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OVMA Position Statements August 2017

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OVMA 420 Bronte Street South, Suite 205, Milton, Ontario L9T 0H9 T. 905.875.0756 or 1.800.670.1702 (toll-free) F. 905.875.0958 or 1.877.482.5941 (toll-free) OVMA Position Statement – Vicious Dogs OVMA does not advocate legislation naming specific breeds of dogs as being vicious. OVMA encourages and supports responsible genetic selection, rearing and training of dogs to control aggression. Addressing dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs is a challenge for municipalities. It is often difficult to determine whether a dog may be dangerous until it has bitten or attacked a person or animal. Municipalities should consider adopting legislation aimed at reducing the likelihood of harmful situations occurring. It is important for municipalities to keep in mind that dangerous dogs are generally the result of irresponsible ownership. Dogs can become a threat if they are not properly socialized and trained, if they are mistreated or if they are deliberately bred and raised or encouraged to attack people or animals. First, it must be established exactly what constitutes a dangerous dog. The criteria should not be breed specific as this only discriminates against certain breeds, instead of evaluating individual dogs by their behaviour. Suggested criteria for identifying dangerous dogs include: a dog that has killed a person or domestic animal, regardless of the circumstances; a dog that has bitten or injured a person or domestic animal. Exceptions may be made if the dog was teased, abused, assaulted or if the dog was reacting to a person trespassing on the property owned by the dog's owner; a dog that has shown the disposition or tendency to be threatening or aggressive; or an attack trained dog (other than dogs used in law enforcement). Municipalities should require that dangerous dogs either be euthanized in the interests of public safety, or that their owners meet specific requirements for the humane care of such dogs, that will ensure public safety. Penalties should be established for owners who do not comply with the requirements. Dangerous dogs should be licensed and spayed or neutered as this may reduce aggressive tendencies and will prevent the owners from profiting from the sale of offspring that are also likely to be dangerous. These dogs should be muzzled and leashed when off the owner's property and strictly confined when on the owner's property. If an owner is unwilling or unable to meet these requirements, euthanasia should be imposed. (i) Licensing

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