Finally,Brittany and Rambo were set free by the Brampton Animal Shelter. An independent veterinarian came in and evaluated the two dogs and determined what pretty much everyone has known all along, that neither dog was a 'pit bull' and were not banned in Ontario.
The two dogs were confiscated from different homes on January 13th of this year -- after the city suspected them of being 'pit bulls'.
The dogs have spent the last 97 days in the city pound - -at taxpayer's expense - while the city has paid for lawyers and full-page advertising in the city newspaper trying to justify confiscating the two dogs. They even denied the owners visitation rights at the shelter for nearly two months.
After months of incurred expenses by the city, the dogs were finally set free. The incident just illustrates the colossal waste of resources breed bans are - -as neither of the two dogs had violated a single animal control law, neither had had any complaints against them, and neither showed any signs of aggression. But for more than 3 months, two families were torn apart due to the city seizing the dogs, and paid more than $20,000 in legal fees. Meanwhile a ton of taxpayer resources were wasted, headaches and embarrassment were created for the city trying to justify their decision to seize the non-aggressive dogs.
The city may be facing further litigation as the dogs were seized without a warrant -- although the city says there were "exigent" circumstances behind the seizure that allowed them to seize without a warrant, but never said what those circumstances were.
The city of Brampton, of course, refuses to bow out gracefully.
As a part of the agreement with the city, the owners allowed the city to designate the dogs as "potentially dangerous" and thus have to wear a muzzle in public and post a big red "dangeorus dog" sign at the home. The owners agreed to it because they feared that further legal action would take months causing the dogs to have to spend more time at the city shelter. Keep in mind, the dogs are described even by the city vet as friendly, were in violation of no city ordinances and are not pit bulls - and the city still mandated the dogs be declared as potentially dangerous.
Instead, they should have been offering an appology -- for taking the dogs and holding them for 3 months for no reason and for wasting a ton of taxpayer dollars.
At least the dogs are safe back home, where they belong.
It is exactly this type of problem that has led several Ontario cities to just quit enforcing the province's dog owner liablity act - -including one of the largest cities in the provence -- Ottawa.
Meanwhile, citizens in Sarnia, Ontario are also protesting their city hall because of the provincial breed ban. And it turns out the mayor of Sarnia agrees with the protestors.
"It's provincial legislation -- not the city or the humane society," said Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley. They should be at the MPP's office. I don't even agree with teh legislation myself, but we have to enforce it."
But actually, they don't -- not if the precedents set forth by Ottawa and others is any indictation.
A year ago, Sarnia made some changes to how they enforced the ordinance following a series of confusing cases of breed identity. Officials note that they are still killing one innocent dog a month due to the ordinance.
"It's very fuzzy legislation; the province passed it, but now they have no involvement in the law itself," said Bradley. "In fact, I'd like to go join the protestors, myself".
Residents of Ontario -- you have a voice. You have elections for new MPPs coming next fall, and you should send a very clear message to the MPPs there that you support repealing the ordinance. Find out how the candidates feel about the law, and then actively support and help those who support a repeal campaign for office. The MPPs work for you, and the law is working for no one.
For more on the situation in Brampton:
Lassie Get Help: Stay Classy Brampton Bureaucrats