A new pit bull ban in Montreal gives the government authority to capture and put to sleep dogs who haven’t been permitted by December 31. The new pit bull ban goes into effect on October 3 and was passed with a 37-23 vote earlier this week, according to People Magazine on Thursday. Pet owners in Montreal are upset by the new pit bull ban that states buying or adopting a “pit bull-type” dog will be illegal as of Monday.
The Montreal Gazette noted that passing of the ban on pit bulls didn’t come without a lot of protests and “impassioned debate” before members of the council voted in favor of imposing “strict and costly” regulations on current pit bull owners. The ban that was passed on Tuesday also makes new ownership of pit bulls and “pit bull-type” dogs illegal in the Canadian city of Montreal, located in the Quebec province.
Pit bulls and other “pit bull-type” dogs, including American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and American Staffordshire terriers, who are currently housed in a Montreal dog shelter, and don’t find new homes by October 3, just days from now, could be put to sleep. Adoptive parents of pit bulls and current pit bull owners who don’t follow the measures outlined by the new pit bull ban could also find their pit bulls captured and put to sleep on or after January 1, 2017, as shared on Montreal’s frequently asked questions page regarding the new pit bull ban.
“If you have not applied for a permit by December 31, 2016 (see Obtain your permit section), your dog will be prohibited within city limits and could be captured and put to sleep.”
The Best Friends Animal Society, an American non-profit organization focused on stopping the killing of pets in animal shelters, is calling Montreal’s new pit bull ban a “misguided breed discriminatory law” that gives the government permission to kill pit bulls using taxpayer dollars. Montreal’s new animal control bylaw also prohibits owners of pit bulls who currently live in another municipality from moving within city limits with their pit bulls after October 3. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says that the new pit bull ban was passed to protect all Montreal residents and to ensure they feel secure from “at-risk” or “dangerous” animals.
“The new bylaw is meant to ensure residents’ safety and peace and quiet, as well as cleanliness of public property.”
“At-risk” animals are defined as animals who have bitten someone or have shown other aggressive behavior, and “dangerous” animals are animals that have already killed a human or have been designated as “dangerous” by an expert. Coderre explains that pit bulls have been responsible for just under 40 percent of dog bites reported in Montreal over the last 21 months. The new pit bull ban comes after a woman was fatally attacked by a pit bull a few months ago at her home in Montreal’s east end.
The Washington Post reports that 55-year-old Christiane Vadnais was mauled to death in June by what officers described as a pit bull. Shortly afterwards, Vadnais’ brother, Serge, demanded that Quebec ban all dangerous dog breeds. In fact, the new pit bull ban wasn’t even supposed to come to a vote until 2018, but was moved up after Vadnais was killed by an alleged pit bull, even though DNA from the dog has yet to come back to confirm that claim. Any pit bulls, “pit bull-type” breeds, and mixed pit bull breeds not grandfathered into the new pit bull ban will reportedly face euthanasia after December 31.
People Magazine reports that some “Montrealers” are outraged by the new pit bull ban, saying that the ban will only cause larger problems down the line, including endangering dog breeds and lessening an owner’s responsibility for any issues that do occur. Animal rights advocates, as well as legal experts worldwide, are saying that Montreal’s new pit bull ban will be expensive to enforce and violates the rights of responsible pit bull owners. Senior Legislative Attorney for Best Friends Animal Society, Ledy VanKavage, says the new pit bull ban actually focuses on the wrong thing.
“The focus should be on the behavior of the dog and the behavior of the owner. Innocent pets shouldn’t be killed for being born the wrong breed. Responsible pet owners who follow the right safety rules should be able to own whatever of breed of dog they choose.”
A 2014 review of dog bite studies by the American Veterinary Medical Association shows that breed is a poor predictor of dog bites, and that studies have shown no increased risk of dog bites from pit bulls. But widely reported pit bull attacks by the media has led to passing breed specific legislation globally, similar to Montreal’s new pit bull ban. Mayor Coderre told the CBC that “no matter what, if your dog is dangerous, we will be able to act accordingly,” including euthanasia and adding other “dangerous” dog breeds to the new pit bull ban.
Pit bull owners in Montreal who want to keep their pit bulls after the new pit bull ban goes into effect on October 3 will have to muzzle their dogs when they leave the house, and keep their pit bulls on a maximum 1.25 meter leash. All guardians of pit bulls and “pit bull-type” dogs will also be required to apply for a special permit by December 31. Failure to comply with all obligations outlined by the new pit bull ban in Montreal could result in pit bulls being kicked out of the city or captured and put to sleep come January 1, 2017, a move that’s being called “draconian” by the Best Friends Animal Society.
A report published on The Dodo explains how people can help the victims of Montreal’s pit bull ban. The Montreal SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is also asking the Quebec Superior Court to review the new pit bull ban, “in hopes of having it declared illegal.”
[Featured Image by photographer Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]