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Old 03-02-2008, 05:43 PM
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Default Toll grows on doggy death row

Toll grows on doggy death row

Sun, March 2, 2008

Toll grows on doggy death row

Some call it doggy death row.

Hundreds of pit bulls and pit bull breed dogs have been confiscated by animal control officers in Toronto and across the province under Ontario's pit bull ban and are waiting in cages to be euthanized.

Some dogs with good temperaments will be "rescued" by animal groups and even pounds themselves to be shipped to other Canadian provinces and the U.S.

Others are secreted, through a kind of doggy underground railroad, in the backs of cars and vans to safe haven in another jurisdiction.

The Pit Bull Co-op, a group of dog lovers who banded together in the wake of Ontario's Bill 132, support responsible ownership and work with owners and rescue groups to find homes for dogs permitted under the legislation and those that are banned.

"We post their dogs on our website," Violet Madej, a founder of the co-op, told the Sunday Sun. "When puppies are born, a lot of people because their dogs are illegal have no choice but to get their dog out of the province."

One ad on the website is for "Monkey," a pit bull mix puppy that needs a home outside Toronto.

"Monkey is a sweet little monkey bum," the ad states. "He likes to make you laugh and he's very curious. Good combination. Consider adding this muffin to your home today."

The Pit Bull Co-Op, and groups such as the Pit Bull Project and Bullies in Need, get calls every week, Madej said, from owners who are hiding from the law and often desperate.

Ontario's law hasn't done much to target breeders and owners who choose to raise vicious dogs, for fighting and other uses, she said.

"They were abusing the law before and these people are still abusing the law," Madej said. "I see pit bull puppies everywhere and I know they're illegal."


Debbie Black, the other co-op founder, said pit bull advocates are fighting the law but added responsible owners often don't fight back when animal control officers seize dogs suspected of being banned.

About 20 protesters showed up outside a Mississauga court Friday calling for the release of Rambo, a pit bull mixed breed who has been impounded since Christmas Day by the City of Mississauga under a 2005 law that bans pit bulls and "substantially similar" dogs in the province.

More often, owners don't resort to court.

"The fact is most people can't afford to stick up for their rights or pay a $10,000 fine," Black said.

"We abide by the law, as much as we despise it because we don't want to see any dogs confiscated and sent to doggy death row," Black said.

Rescue groups, humane society officials and municipal animal control officials test dogs that have been confiscated and deem some to be acceptable for adoption.

If there's doubt, the dogs are euthanized.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has always been against the province's pit bull ban, admitted 98 pit bulls in their 20 branches across the province last year.

Of those, 66 were euthanized but only 38 werwere killed specifically because of the 2005 pit
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