Local Humane Society Supports Move to Lift Pit Bull Ban

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The Windsor-Essex County Humane Society supports an effort to reverse Ontario's ban on pit bulls.

Executive Director Melanie Coulter says her organization has seen both sides of the issue.

She told AM800's 'Open Line Talk' that pit bulls are not the only breed of dog that bites.

"The reality is that other dogs can bite as well and that there are wonderful pit bulls out there, there are some problematic pit bulls out there, but those will be captured by legislation that will deal with problematic dogs of any breed," says Coulter.

She believes the current ban is not working.

"Our position is in agreement with the legislation that's been introduced, that we need legislation that focuses on dogs behaviour and owners responsibility and not on some artificial breed construct which is extraordinary difficult for even experts to determine," says Coulter.

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Windsor Essex County Humane Society's Melanie Coulter speaking at a city council meeting. (Photo by AM800's Rob Hindi)

Conservative Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls has introduced a private member's bill that would change the provisions in the Dog Owners' Liability Act that prohibit the dogs.

Nicholls believes owners are to blame for vicious dogs — not the specific breed.

His bill also included stiffer penalties for animal abuse and measures to ensure responsible pet ownership.

Coulter feels the proposed legislation will deal with problematic dogs of any breed.

"I think that fact that there are still a number of bites of other breeds of dogs is just an indication that any dog has the potential to bite and maybe there's fewer bites by a certain breed because there's fewer of those dogs around. But that's going to be the same for any breed where there's lower number," says Coulter.

Nicholls' private member's bill will be debated in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday.

The Ontario Liberals banned pit bull ownership in 2005.