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Public Safety Related To Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2004

Archived Backgrounder

Public Safety Related To Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2004

Ministry of the Attorney General

The proposed legislation would:

  • Ban pit bulls, i.e., ban ownership, breeding, transferring, abandoning, importing, and training pit bulls to fight.
  • Define a pit bull as:
    • a pit bull terrier or
    • a Staffordshire bull terrier or
    • an American Staffordshire terrier or
    • an American pit bull terrier or
    • a member of a class of dogs that have an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to the four types of dogs that have been identified.
  • Classify an existing pit bull as a "restricted pit bull" if the dog is owned by a resident of Ontario on the day that the legislation comes into force, or if the dog is born in Ontario within 90 days of the legislation coming into force.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations that would impose province wide restrictions on restricted pit bulls, including leashing and muzzling them when in public, and requiring pit bulls to be neutered or spayed. The proposed legislation would not interfere with the authority of municipalities to impose other appropriate controls.
  • Increase fines up to a maximum of $10,000 and allow for jail sentences of up to six months for owners of any dangerous dog that bites, attacks, or poses a threat to public safety. Corporations - such as "puppy mills" - who contravene the proposed legislation could also be fined up to a maximum of $60,000. The court would also be provided with the ability to order restitution to a victim.
  • Provide for the power to search and seize dogs under a warrant on private property or without a warrant in emergency situations or in a public place.

What is the success rate of pit bull bans?


  • Prior to ban, there were 30 pit bull attacks per year and 30 to 40 reported serious attacks of all dogs per year. In the past four years, there have been no pit bull attacks.


  • Prior to the ban, in 1995 and 1996, there were 17 and 18 pit bull incidents, respectively. After the ban, there has been about one per year. 

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