Montreal Passes Controversial Law to Ban Pit Bulls and Similar Breeds
In the wake of the controversial Pit Bull ban, the city of Montreal is set to appeal the suspension. According to Canada's Global News, "The City of Montreal is fighting to have its dangerous dog ban reinstated, after a Superior Court judge ruled in favour of the Montreal SPCA last week. In his ruling, Justice Louis Gouin said the bylaw was unclear and the city needs to define exactly what a pit bull is.The city filed papers in court Wednesday, asking for permission to appeal the suspension of the pit bull-related clauses of the animal control bylaw." However, the city and officials are still at odds as, "Mayor Denis Coderre said he believed that suspending the bylaw put people and risk and vowed to appeal the decision."
In news that shocked dog lovers around the world, Montreal has passed a law that will ban Pit Bulls and "Pit Bull type dogs," including Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, as well as any of these breed mixes or "any dog that presents characteristics of one of those breeds." The law is set to go into effect on October 3.
According to the Washington Post, in response to a woman's mauling death by a Pit Bull, the Montreal city council responded by putting a ban on so-called "dangerous breeds."
"It will be illegal for anyone to adopt or otherwise acquire a new Pit Bull in the city. If the Pit Bulls are not grandfathered in, they face euthanasia."
Additionally, any citizen who already owns a Pit Bull or any of the other "at-risk" breeds on the list, they must purchase a permit in order to keep their pet, as well as vaccinate, sterilize and microchip the dog." Current Pit Bull owners will have until the end of the year to file for and get the permit. The new law also says owners need to muzzle their Pits in public, keeping them on a leash no longer than four feet. There are an estimated 7,000 Pit Bull owners in Montreal.
The CBC reports that Montreal's mayor Denis Coderre stated, "I am working for all Montrealers...and I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe."
This measures put in place have outraged Pit bull Parents and activists in Montreal, and actions are already being taken. In addition to a Change.org petition to reverse the ban, the Montreal SPCA "urgently filed a lawsuit against the city" for a multitude of reasons. In a statement on its website, the Montreal SPCA said the ban is: "Unreasonable in that they treat all 'Pit bull type dogs' as dangerous dogs in spite of the fact that there exists no credible evidence to the effect that dogs belonging to this arbitrary category are inherently dangerous."
"We are angered by the actions of Montreal's elected officials and their lack of willingness to listen to their constituents and any of the countless, valid reports and facts presented to them," Liz Morales of Wicca's K-9 Justice Foundation in Quebec tells petMD. "Breed bans do not work and we have the benefit of being able to look at places that have enacted such bans and have not had any success with them. Families will be ripped apart, innocent lives will be lost, and none of these things were addressed. Instead we are left with a vague law and many shell shocked citizens."
A statement from CAA Rescue reads: "As citizens of Montreal, we are enraged by the decision of our elected officials to enact legislation that goes against science and against recommendations made by many experts. As a rescue group, we are heartbroken and extremely fearful for the future. Banning pit bull type dogs in Montreal means we will no longer be able to take into our care any dogs with big heads and other suspected pit bull-like features; we will have to actually turn dogs in need away, which goes against everything we believe in. It also means that many dogs currently in shelters will be subsequently killed.
CAA Rescue explains on its website that animal lovers wishing to help can sign the various petitions asking the mayor to reverse his decision. The group also recommends that individuals provide donations of time or funds to groups like The Freedom Drivers, who are working to transport Pit-type dogs in shelters out of the province to safer locations. In addition, donations can also be made to the Montreal SPCA.
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