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Ontario Attorney-General insists pit bulls must go

Canadian Press

Toronto — Four days of public hearings into Ontario's proposed ban on pit bull dogs have left Attorney-General Michael Bryant more convinced than ever that the breed is “inherently dangerous” and should be eliminated, he said Thursday.

“Testimony from victims was riveting and inspiring,” Mr. Bryant said after testifying before a legislative committee. “I don't want to have in Ontario one more victim at the hands and teeth of a pit bull.”

Mr. Bryant used his appearance before the committee to dismiss arguments put forward by opponents of the proposed legislation, which would ban pit bulls but allow current owners to keep their dogs as long as they were spayed or neutered and muzzled in public.

He said reasonable people could disagree on the argument over whether its nature versus nurture that leads pit bulls to attack, but in the end he concluded that it does not really matter to victims.

“Pit bulls are inherently dangerous, and that no matter what the nurture, they pose too great a risk to public safety,” Mr. Bryant said.

He also dismissed assertions by dog lovers that the legislation banning only pit bulls would be ineffective in stopping dog attacks on people and other animals, saying nothing could be more effective than removing the breed.

“Less pit bull attacks means less people victimized by pit bulls. That is effective,” Mr. Bryant said.

He also questioned assertions by some animal-rights activists that banning pit bulls is inhumane, saying he wanted “to turn that argument on its head.”

He said if Ontario doesn't ban the breed, there would be a disproportionately high number of pit bulls in humane societies and dog pounds.

“(They would be) living their life out in these shelters, or being put down because they're unadoptable. Where is the humanity in that?”

The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats both insist that a breed-specific ban will not work and will not address the problem of irresponsible dog owners.

The opposition parties called on Mr. Bryant to amend the legislation to address all dangerous dogs.

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