FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why does the Ontario SPCA require the court's permission to euthanize the dogs?
When the dogs were originally seized, the owners did not surrender ownership of the dogs to the Ontario SPCA. The owners have been charged under the Dog Owners' Liability Act, but have not yet been found guilty, and therefore continue to have ownership. The owners of the dogs oppose the euthanasia application, and, because of this, it would be illegal for the Ontario SPCA to euthanize the dogs without either their consent, or a court order.
What if the dogs have already been euthanized?
It would be illegal for the Ontario SPCA to euthanize the dogs without a court order. The next court date concerning the euthanasia application is scheduled for February 16th.
Could fighting to save the lives of these dogs make the dogs suffer longer?
No. The Ontario SPCA is unable to euthanize the dogs without a court order, as they are not the legal owners of the dogs. The legal owners of the dogs have been charged, but have not yet been found guilty. This trial is not expected to take place until the year 2018. Their lawyer has argued that it would be inappropriate for the dogs to be euthanized prior to the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, and continues to oppose the euthanasia application. Fighting to save the lives of these dogs does not mean that the dogs will be held in limbo longer - it simply means that there is hope for a happy ending.
What is Breed Specific Legislation?
Breed Specific Legislation, frequently referred to as "BSL", is legislation meant to target, restrict and eliminate particular breeds of dogs. Ontario's Breed Specific Legislation targets "pit bull type dogs", which are defined as:
A pit bull terrier
A Staffordshire bull terrier
An American Staffordshire terrier
An American pit bull terrier
A dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs.
Sadly, these 21 dogs are considered to be "pit bull type dogs" that have had the misfortune of being born into a province where their very existence can be a death sentence.
Has Breed Specific Legislation affected this case?
Yes. In Ontario it is illegal for any private rescue, organization or individual to own or house any dog affected by the legislation. Because of this, if the application to euthanize the dogs is withdrawn and the dogs are able to receive rehabilitative care, they will need to be transferred out of Ontario and into a jurisdiction not affected by Breed Specific Legislation. Our rehabilitation plan involves transferring the dogs to the Dogs Playing for Life National Canine Centre for Advanced Behaviour Support, based out of the North Florida Animal Rescue.
Logistical issues aside, we believe that breed is what has prevented the Ontario Provincial Government from helping these dogs, and could also have been a factor in the Ontario SPCA's decision to seek permission to euthanize the dogs rather than releasing them to rescue.
Can dogs affected by Ontario's Breed Specific Legislation be transferred out of province?
Yes. "Pit bull type" dogs are regularly transferred out of Ontario to jurisdictions not affected by Breed Specific Legislation by independent rescue groups and by the Ontario SPCA.
What happens if the Ontario SPCA withdraws their application to euthanize the dogs?
Dog Tales will seek the court's permission to have the dogs transferred to the Dogs Playing for Life National Canine Centre for Advanced Behaviour Support, where rehabilitative efforts will begin immediately. The legal owners of the dogs have already consented to this transfer. If the Ontario SPCA also consents, obtaining a court order will be a relatively straightforward process. Then, the dogs will finally have a second chance at a happy life.
How can I help save these dogs?