Ontario Pit Bull Ban a Challenge for MLB Pitcher


pit bull banCanadians are known for being kind and accepting people, but it seems they don’t extend this civility to dogs.

Ontario has a province-wide ban on pit bulls and dogs who fall within the lineage of the pit bull, which is why newly acquired Toronto Blue Jay pitcher Mark Buehrle suddenly finds himself separated from his family. Buehrle owns four dogs, one of which (Slater) is a bulldog and American Staffordshire Terrier mix (the latter being of the pit bull lineage).

When Buehrle was traded from the Florida Marlins to Toronto, the family had a decision to make – either live in the states (like Buffalo) and commute to Toronto, or leave Slater with friends. Instead, Buehrle’s wife and two children will live away from him during the baseball season, so that they can care for Slater.

Ontario’s pit bull ban was passed in 2005, banning the breeding, sale, and ownership of pit bulls, in response to a series of pit bull attacks. Then Attorney General Michael Bryant said that pit bulls were “inherently dangerous animals … ticking time bombs.”

In 2010, the Toronto Humane Society claimed that its data showed that the ban had not resulted in any significant decrease in dog bites. There were 5,428 dog bites in Ontario in 2005; 5,360 in 2006; 5,492 in 2007; 5,463 in 2008; and 5,345 in 2009, according to the THS.

In 2008 an appeal challenging the ban was denied, and the Ontario Court of Appeals upheld the ban, stating “the total ban on pit bulls is not arbitrary or grossly disproportionate in light of the evidence that pit bulls have a tendency to be unpredictable and that even apparently docile pit bulls may attack without warning or provocation.”

The pitbull underground railroad

Being labeled as a pit bull in Ontario is just as good as having a death sentence. Dogs that have even a hint of pit bull in them have the potential of being euthanized or exiled, which is why many volunteers have stepped up to save these dogs. Volunteers will take “pirate puppies” to neighboring provinces such as Nova Scotia, so that the pit bulls can be adopted.

“They were just born and of a certain color with little short ears and possibly their mom was more bull-and-terrier than boxer,” said Emily Ugarenko, co-founder of Ador-a-bull, to the thestar.com.

Pit bulls who do not appear to be a threat to public safety can legally be sent out of Ontario. But if a pit bull is deemed dangerous, it’s illegal to ship the dog out. Instead, that dog will likely face euthanasia.

Pit bull bans are not uncommon. Vancouver had a ban until 2005. Netherlands had a 15-year ban that ended in 2009. Boston had a pit bull ordinance in 2004 which fizzled from controversy and lack of organization.

It seems all too common to hear in the news of a pit bull attack. Is that because pit bulls are more vicious? Or does the media cling to pit bull attacks over, say, a french poodle attack? Either way, while there are arguments for and against these bans, it’s important not to forget that for every pit bull (or any dog) who is prone to bite, there are likely hundreds who are prone to lick.


  1. I have always found it to be interesting how the media sensationalizes every single pitbull attack, and every dog who attacks of late seems to be a “pitbull”. I have a rescue puppy who was on the PTS list as a pitbull, but when the DNA test was done, he was a smooth collie-boxer mix. No one would adopt him because he was a pitbull. Now he has a happy home and is doing great with a rednose pitbull brother and and Am-Staff sister. BSL breeds predjudice. Predjudice bred slavery & fighting. What has the human race come to?

    • Easy now I am Canadian and live in Ontario and have had Pits going on 12 yrs. This article make the Ban Seem way worse than it is. You can still own Pitbull and the euthenasia only happens if the dog attacks. I’m guessing with the Canadian comment you American. Should take your knowledge comment and educate yourself on more than an internet article

      • Chris: I certainly respect your opinion, and while I can see how the article may come across to you as exaggerating the ban, the simple fact is, an otherwise harmless dog, through proven history, would not be allowed entry into your borders because of its breed. How is that any different from denying entry to a person based on their race? With that analogy, I think it’s fair to say no matter the specifics of the ban, the ban itself does a fine job all by itself demonstrating its idiocy and backward thinking.

        • Why do you people keep comparing breed to race? It would only come close to being a rational thought if people hated certain COLORS of pit bulls. I dont know if you’re aware of this but people are all the same “breed” The only difference race to race is skin color. Some of us are tall some short but we are all the same.I could be taller then some white folks, and shorter then some. Show me a chihuahua bigger and stronger than a Pit bull, and your crazy weird analogy might make some sense.

          • It’s not a matter of breed vs race. It’s about judging based on stereotypes. The stereotype is that pit bulls are vicious. The stereotype is that minorities commit more crime. When someone (or some dog) is judged based on a stereotype, then it is the exact same thing. One should be judged on one’s own merits and characteristics, not based on the actions of complete strangers that happen to share some similarity to them (be that breed or race).

            I’ll show you a dog bigger than a pit bull: a greyhound. Do we consider that dog to be dangerous? No. The argument isn’t based on the dog’s size. It’s based on prejudice. Simple as that.

          • The stereotype is not that they are vicious, Its that they are dangerous. Massive difference. Pit advocates should spend less time trying to convince people these dogs are angels and more time trying to prevent these attacks.BY TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM. Does the greyhound rescue center recommend a breakstick to be carried by responsible greyhound owners? no. Are greyhounds responsible for 100 percent of fatalities in the US for 2013? NO. Any animal that can take down a healthy adult man and kill him, SHOULD be considered dangerous, Thats the point everyone is missing. And before you give me the all dogs bite speech, let me save you the trouble. A dog bred for violence will be much better at it then a dog bred for something else. When they attack it is brutal, and it is hard to stop. They are killing people, and other peoples pets (including horses) at an unheard of rate, and all the advocates ever have to say is Supervise your children people! What good is supervising your dog and child, if you dog can kick your a$$? This is not a human/dog rights issue. Its a public safety issue.

          • When dog fighters buy a fighting dog, they buy a pit bull, they don’t buy a greyhound. Maybe they know something you don’t. After all, dog fighters created the pit bull breed.

  2. Loving the last line only “hundreds” should be “thousands” if not “millions”. There is an estimated 72 million dogs in the US and it is believed about 54% are mixed mutts. How can anyone with a reasonable mind believe the shape of a dogs body determines behaviour? In 2005 there were 29 people who died from fatal dog attacks but 16,692 people were killed by other humans. OH and just to put things in perspective, in the US parents kill their own children on average about 2,000 a year.

  3. Firstly choosing the dog responsible for more dead children than all others combined is strike one as a parent, seeing how most parents try to choose the SAFEST things for their kids, Think about all of the children killed by family pits, Do you honestly believe for one second those parents would have kept the dog if they thought that would happen? No, Secondly he found places for his dog, but instead of having it “bond with someone else” They, as a couple decided the dog was more important to the children than their daddy. Parenting fail. Hey Mark, if your wrong about your dog, do you think your wife is strong enough to get the dog off your child? Cause normally it takes SEVERAL people or a cop with a gun to end a pit bull attack. I truly do hope you are not wrong because even if you two dont care about your kids, I do.

    • FACT Grrlzule there has NOT been a single documented case of a child EVER having been Killed in the WHOLE OF CANADA by ANY of the banned breeds or dogs deemed “substantually similar”. THINK ABOUT IT. The stats go back to 1961. However there are 46 documented fatalities of child deaths from OTHER types of dogs. YOU can find the names, ages and date of deaths by going to the web site of the “National Canine Research Council” and on the header go to “Dog Bites” then on the drop down list “Dog Bites in Canada”. How many of “these types” of dogs do you think have been in Canada in the last fifty years and IF a dog were dangerous based on the shape of it’s body don’t you THINK there would be at LEAST one documented killing of a child by them?


      I personally have had these dogs around my children AND grandchildren for about 20 years so KNOW that fear-mongering and stereotyping IS exactly THAT. If you believe the SHAPE of a dogs body determines it’s disposition and character do you also believe the same is true if one’s skin colour is “different” from your own?

      • FACT this family and their dog, is from the good old US of A Why dont you check the stats THERE. Secondly, of course I judge the danger of an animal based on body shape and size. I do and parents choosing pets for their children SHOULD TOO! are you seriously telling me you would rather face down an angry pit bull than an angry beagle? and that you believe its the same as racism to take an animals body type into consideration? What about the good old break stick? did you have one on you 100 percent of the time like the pit bull rescue center suggests? Its a matter of life and death for a child. you got lucky, and while its obvious not all pits attack, if it does, your child stands NO CHANCE. Only a truly selfish parent would put their child in that position, just because they themselves “prefer” a type of dog.

        • Why don’t you just get a goldfish and leave dogs alone. Pits havve to be broken down completely to be vicious, ESPECIALLY towards kids, because thier nature is to be extremely docile and playful.

          • Keep telling your self that, do you think any of the many children this year who were ripped apart by these dogs would have been allowed near them, if someone thought it could happen? That attitude that you have about only abused pits turning is exactly why so many kids are getting hurt by these dogs. Thats a lie, and you know it.

          • Wow u r truly an idiot do some research on the breed- ill never own any big dog other than a pit- if u have never spent any time with a pit then u need to keep ur mouth shut- wow a pit is still one if gods creatures, I’m sure u call ur self a Christian – what a joke! the first and most decorated war dog to date was a pit, Pitts were on ww1 & ww2 propaganda posters! The only dog to ever grace the covers of life magazine was a pit, the little rascals dog was a pit, the RCA dog a pit, Helen Kellers dog was a pit (I’m sure u have never read how much Helen Kellers dog helped her) teddy rosevelts beloved dog was a pit, they used to be named nanny dogs bc in England where they are from adults left their pits to be with their children while they went to the corner pub to get wasted! Do u know what 2 breeds where used to make the “pitbull” a small terroir and a the original English bulldog (not the english bulldog we know today, which didnt originate until early 1900’s) do u know why these 2 were bread together? the breeders wanted to strength of the bull dog and the agility and speed of the terroir- that’s why their snout is longer, the humans have created this – I bet u r a Michael Vick supporter- why don’t u watch the documentary of the Vick dogs I can assure u – it’s us horrendous! Instead of bashing a breed why don’t u help us crusade against the bad rap these dogs have it is unfair- if I was on a chain and forced to fight I’d have some issues wouldn’t u? Pits are one of the oldest breeds- u cannot blame a race of dogs – get educated

          • Are you truely afraid to educate yourself, or are you just to lazy to do research? Chihuahuas are by far more vicious than pits, that’s what the breed was made for (going into holes to kill prey), whereas Pits were bred simply for protection and loyalty, and that’s a trait that is hard to beat out of them, as dog fighters MUST do.

          • If you seriously are going to compare a chihuahua nip to a pit bull mauling, Im done talking to you. You are ridiculous.

          • Found it, the origanal was pit, how cool is that, but the newer one is Am Bulldog. I am a pit lover, but don’t own one,I do have chihuahuas 4 of them, lol they scare me more than our Shepard chow mix. It’s is how you raise the dog. We have a cat, we call our pit bull, she is a scary cat, and our 80 pound dog is very afraid of her.She is mainecoon mix, 20 pound of fur. She hates big dogs. I havent found a dog I don’t love. Friends next door has a red pit, hes a pussy cat. Afraid of his shadow, they trained him well, he obeys better than a kid. Pits are my all time fav, shepards next, chow. I love the shepard chow crosses, very good dogs, Tank is our 2nd one. First died before 17th birthday.

        • If you were to check into WHY abreakstick is recommended by RESCUE SHELTERS, it’s because the dogs HAVE BEEN RESCUED, AND TEMPERMENT IS NOT FULLY KNOWN. The dog may have been abused, and as with ANY abused dog, could be prone to attack if it feels threatened.

          • Actually they recommend ALL RESPONSIBLE OWNERS carry one. Guess you arent a responsible owner. You are unprepared if your dog does attack, a breakstick is a safe guard, Jayden Foresters daddy used his hands to pry open the “family raised ” pit that latched on to his daughters face, the dog crushed Jaydens jaws pushed her teeth out of her mouth and tore through her tear ducts. He used his hands and the dogs teeth went through them, He can no longer work. Educate yourself please.

    • And by the way, my Pit IS AND WAS the best choice of dog around my children and others. Don’t try classifying all dogs as dangerous just because you are afraid of them. My 1 year old “mixed-race” grandson can do anything he wants to my Pit, and he just lies there and takes it, licks him, and loves him. And keeps the most dangerous of animals, HUMANS, from harming him.

      • Lots of parents have said that before you and now they arent parents anymore. I happy your kids were lucky. Doesnt make you a good parent though. You shouldnt need a dog to protect your kids thats YOUR job.

  4. In the UK, pit bulls are banned. However, the Staffordshire bull terrier (staffies) is the breed favored by the thugs and hooligans who live in poorer housing schemes due to the ‘tough’ image it gives the owner. So you can guess, an irresponsible, violent and aggressive owner is going to raise a violent, aggressive dog. Unfortunately, for the Staffie, the breed then gets a bad reputation as the media sensationalizes every Staffie attack. I always believe it is the owner who is at fault and not the dog. Pit bulls, staffies etc have unfortunately been bred for dog fighting, gang culture etc and the breed is then stereotyped with aggression and dog attacks. It’s the owners who should be banned from having dogs, the dog is just doing what it is raised/trained to do.

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