Individuals who owned a pit bull prior to August 29, 2005 are able to keep them provided they comply with the requirements set out in the amendments and regulations of the Dog Owners' Liability Act. Pit bulls kept legally after the ban are to be known as "grandfathered" or restricted pit bulls.
Provincial Dog Owners' Liability Act
On August 29, 2005 the, Dog Owners' Liability Act, which restricts Pit Bulls, came into effect.
A Pit Bull is defined in the Act as follows:
- A pit bull terrier
- A Staffordshire bull terrier
- An American Staffordshire terrier
- An American pit bull terrier
- A dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those of dogs referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d)
Requires all owners of restricted/grandfathered pit bulls as defined within the Dog Owners' Liability Act:
- To have their Pit Bulls spayed or neutered;
- That Pit Bulls are leashed and muzzled while in public places; and
- Those owners of a Pit Bull comply with any additional requirements set by municipalities.
For more requirements read the following information from the Ministry of the Attorney General regarding Grandfathered/Restricted Pit Bulls - Owners' Responsibilities.
Pit bulls born after 2005 are prohibited pit bulls, and cannot be licensed by the Municipality, as they are illegal to own in Ontario.
Provincial Penalty Provisions
Provincial penalty provisions allow for jail sentences of up to six months for individuals who own dangerous dogs that bite, attack or pose a threat.