The ban of pitbulls in Ontario is a law that’s angered many dog lovers over the years.
Recently, a bill to repeal the ban made its way to Queen’s Park, and it has a two-time Stanley Cup champion and his wife hopeful it will be successful.
“She’s a Staffordshire Terrier, to most a pitbull,” said Amanda Bickell with the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation, referring to the couple’s dog, Bailey.
Now 14 years old, Bailey loves to rest, and besides napping, she likes short walks and digs on the beach.
“She was just the cutest thing and I was like, oh my god I really want her,” said Amanda
The Bickells saved Bailey when she was only five weeks old.
A short time later, the province implemented a ban on pit bulls.
“All of a sudden I went to enroll her in puppy classes and they were like she’s not allowed here,” said Amanda.
“I went to bring her to dog parks and they were like, ‘she’s not allowed here.’ She had to be muzzled anytime I brought her out of the house.”
“I can’t imagine what we would have to go through, getting her during the ban and then have to let her go,” said Bryan, Amanda’s husband and former NHL player.
Ever since the ban came into effect in Ontario in 2005, the Bickells have been trying to get it repealed, which led to the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation in an attempt to educate the public.
“We knew we needed to showcase these dogs in a positive light so that there just wasn’t negativity around them,” said Amanda.
“It’s not the dogs, there’s millions of different bites and attacks,” said Bryan. “These dogs just get in the spotlight because of the ban.
“You can train any dog to be loving and compassionate or you can train any dog to be aggressive and bite.”
A private members bill to repeal the pitbull ban has passed second reading at Queen’s Park but there’s still a long road ahead. The legislation still has to go through committee, which includes input from the public.
Ontario is the only province in Canada that has such a ban in place.
“It’s not fair just to blanket the whole breed,” said Danielle Johnson with the Humane Society of Durham Region.
Johnson says the ban’s been in place for too long and should be lifted.
“We believe that the focus should be put on responsible pet ownership, so we need to put that into it and really focus on that and that’s what’s going to make the biggest difference,” said Johnson.
As for the Bickells, they say Bailey has enriched their lives.
“She really does mean a whole lot to this family. I really don’t know who I would be as a person if I didn’t have her,” Amanda said.
“She’s shown me so much resilience and love and compassion. She brings so much joy to our children and she’s so kind and sweet and caring with them, I just don’t know … how life would be complete without her.”
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