Wednesday, March 23, 2016

OPEN LETTER TO YASIR NAQVI, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

To:  Minister of Community Safety and Corrections;

March 23, 2016.

Yasir Naqvi;

You recently received thousands of letters and emails as the Minister in charge of the portfolio who can help Ontario dogs.

Over the last decade you received a minimum of a hundred thousand plus letters and documented emails asking your government to remove breed specific language in the Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA) and help Ontario dogs.

Your government has seen numerous protests at Queens Park and received countless petitions and pleas over the past decade demanding an end to the discriminatory breed ban only Liberals voted for in 2005.  There has been bills put forth by different parties to end the breed ban. One bill passed 2nd reading and committee meetings but was not called for 3rd reading and lost months later due to prorogation.

Recently one newer petition with over 75,000 signatures again requested your government help Ontario dogs.

Another recent petition from entitled "Save The Chatham Dogs Seized From The OSPCA" is closing in on 40,000 signatures and every signature generated an email to the Premier, executives at the OSPCA and your office within the last month asking you, the Premier and the OSPCA to help Ontario dogs so we KNOW you are hearing us.

The breed ban has NOT decreased overall dog bites and has NOT improved public safety.  You are aware of those facts but still your government attempts to deceive the public by continuing to justify this ban?   You fully understand people and dogs are being unfairly stereotyped and profiled and this Minister is NOT acceptable.

Your government ignored expert testimony against the breed ban when former Attorney General Michael Bryant decided he wanted to ban certain dogs and ignored the 32 recommendations made from the Courtney Trempe inquest.

The now disgraced former attorney general Bryant (when he killed a man in a road rage incident) has admitted to being a active alcoholic during the time of the ban and stated the ban was 50% ego. Thus this blatantly discriminating legislation should be removed and instead the Calgary model, which experts advised your government to use, should be put in its place.

Yasir you have a rescue dog.  The type of dog you have is a dog type involved in the last four documented fatal dog attacks in Canada, and in fact been involved in more fatal dog attacks than any other type of dog in Canada.  Surely YOU must get responsible dog ownership is key to decreasing not only dog bites but also rare dog bite fatalities?

NOTE: If someone came into your home seized your well socialized non-offending dog because another dog who LOOKED similar had an incident, would YOU fight for your dog in court? 
How many court cases and how much money time and effort has been spent forcing innocent Ontarians to legally fight for their non-offending pets?  Surely YOU have "some" knowledge of this and hold "some" empathy for responsible Ontario dog owners who have found themselves caught in the horrific web of discrimination that is BSL.

Time and money wasted by animal services looking for certain types of dogs has NOT been effective and deflects from animal services protecting the public from truly reckless dog owners. Ontario NEEDS breed neutral legislation so irresponsible dog owners are held accountable no matter size, breed or type of dog an individual has.

 The 21 Chatham dogs OSPCA wants euthanized are VICTIMS of BSL.  The dogs did not choose to live a life of brutality. The assessments of OSPCA are questionable. The public wants the 21 dogs to be reassessed by outside third party professionals. Thousands of dollars have been donated to give these abused dogs a legal chance to be reassessed and a second chance for a decent life.  At the very least allow the dogs to go to a rescue sanctuary during the interim where they will receive tools needed for socialization and rehabilitation. Do not stand in the way of this being done.

You have said many times now there is nothing you, the Minister with portfolio, can do to help the dogs. THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE.  Under the Dog Owners Liability Act there ARE regulations that allow you to act. The sections are 20. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations respecting the control of pit bulls. 2005, c. 2, s, 1 (16) (e) designation bodies referred to as designated in this Act; The Lieutenant Governor in Council in de facto is YOU as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

You have also stated numerous times your government does not have legislative or regulatory authority to do anything about the OSPCA. The link below shows the press conference in 2012 for a bill your government voted down that would give oversight of the OSPCA.  Yasir was it not your government who gave a CHARITY police powers, with NO oversight, and then voted down oversight in 2012 but still YOU use no oversight for inaction to this day? Combine this mess with OSPCA being exempt from the freedom of information act and no wonder people of Ontario are up in arms.

Minister Naqvi;  WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE for your government to acknowledge Ontario's breed specific legislation has NOT worked and punishing good dogs and responsible dog owners is NOT unacceptable? The good people of Ontario want fair, just and reasonable legislation for both themselves AND their animals.


Fran Coughlin
Advocate for Responsible Dog Ownership
Activist Against Breed Specific Legislation

PS: BTW the form letter your government puts out year after year when pleas are made for better animal laws and to end the breed ban, has not changed in over a decade.   People are fed up with receiving the same old outdated messages again and again.