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Pit-bull attacks will be rare under Ontario law, MPP says

Attacks by pit bulls, such as the one in Thorold on Monday, will largely be a thing of the past under Ontario legislation to ban the dogs, Attorney-General Michael Bryant said yesterday of the controversial plan.

"The pit bulls that apparently attacked a man in Thorold would be muzzled, where they weren't [on Monday]. And they would probably be required to be leashed, where they weren't [on Monday]," he told reporters at Queen's Park.

Mr. Bryant predicted that within a few years, problems with pit bulls will be rare because they will have died off, and they will not be replaced because the law will prohibit breeding and importing them.

"We anticipate that Ontario will have the same experience as jurisdictions like Winnipeg and Kitchener that had a significant decline in pit bulls" after they were banned, he said.

Mr. Bryant also predicted there will be no need for humane societies to engage in a mass cull of the animals when the ban is in place because the law will allow current owners to keep their dogs while ensuring the animals are leashed and muzzled in public.

"The population of pit bulls in the province of Ontario is such that there won't be any turning in of them en masse. In fact, every pit-bull owner that I have spoken to about it loves their pit bull a lot and doesn't seem at all interested in handing the dog in.

"We're doing this to lower the number of pit-bull attacks in the province of Ontario until we get it right down to zero."

In the Niagara Peninsula community of Thorold on Monday, a 41-year-old man was attacked by two pit bulls after he attempted to protect his cocker spaniel from them. He was bitten on the nose and hand but did not require medical attention. His dog required stitches and is expected to recover.

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