TORONTO – Actress Stephanie Lemelin is speaking out against Ontario’s seven-year-old ban on pit bulls.
Lemelin, who is in Toronto filming the comedy pilot Satisfaction opposite Luke Macfarlane, calls the Dog Owners’ Liability Act discriminatory and heartbreaking.
“It makes me feel heavy all over,” said the actress in a message posted on her blog. “I can’t believe it’s even possible.”
Lemelin, 33, said if Satisfaction is picked up as a series, she and husband A.J. Draven might not be able to move to Toronto with their beloved pit bulls Bruce and Stan.
“We would be required to get a special permit, pay for special insurance and – get this – our dogs would have to be muzzled outside the home AT ALL TIMES or they could be taken away from us and KILLED.”
Lemelin said “it really hurts” to know that her dogs are not welcome in Ontario. “While I am intensely against [breed discriminatory legislation] in general, I have never felt it hit so close to home, and it really hurts.”
Ontario law has prohibited owning a pit bull since 2005, although animals born in the province or owned by residents prior to the ban are exempt.
Lemelin, who said her dogs have never harmed anyone, blames ignorance and hysteria for the ban. “It blows my mind,” she wrote.
The star, who has appeared on shows like 90210 and Brothers and Sisters, has a guest role on the November 26 episode of Bones, airing on Global.
Lemelin is the daughter of retired NHL goalie Réjean Lemelin and holds both Canadian and American citizenship. She is a board member of Angel City Pit Bulls, a Los Angeles-based group committed to pit bull rescues and advocacy.