Dog Whisperer’s right-hand canine denied entry into Ontario
Everybody who knows dogs knows Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. He has millions of fans all over the world who watch his television series and read his books. When his famous dog, Daddy, passed away last year messages flooded in to the Dog Psychology Center expressing condolences on the loss of a fabulous dog and trusted assistant.
Daddy was old and failing when Cesar got Junior, the puppy Daddy trained as his replacement. Junior learned well and is now filling the role of trusted sidekick to Cesar as they go from town to town rehabilitating dogs and training people. The perennially popular television series, The Dog Whisperer, documents the many types of problems they confront and solve.
One problem they can’t solve is the McGuinty government’s refusal to let Junior enter Ontario. You see, Junior is perceived to be a “pit bull”.
The McGuinty government is determined to uphold its amendments to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (2005), popularly referred to as the “pit bull” ban.
Correspondence from the Attorney General’s office indicates that the government will say anything to save face, despite the lack of any factual supporting evidence for its socalled breed ban. Since purebred dogs of the three breeds banned in Ontario are so rare that most people have never seen them except at dog shows, the law includes a clause targeting dogs that are substantially similar in physical appearance to these three rare breeds.
Junior apparently fits the ‘substantially similar’ description of the nonbreed “pit bull”.
So once again, a responsible owner is being discriminated against because of the physical appearance of his dog - not the dog’s behaviour, but its looks. Despite overwhelming opposition to the amendments in correspondence, at demonstrations and at the public Committee Hearings held in 2005, the government went ahead with its ill-advised ‘breed’ ban.
Organizations such as Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Canadian Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, Dog Legislation Council of Canada, United Kennel Club, Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, American Dog Owners Association, North American Flyball Association, Canadian Safety Council, Canadian Association of Pet Dog Trainers , Canadian Association of Dog Judges, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK), among others were against the ban.
To this day, the government insists that three pure breeds of dog are dangerous and that any dog that vaguely looks like them is dangerous, even though all the facts, scientific evidence and bite statistics prove them wrong.
The real losers in this instance are not only the people who paid to see Cesar Millan and his righthand dog Junior perform but also the thousands of Ontario dog owners who have a garden-variety mutt that might be mistaken for one of Dalton McGuinty’s “pit bulls”.
It’s time to end the insanity and repeal the amendments to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (2005) before more innocent owners and their pets are hurt.
Cheri DiNovo, MPP Parkdale - High Park
and The Dog Legislation
Council of Canada