Lawyers for the Dog Tales rescue and horse sanctuary are asking for temporary permission under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act to house and rehabilitate 21 pit bulls set to be euthanized by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on March 10.
According to OSPCA Inspector Brad Dewar, the euthanization of the dogs, rescued last October from an alleged dog fighting ring in Tilbury, Ont., is based on the recommendation of two veterinarians who say the animals have irreconcilable behavioral issues.
“Ultimately this is the most humane course and is in the interest of public safety,” he told the Canadian Press.
But according to Clare Forndran of Dog Tales, a rescue shelter outside of King City, the dogs can be rehabilitated.
“We’re not naive here,” she says. “It’s going to take some time. It make take a year, it may take a number of years. We just think they deserve a chance.”
Forndran says Dog Tales’ trainers have experience working with fighting dogs, and have a history of taking in “the worst of the worst” when it comes to troubled animals.
“Every breed has its own challenges,” she says. “People are so quick to blame the dogs. But it’s the people who have trained these dogs a certain way that are to blame, not the dogs.”
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Dewar said on Sunday that it’s unlikely the dogs will be allowed to go to a shelter. Although the dogs are in the society’s care, they are still the property of the owners, so either the dogs are destroyed if the court agrees with its application, or they remain with the OSPCA.
“We have no legal authority to move those dogs out of our care, they have to remain there, unless the decision by the court is to have them humanely euthanized,” Dewar said, adding that the dogs are currently being housed at an undisclosed location.
Unlike many protesters who lined the road outside the OSPCA in Newmarket, Ont., Forndran does not blame the organization for the decision to destroy the dogs.
“We want to work with them,” she says. “We think they did a tremendous thing in rescuing these dogs. We just want to continue what they started.”
She says the rescue will work closely with OSPCA members, including daily check-ins and final approval of any adoptions.
Dog Tales is a privately-funded 50-acre facility “literally down the street” from the Newmarket OSPCA that is focused on rehabilitating and adopting abused and neglected animals. They boast finding permanent homes for over 350 rescued dogs from all over the world.
“We think these dogs deserve the chance,” Forndran says. “And we’re willing to take responsibility to help them.”