I’m not just a fan of cats; I also like birds — specifically, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Major League Baseball team for Canada’s most populous city. A few weeks ago, the Jays pulled off an impressive 12-man off-season trade with the Miami Marlins that included the acquisition of pitcher Mark Buehrle.
Unfortunately, if the Buehrle family makes the move north they might have to leave one of its members behind: their two-year-old pit bull terrer Slater, rescued from an animal shelter. (The Buehrles have three other dogs as well.) That’s because of the Dog Owner’s Liability Act, passed in Ontario seven years ago, which bans the new ownership of pit bulls and similar dogs in the province.
The law means that Slater won’t be allowed to make the move to Ontario with Buehrle and his family when the new baseball season starts, but that’s not the end of the story as far as the player is concerned. He has vowed to do whatever he can to find a way to have Slater living with his family when he starts playing with the Jays, and to fight to have breed-specific language in the Ontario law removed.
“I think it’s a discriminatory law,” Buehrle said Thursday via conference call with local media, adding that he and his wife Jamie have already made contact with advocacy groups in Ontario. “We are big spokesmen of it and we’re trying to do what we can do to try to help other people out.”
Buehrle and his family took up a similar fight in Florida when he was playing with the Miami Marlins last season, with his wife Jamie starting a Change.org petition to change similar breed-specific laws in Miami-Dade County. The family ended up living outside Miami-Dade in order to keep Slater.
Mark and Jamie Buehrle will have some allies in ther new team’s home city. Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament Cheri DiNovo was key in the creation of Bill 16, which would change the law. It’s not likely to be passed by the time Buerhle would start the playing season, but with Buehrle’s help it may go through.
Photo via Tails Magazine