Ford says pit bull ban not changing, expresses sympathy for boy bitten by dog

·2 min read

Ontario's pit bull ban isn't going to change at the moment, Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday as he expressed sympathy for a teen bitten by a dog whose case had earlier drawn his attention.

The dog, an American Bully named Dwaeji, was seized by Vaughan Animal Services a month ago on suspicion of being a pit bull and was released back to its owners last week.

The province eased regulations related to its pit bull ban that same day. The regulatory change allows seized dogs that look like pit bulls to be released while an investigation into their breed takes place.

Dwaeji's owner, Tommy Chang, had said Ford got personally invested in his dog's case. Chang said the premier told him he planned to repeal breed-specific legislation that bans pit bulls.

Last Friday, Dwaeji bit a 13-year-old boy, leaving him with facial injuries that required stitches.

Ford said Wednesday that his thoughts were with the boy who was bitten.

"Nothing is going to change right at this point," the premier said when asked about plans to repeal the pit bull ban. "Our thoughts are with the family."

The incident took place at a Toronto martial arts studio owned by Chang.

The boy who was bitten said he was taking taekwondo classes at the studio. He alleged he was challenged by Chang's son – a 20-year-old instructor at the studio – to overcome a fear of dogs before Dwaeji jumped up and bit him.

"I'm not feeling too good," said Muhammad Almutaz Alzghool. "I've been having nightmares."

Chang's lawyer denied that the teen was challenged to overcome a fear of dogs. He shared surveillance video of the incident that shows Almutaz Alzghool walking toward the dog and putting his hand out before the dog jumps up to his face.

"He approached the dog on his own and there was no pressure put on him," said lawyer Leo Kinahand, who also called the biting incident "tragic."

Toronto police confirmed a dog bite occurred last Friday, but referred questions to Toronto Animal Services, which has launched an investigation.

Muath Alzghool, the boy's father, said the dog should not have been in the studio. "I am not against dog owners, but I don't want any other kid to go through this," he said.

- with files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter and Noushin Ziafati.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2021.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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