Numerous groups in Chatham, Ont., court today seeking to save 21 pit bulls

The owners of 21 alleged fighting dogs believe they have found a solution to save the animals from a potential death sentence.

The owners of 21 alleged fighting dogs believe they have found a solution to save the animals from a potential death sentence.

Ken Marley, who represents three people accused of running a dogfighting ring near Chatham, Ont., said his clients have agreed in principle to transfer ownership of the dogs to a rescue organization north of Toronto.

“As an interim measure at least, my clients would prefer to see the dogs saved and adopted as opposed to being put down,” Marley said.

Several lawyers representing three animal rights and rescue organizations attended court Thursday in Chatham, Ont., in an effort to intervene in an application by the Ontario Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals to destroy 21 dogs it seized from an alleged dogfighting ring last October.

The court appearance was put over to March 18, and that is only to set another date to hear the society’s application. Elizabeth Quinto, who represents Bullies in Need, has already filed a motion to intervene with the court.

The OSPCA seized 31 dogs on Oct. 15, 2015, and has already euthanized three of them for medical reasons. The society had members of the American SPCA evaluate the dogs behaviourally and they concluded that 21 of them, all deemed pit bulls, are a menace to society and cannot be rehabilitated.

While the dogs are currently in the OSPCA’s custody at an undisclosed location somewhere in Ontario, Dog Tales is hoping the new ownership will allow them to work with the animals at its opulent sanctuary in King City, Ont., which is owned by one of Canada’s richest families.

“At Dog Tales we are fortunate enough to have the facilities and the resources to provide for our dogs in ways that many other shelters cannot,” owner Danielle Eden said in an email.

“We are prepared to take full responsibility for these dogs, including veterinary care and unconditional love, all at no cost to the OSPCA. There’s no catch here, just a simple, straightforward solution that would save 21 lives.”

Dog Tales and Animal Justice say they will now try to intervene at the appearance next week.

Because the dogs have been deemed pit bulls by the OSPCA, there is an added complication because pit bulls are banned in the province. Only a pound can take in pit bull-type dogs and Dog Tales is not a pound.

Lawyer John Nunziata said the sanctuary is applying to the local municipality in an effort to get that designation.

Brian Shiller, who represents the OSPCA, said it doesn’t matter who owns the dogs.

“When a dog is bred to fight, it’s very dangerous to have them out there,” Shiller said.

“What if the OSPCA acquiesces and says they can all be rehabilitated and then one dog goes to a family and rips into a five-year-old? We can’t take that risk.”

The dogs’ plight made its way to the Ontario legislature on Wednesday, with Rick Nicholls, the MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex, demanding the province step in to save the dogs.

Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi, whose department provides about $5 million annually to the OSPCA, said the government cannot do anything.

“The government does not have any authority to tell the OSPCA what to do or what not to do,” Naqvi said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canadian officials say more coronavirus cases expected but risk ‘remains low’

The first Canadian patient diagnosed with coronavirus began showing signs of illness… Continue reading

Human remains found in burned Alberta hotel after ice thaws enough to permit search

WETASKIWIN, Alta. — Police in Alberta say that after a week of… Continue reading

Tumour on Edmonton woman’s liver was rare parasite, not cancer

EDMONTON — Cassidy Armstrong says she washes her hands, cleans her vegetables… Continue reading

Man who flew to Toronto from China is Canada’s first coronavirus case

TORONTO — A man in his 50s who travelled to Toronto from… Continue reading

WATCH: Songwriters discuss what makes a great country tune, creative process

Alberta Country Music Awards Songwriters Showcase was held in Red Deer Saturday

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 1 A Jump Rope Competition will be held at the Abbey… Continue reading

Virus death toll in China rises as US prepares evacuation

BEIJING — A new viral illness being watched with a wary eye… Continue reading

Alberta open to extending Feb. 28 deadline for high-tech panel report

EDMONTON — Alberta’s economic development minister says she is open to extending… Continue reading

‘Supersites’ in Iqaluit, Whitehorse to improve Arctic weather forecasting

Weather matters in the Arctic like it does in few other places,… Continue reading

Canadian Forces sending plane and crew to help fight Australia’s fires

OTTAWA — Canada is sending a military transport plane and about 15… Continue reading

‘There are many degrees of hate’: Quebec blogger takes on far right

MONTREAL — Far-right group La Meute was once seen as a growing… Continue reading

Metis leaders raise concerns about national council, call for reform

OTTAWA — The regional Metis presidents of Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan are… Continue reading

Weersink and Kings shutout top-ranked NAIT Ooks

Queens hockey also knock off Olds College Broncos

Most Read