Animal Law Review

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Legislation that affects dogs also affects persons with disabilities to some extent. This link shows up in statutory definitions, is justified by social construction theory, and has been reified in case law. Thus, it is important to examine statutes like Ontario’s pit bull legislation in terms of their potential impact on persons with disabilities. Upon close examination, it appears that the legislation suffers from vague definitions, conflicting onus of proof, absence of fair process, and severe penalties, including imprisonment. Further, it contains no reference to dogs used by persons with disabilities. This means that there is potential for persons with disabilities to suffer negative consequences and a need to consider disability rights in dog-focused legislation.

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