Feb 11, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT
Picture this, you just got transferred to a new city for work. You have to uproot your family, sell your old place, find a new place to live, find new schools, doctors, gyms and all the other stresses that come along with an unexpected move. Now throw this into the mix; your beloved family dog/s are outlawed from your new destination city.
What do you do?
This is the conundrum former Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle is currently facing. Buehrle was just traded to Toronto, where DOLA (dog owners’ liability act) prohibits individuals from owning, breeding, transferring, importing or abandoning pit bulls. Buehrle and his family happen to own a pit bull named Slater, who they rescued from a shelter less than 24 hours before he was to be euthanized.
Slater is 2 years old, 65 lb American Staffordshire terrior, one of the many breeds of dog outlawed in Ontario under the DOLA amendments. These amendments also state that there are no exceptions made for tourists, people relocating, or even taking short visits to Ontario. It’s pretty cut & dry. If you have a pit bull or any kid of dog with physical resemblance to a pit bull, you’re not getting into Ontario without being fined and/or put into jail.
So the Buehrle’s basically had a couple options… The family could leave Slater in the US w/ family or someone they trust during the season and all live together in Toronto, they could live across the border in Niagra Falls or Buffalo, N.Y and Mark could commute about 90 minutes each way to Toronto (He commuted roughly 30 minutes each way when he played for the Marlins because Pit Bulls are outlawed in Miami as well), OR Mark could move to Toronto by himself and leave his family and dogs behind for the season.
The Buehrle’s made an interesting decision, one I’m not too sure many families would be okay with. Mark has stated that he’s moving to Toronto without his family while they stay behind in St. Louis (800 miles away), for their pit bull’s sake.
When asked why this decision was made, Mark’s wife Jamie explained that Slater is more than just a pet…
“A lot of people have said, ‘We’ll just keep Slater for you,’” “To me, that would be like if we moved somewhere that only allowed boys. I wouldn’t leave my daughter behind. Six or seven months is a lot of time. Slater would adjust. He’s real easygoing. But I don’t want him to bond with someone else. He’s our dog. That wasn’t really an option.”
I’m sure some pet lovers get this, and I think that’s sweet… but to me, voluntarily separating your family for your dogs’ sake doesn’t really seem like the best way to approach this situation… Mind you, we’re not talking Kansas, we’re talking Toronto, a place notoriously known as a party central for athletes looking to avoid the spotlight..
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