Local Humane Society launches adoption program for ‘banned’ pitbull pup

Aurora, a 1-year-old, three-legged pit bull mix, was recently handed over to the Humane Society of London & Middlesex as she has been deemed a prohibited breed under BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). She must be adopted by someone outside of Ontario. Andrea Fleury /

Despite Ontario outlining more prohibited dog breeds under the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), the Humane Society of London & Middlesex (HSLM) is sticking to their mission and piloting a new adoption process for a recently surrendered pup.

Aurora, a 1-year-old, three-legged pit bull mix, was handed over to the shelter amid the province’s 17-year-long legislation to ban her breed and toughen penalties for owners of deemed “dangerous dogs.”

Read more: Canadian animal shelters facing ‘perfect storm’ as more pets are being surrendered

The regulation specifically outlaws Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and American pit bull terriers.

Additionally, any dog “that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those” dogs are also banned, according to the legislation that took effect in 2005 following a series reported attacks.

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“Aurora is a beautiful dog and very, very friendly,” said Steve Ryall, executive director of the HSLM. “She is one special girl.”

Aurora, a 1-year-old, three legged pitbull mix recently surrendered to the Humane Society London & Middlesex (HSLM). Andrea Fleury /

Officials with HSLM said that historically, when a prohibited dog breed is surrendered to their shelter, it is transferred to another shelter or rescue in a province where the BSL is not in place.

But Ryall said many of these facilities are at capacity and have “lengthy wait times” regarding an uptake in “pandemic pets.”

Read more: More ‘pandemic pets’ are ending up in shelters. Is there a fix? Experts weigh in

“We’ve been in a situation with over 200 animals now for quite some time,” Ryall said. “But we are now seeing a backup of applications that someone has to fill out to surrender and so we’re also at capacity and there’s over 50 animals on that list I think as of Friday.

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Click to play video: 'How Canadians can help animal shelter struggling with capacity'
How Canadians can help animal shelter struggling with capacity

“The cost to ownership is expensive,” he continued. “We do not turn our back on animals, so we’re taking what we can and helping wherever we can with the animals in the shelter, in our foster program, and in special situations like this with Aurora.”

In Aurora’s case, the HSLM launched a new pilot adoption process where they work with potential adopters outside of the province, rather than going through other shelters dealing with similar backlogs.

“This project had a really good response with communities, and we hope that this message obviously spread as far as it could to find her a home,” Ryall said.

But Aroura’s forever home might be around the corner in Quebec, Ryall explained. He said this is something that the shelter is very excited to hear.

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“Hopefully we’ve found her that perfect home,” he said. “I think this also just lets people know [about] the situation of the BSL and the problems that it causes, and the work that the Humane Society London & Middlesex are willing to do to find a home for an animal.”

Ryall added that this experience with Aurora and the pilot program worked very well “internally and logistically,” and that this is something the shelter would definitely consider doing again in the future.

“The community really supported it and so I think we found another option,” he said. “If we can keep adding more and more of those options to find homes for animals, that we’re going to keep trying those positive things.”


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