Deal reached to save 18 alleged Ontario fighting dogs from death row – Windsor

Eighteen alleged fighting dogs that were facing a potential death sentence in Ontario will be sent to the U.S. for rehabilitation after a months-long negotiation to save their lives.

A Chatham, Ont., court has ordered three people accused of running a dogfighting ring to surrender ownership of the banned pit bulls to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has been holding the animals since seizing them in October 2015.

The court further ordered the OSPCA — which had applied to destroy the dogs — to send the animals to a special facility called Dogs Playing for Life in Florida.

The Crown attorney, the OSPCA and the dogs’ three owners reached an agreement on a solution for the dogs in court last Thursday, lawyers for those involved said.

Battle began after 31 pit bulls seized in 2015

Dog Tales, an opulent dog rescue and horse sanctuary north of Toronto, played a crucial role in the negotiations by pledging to pay for the care and transport of the dogs. It is expected to announce details of the agreement regarding the animals Tuesday morning.

“I am super excited — it has been a long battle and I’m very happy that these dogs are getting this chance,” said Rob Scheinberg, who owns Dog Tales along with his wife.

Scheinberg said he fought hard for the dogs because he owned a pit bull for 17 years and is against Ontario’s breed-specific legislation that bans them.

It has been a lengthy legal journey for the dogs.

In the fall of 2015, police and OSPCA agents raided a compound in Tilbury, Ont., and seized 31 dogs — all pit bulls. The raid led to charges against four people and later a fifth, much of them weapons and animal cruelty charges, along with provincial charges for owning pit bulls.

Chatham-Kent police and Ontario SPCA seized 40 ‘fighting dogs’ and firearms from this home in Fletcher, Ont. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

During that raid, officials came across a grim scene in a building at the back of the property,…

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