If it was possible for Bryant’s reputation to be even more tarnished, this might do it. (Though the Globe points out these numbers are hardly iron-clad.) Of course, THS isn’t a neutral party in this, seeing as they just recently had to put down Bandit, the dog whose attack on a child started all this.

In an argument between a disgraced AG and a scandal-plagued animal shelter, is there a way they could both lose? We can’t think of one, but we’re confident they’ll both find a way.

• Pit-bull ban hasn’t reduced bites: THS [Globe and Mail]
• Humane society says new law doesn’t nip dog bites [CBC]
• Pit bull ban hasn’t cut dog bites [Toronto Star]