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

Attendees of the Downtown Red Deer Market, which runs every Wednesday during the summer on Little Gaetz Avenue, have complained about the lack of public washrooms. (Photo contributed by Red Deer Downtown Business Association)
Portable washrooms to be set up in downtown Red Deer this summer

More data is needed before the city invests in a permanent structure

A survey of 3,083 Red Deer residents was done by an online platform on behalf of the City of Red Deer, generating about 11,607 comments.. (File photo)
Red Deerians speak out about COVID-19 concerns in survey

More than 3,000 city residents were surveyed

A Calgary energy company's request for a tax break was turned down by Lacombe County. About $31,000 was owed by a company that went bankrupt and Silverleaf Resources Inc. bought some of their assets.
(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe County turns down oil company’s tax break request

Silverleaf Resources Inc. hoped for break on $31,000 in back taxes

RCMP recovered hundreds of stolen items, including Bibles and historical items stolen from the Bowden Pioneer Museum.
(Photo from RCMP)
Museum artifacts among hundreds of stolen items recovered by RCMP in central Alberta

Second World War and other historical and religious items recovered

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his solo home run during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Monday, March 1, 2021, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) clears the puck in front of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) looks for the rebound during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Rugby training gear is shown during a Torotno Wolfpack during a practice at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London,  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) and centre Chris Tierney (71) get sandwiched between Flames defencemen Rasmus Andersson (4) and Juuso Valimaki (6) during second-period NHL action in Ottawa on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Team Canada's Jocelyne Larocque celebrates her goal past the U.S.A. with goaltender Embrace Maschmeyer during first period of Women's Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver on February 5, 2020. The Canadian women's hockey team opened a camp Monday in Halifax, which is co-hosting the upcoming world championship. Hockey Canada invited 35 players to participate in the seven-day camp closed to the public and media at Scotiabank Centre. The women are training under restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a limit of 25 players on the ice at one time. "They will continue to follow strict COVID-19 testing as per team health and safety protocols that have been detailed and approved by Nova Scotia Public Health," Hockey Canada said Monday in a statement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Most Read