Will Ontario’s pit bull ban prompt Mark Buehrle to spurn Jays?

One unexpected snafu in this week’s still-unofficial blockbuster trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins may be Ontario’s ban on pit bulls.

Mark Buehrle, one of the Jays’ key acquisitions in the proposed 12-player swap, is the proud owner of four rescue dogs, including Slater, an American Staffordshire terrier and one of the many dog breeds covered under the pit bull ban.

When the 33-year-old lefty signed with the Marlins last year, he and his wife Jamie chose to buy a house 80 kilometres north of Miami so they could live in a county that allowed pit bulls and keep Slater in the family.

As in Ontario, pit bull breeds are prohibited in Miami-Dade county.

Jamie Buehrle actually started a petition when they moved to Florida to try and get the county to change the law.

“When my husband, Mark, became the new pitcher for the Miami Marlins, we were excited to move our family down to Florida and join our team’s community,” the petition reads. “But then we found out our family wasn’t welcome in Miami-Dade County, because one of our rescued dogs, Slater, is a pit bull. We were lucky enough to be able to afford to buy a house outside of Miami-Dade County so we could keep Slater. Many families aren’t as fortunate, and they love their dogs just as much.”

Buehrle was also an outspoken critic of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who was convicted in 2007 of operating a dog-fighting ring.

“(Vick) had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt,” Buehrle told in 2009. “Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”

The trouble for Slater and the Buehrles is that pit bulls are banned across Ontario. The nearest haven for the breed would be across the U.S. border in Buffalo or Niagara Falls — a solid two-hour drive away.

The trade is being held up pending physicals for all the players, but once it is made official it will be interesting to see if Buehrle’s pet presents a new obstacle. He has not made any public statement since reports of the trade surfaced Tuesday night.

Ontario’s pitbull ban has been in place since 2005 and it prohibits the owning of any pit bulls, with exceptions for animals born in the province before the ban took effect, or owned by Ontario residents before the ban took effect.

Dogs covered by the ban include:

• pit bull terriers

• Staffordshire bull terriers

• American Staffordshire terriers

• American pit bull terriers

• As well as any dogs physically resembling the above-named breeds.

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