Bill 132 Frequently Asked Questions


Q:What is Bill 132?

A: Bill 132 is an act to amend the Dog Owners' Liability Act to increase public safety in relation to dogs, including pit bulls, and to make related amendments to the Animals for Research Act.

Q: I don't own a pit bull, how does Bill 132 affect me?

A: While this Bill provides for the banning of pit bulls and other bull terrier type dogs, there are a number of provisions that apply to all dog owners, including the restricted breed provisions. Of particular concern are the following:

  • reverse-onus provision
  • broadening of police powers
  • exclusion of definitions for menacing behavior
  • exclusion of definition for attack
  • exclusion of definition for bite
  • promotes the use of family pets as animals for research
  • restricted breeds

Q: What does reverse onus mean?

A: For restricted dogs, the onus is on the owner to prove that the dog is not a pit bull. This runs contrary to all provisions of Canadian law which embraces the right that the accused does not have to prove innocence in this country; the onus is on the Crown to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This legislation represents a significant threat to the rights and freedoms of innocent, law-abiding Ontarians.

Q: How does this Bill broaden police powers?

A: It would allow peace officers to enter a person's dwelling with or without a warrant and to use "as much force as is necessary to exercise any authority given by Section 14 or 15."

Seizure in public place

  1. A peace officer may seize a dog in a public place if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that, [.]the dog has on one or more occasions behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals;

Q: What is the definition of menacing behaviour?

A: There isn't one.

Section 5(1) (b) reads:

[.] the dog has behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals; or (c) the owner did not exercise reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from, [.]

(ii) behaving in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.

This applies to all dogs, regardless of breed.

Q: What is the definition for an attack?

A: There isn't one.

Q: What is the definition for a bite?

A: There isn't one.

Q: How does Bill 132 promote the sale of family pets as animals for research purposes?

A: Any dog that seized and subsequently declared a member of any of the restricted breeds or simply looks like one, any dog that is found guilty of an aggressive act, or any dog that is owner-surrendered may be released to a laboratory for research.

Q: What would happen to my dog if I lose a challenge of any charges?

A: Where the operator of a pound believes it has possession of a pit bull and that it should not return the pit bull under subsection (7.3), the operator of the pound shall do one of the following with the dog:

  • destroy the dog;
  • transfer the dog to a person who is resident out side Ontario in a jurisdiction in which ownership and possession of the pit bull is lawful, where the person is acquiring the dog, in good faith, in order that it be used as a pet or in hunting or for working purposes;
  • transfer the dog in accordance with clause 20 (6) (c).

In short, this means dogs could be destroyed, adopted to someone outside of the province, or it could be sold to a research facility as a research animal.

Q: What's wrong with the definitions for the restricted breeds? A: (2) Section 1 of the Dog Owners' Liability Act is amended by adding the following heading immediately before Section 1:

  • "pit bull" includes,
    • a pit bull terrier
    • a Staffordshire bull terrier
    • an American Staffordshire terrier
    • an American pit bull terrier
    • a member of a class of dogs that have an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to dogs referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d); ("pit bull")

The Canadian Kennel Club is the recognized registration body under the Animal Pedigree Act. According to the Animal Pedigree Act, the determination of breed is the responsibility of the Canadian Kennel Club, not the province of Ontario.

Sections 2(b) and (c) include breeds that are recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is described as being good with children and a fine household pet. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is often described as being a wonderful family pet and exceptionally fond of children.

The Canadian Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed standard extols the virtues of the breed's temperament to include "His affection for his friends, and children in particular, his off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes him the foremost all-purpose dog."

Section (d) describes a breed that is not recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club nor the American Kennel Club. The United Kennel Club recognizes the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and describes the essential characteristics of the breed as being: "strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. [.] Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.

Temperament Test statistics show that of the 476 American Pit Bull Terriers evaluated, 374 (83.9%) passed the test (www.atts.org/statistics.html), yet Mr. Bryant claims these dogs are inherently dangerous and ticking time bombs.

Sections 2(a), and (e) essentially describe the same phenotype, one that is based on appearance and physical characteristics and one for which no breed standard exists because "pit bull" is a generic term. There is no means for a person to disprove that the dog labeled as a pit bull or pit bull cross is not such a dog as there is no scientific or mathematical means to prove or disprove this. Nor is there any scientific or mathematical evidence than any one breed is more dangerous than another.

Ian Dunbar, DVM and recognized for his work in animal behaviour, describes the Pit Bull as:

"Today, a properly bred Pit Bull is so exuberantly happy upon meeting her owner's friends (or even friendly strangers) that new owners sometimes worry that their dog is too sweet and fun-loving to protect their home and family... A multitalented companion, the well-trained Pit Bull is suited for a variety of exciting activities. He excels at obedience, agility and weight-pulling competitions, events which showcase intelligence, trainability and strength. In addition, the Pit Bull's pleasant nature makes him an ideal candidate for therapy work with people."

What is wrong? These breeds are noted for their stable, trustworthy temperaments. Mr. Bryant is barking up the wrong tree. All breeds are capable of injuring a person or other animal. We need to address that issue of dangerous dogs, not specific breeds.


Reproduced with permission from the NCCPD