A win in Canada Judge Rules on Dog Owners Liability Act.

Pits in the news and info on Breed Specific Legislation.

Postby tybrax » April 21st, 2006, 8:15 am

Tidus Returned to Owner After Judge
Rules on dog Owners Liability Act.

TIDUS Sarnia Sun _ Thursday, April 20 _ 2006 news 3
BARRY WRIGHT
Sarnia Sun

A Sarnia dog has been given a new
Leash on life, but dog owners shouldn’t
take his release as the beginning
of the end of the Dog Owner’s Liability
Act.
Tidus, a four-year-old male described
in court as small, short-haired
and muscular, is back with his owner
today after being released following 42
days in custody at the Sarnia Humane
Society.
“I’m just thrilled. I’m relieved it’s
over with,” said owner Jody Kirby.
“He’s a good dog, he’s never done anything
wrong.”
Tidus was seized March 9 by an animal
control officer and Kirby was
subsequently charged with four Sarnia
bylaw offences relating to the
pooch not being licensed or on a
leash.
The city also ordered the dog destroyed
under the provisions of the
Dog Owner’s Liability Act which was
passed by the province last August.
That legislation stipulates that pit
bull owners must have full control of
their dogs at all times, as well as having
them muzzled, leashed and sterilized
within 60 days of the bill taking
effect.
Defence lawyer David Stoesser
called the act “very inadequate.”
While Stoesser indicated the case
is the first of its kind to be heard in
Sarnia, a spokesperson for the Attorney
General’s office did not know if the
case was the first of its kind anywhere
in the province.
“We don’t track those sorts of
things,” said Brendan Crawley.
Crawley was quick to point out the
case should not been seen as a challenge
to the legislation, but an individual
court case under the law.
“If I’m acquitted of theft, that doesn’t
mean I’ve been successful in challenging
the Criminal Code,” explained
Crawley.
“The act is alive and well,” he said.
At the time she was charged, Kirby
told the officers Tidus had infections
that needed to be treated before
he could be neutered, but she did
not have the veterinary paperwork
to back up that claim.
The dog has since been neutered
and is good health, according to Dr.
Sandra Taylor, a local veterinarian
who testified on behalf of the defence
in the Provincial Offences Court in
Sarnia on Wednesday.
Taylor testified she could not identify
the exact breed of the dog, because
the owner did not have information
about the lineage of the animal.


‘Very vague’
“This legislation is very vague because
it doesn’t give direction,” said
Justice of the Peace Helen Gale in
making her ruling to release the pet
following the two-and-a-half hour trial.
She noted that the Canadian Kennel
Club does not even recognize pit
bulls as being a specific breed.
“There needs to be a clear definition,”
said Gale. “There are some real
problems with the act.”
Gale said the essence of the act was
to restrict the movement of dangerous
and aggressive dogs and no testimony
was offered about Tidus’s personality.
The dog owner, who broke into
tears when the destruction order was
dismissed, said the legislation cannot
be applied in a cookie-cutter fashion.
“I think that’s a big part of what’s
wrong with this legislation,” commented
Kirby outside the court room.
“He’s a good loyal friend to have
around,” she said. “He’s obedient,
never shown any aggressive behaviour
and he’s never tried to bite anyone.
He’s a family pet, not a dangerous
dog.”
Kirby, who said she needed a court
order in order to make her sole visit to
see Tidus during his incarceration,
said she planned to take her pet for a
long walk after retrieving him from the
Humane Society.
“Because he’s on death row he
doesn’t get walked,” she said. “He’s
been in that cage for a month and a
half.”
– with files from Gord Bowes
Gord Bowes/Sarnia Sun
Jody Kirby gets a wet welcome from her dog Tidus yesterday after picking him up at the Sarnia Humane Society. Tidus had been incarcerated
there since he was seized March 9 and Kirby was charged with several offences. She was found not guilty yesterday.

tybrax :D

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Postby Maryellen » April 21st, 2006, 8:20 am

what a fantastic outcome!!!
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Postby Purple » April 21st, 2006, 8:22 am

A happy ending, for sure.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 21st, 2006, 1:03 pm

Very good ending, very sad story. Seems like the dog would be entitled to have some mental health/physical health problems after being kept in a kennel for 45 days straight. How can they justify not even walking him???
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Postby SisMorphine » April 21st, 2006, 1:18 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote: How can they justify not even walking him???

I would think that his kennel run probably had an outdoor part so contact is not necessary.

It is a great outcome, but definitely a sad story. Why was he running loose in the first place? Did I miss that explanation?
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby tybrax » April 21st, 2006, 9:26 pm

Dog escapes death in court challenge
First successful test of contentious pit bull law
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Font: * * * * Lindsey Coad, The Sarnia Observer
Published: Friday, April 21, 2006
SARNIA - A southern Ontario dog with "some" pit bull similarities has escaped death in what's believed to be the first successful test of the province's contentious pit bull law.

A veterinarian's letter for a Sarnia court had stated that Tidus -- a muscular dog with short reddish hair and a pointed tail -- had "some" pit bull similarities.

But justice of the peace Helen Gale said that's not enough to hold dog owner Jody Kirby accountable to strict pit bull laws brought in last August.

Kirby was cleared of charges of failing to muzzle, leash, sterilize and provide ownership of her dog.

Her lawyer, David Stoesser, says it was the right verdict for an inadequate law. He says the law -- which considers pit bulls to be any dog with a physical appearance that is "substantially similar" to four distinct pit bull breeds -- should be clarified.

"In light of these proceedings, I would hope some significant amendments to the legislation are considered," said Stoesser, who said he believes the trial was Ontario's first since the pit bill ban.

"It puts a very difficult burden on our animal control officers, on the courts and indeed, on dog owners."

The Dog Owner's Liability Act says a pit bull includes a pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, an American Staffordshire terrier, an American pit bull terrier, or a dog with a physical appearance that is "substantially similar" to any of those. Violations of the pit bull restraints law require the pit bull to be put down.

Kirby, 35, said she was given the dog and isn't sure of its heritage.

She described Tidus, estimated to be four years old, as loving and non-aggressive.

"I wouldn't have him out in public if he was a safety hazard, not even slightly," said Kirby, who was convicted Wednesday of separate municipal bylaw offences for not having her dog leashed or licensed.

In her ruling, Gale said the veterinarian's letter did not convince her the dog could be defined as a pit bull.

"That letter falls short," said Gale.

"That does not actually call it a pit bull and I think that's what the legislation entertains."

"No one wants to protect this community more than me (from) aggressive dogs. There's no evidence that that's the situation with this particular dog."

Animal control officer Jim Voikos testified that Kirby's dog's jaw line is common with the Staffordshire breed.

Veterinarian Sandra Taylor, who vaccinated and neutered the 28-kilogram dog Monday, said she couldn't determine if the dog fit the pit bull definition without knowing its parents. It also looked like an American bull dog, she said.

"He is substantially like other breeds," Taylor told the court. "I cannot pinpoint one breed to him."

The prosecution said it may appeal. :x

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