New Blue Jay vowing to fight Ontario's pit bull ban
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Mark Buehrle throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (AP / Alex Brandon)
Published Friday, November 30, 2012 2:02PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 2, 2012 10:10AM EST
Moving is never easy, especially when you have two kids and four dogs -- and especially when that move will take you from sunny Florida to the big Canadian city of Toronto.
But newly-acquired Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle is facing a dilemma with his upcoming move: what to do with his beloved pit bull terrier.
Buehrle, who was acquired by the Jays earlier this month in a 12-player trade with the Miami Marlins, owns three vizslas as well as a pit bull, named Slater, whom he rescued from an animal shelter. But thanks to a seven-year-old Ontario law, Buehrle can’t keep that dog and now has to decide whether to give him up.
Buehrle says he and his wife Jamie -- also an avid dog lover -- are exploring their options to get things “resolved.”
“I think it is going to be an obstacle,” Buehrle told reporters Thursday during a telephone conference call. “We’re looking at everything, every option we have right now.
“We're trying to work and do what we can do to try to get things resolved. But as of right now, I don't know exactly what we're doing,” he added.
The 33-year-old left-hander faced a similar problem just over a year ago, when he was traded to the Marlins after 12 seasons with the Chicago White Sox. It turns out that Miami-Dade County, where the Marlins play, bans pit bulls, too.
Buehrle and his wife soon started a petition to have the “breed-discriminatory law” in Miami-Dade repealed. But the bid failed, and Buehrle’s family was forced to settle in nearby Boward County, about an hour away.
This time it won’t be so easy to work around the problem. The closest province, Quebec, is a full five-hour drive away. And while New York State might be closer, living there would still mean a two-hour, cross-border commute.
Buehrle says he and Jamie are already turning their attention to the pit bull laws in Ontario, calling for the repeal of the still-controversial Dog Owner’s Liability Act.
Buehrle suggested Thursday that he had already made contact with advocacy groups in Ontario, and said they planned to work together to overturn the province-wide ban.
“Obviously I don’t agree with the ban -- the same thing in Miami. I think it’s a discriminatory law,” Buehrle told reporters. “Just because the way a dog looks, I don’t feel like that dog should be banned from some place just because of the way it looks.”
He added: “We are big spokesmen of it and we’re trying to do what we can do to try to help other people out.”
Since Ontario passed the Dog Owner’s Liability Act, pit bull advocates have never stopped their campaign to repeal it.
Toronto NDP MPP Cheri Di Novo -- who has been leading the political fight against the ban -- helped bring in Bill 16, a private member’s bill that would have had the law repealed. Though the bill passed second reading in the legislature, it was denied by the governing Liberals.
Di Nono says as soon as the legislature resumes, she will retable the bill.
Buehrle, meanwhile, says that his dogs are good dogs, and if anything, he’s the mean one in his family.
“I kind of joke around with my wife saying that they probably shouldn’t let me into the country before they don’t let my dogs,” he said. “They’re so loving and so awesome.”
A pit bull is pictured in this file photo from Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012.