Montreal pit bulls have lost again.
After the passing of breed specific legislation (BSL) laws in September, the Montreal SPCA spear-headed a suspension of the laws, citing that they were too vague in wording, discriminatory to the dog-owning public and would lead to the euthanasia of behaviorally sound animals.
The Montreal Court of Appeal overturned the majority of the suspension on Friday, Dec. 2, citing that the laws were largely put in place for public safety and therefore could not be suspended.
What this means:
- All pit bulls or “pit bull-type dogs” must wear muzzles outside
- All pit bulls or”pit bull-type dogs”must be on a 4″ leash or less outside
- All pit bulls or “pit bull-type dogs” must wear harnesses outside
- All pit bulls or “pit bull-type dogs” must have a special registration
What this does not mean (but could in the near future):
- All pit bulls or “pit bull-type dogs” will be euthanized once they enter the sheltering system
Professional dog trainers recognize that dog bites are a serious issue facing communities across North America, especially in major urban areas where dog populations tend to be higher.
However, breed-specific legislation has been proven to be ineffective in controlling the amount of dog bites sustained to the public. In fact, many municipalities across North America are repealing their BSL laws as they are beginning to understand the negative impacts it’s causing in their communities.
And contrary to popular belief, the majority of dog bites and attacks occur within families or close friends and know the dog who has attacked them. These bites and attacks are largely contributed to a lack of education in canine behavior and a lack of supervision of children around dogs.
The ban put in place in Montreal specifically targets the American Staffordshire terrier, the American pit bull terrier, and the Staffordshire bull terrier, any dog containing any mix of any one of those breeds or any dog that looks like it may physically contain breed characteristics of anyone of those breeds.
Science has repeatedly proven that you cannot designate a mixed breed dog as a specific breed based on how a dog looks. DNA testing is the only true way to determine the true genetic makeup of a dog.
If the suspension is fully repealed, this ban will result in the euthanasia of behaviorally sound animals completely suitable for family living. Families who are unable to comply with the restrictions required by the new ban, for financial or resource reasons, will not only lose a part of their family due to these new laws, but will have to live knowing that their family pet was euthanized based solely on how he looked and not on his actions.
Rather than imposing a band which will take up community time and resources it would be better to allocate that funding towards low-cost spay/neuter, low-cost annual medical care for pets and low-cost dog training for owners.
What can you do to help?
Take a look at this article, Here’s How You Can Help the Victims of Montreal’s Pit Bull Ban, for suggestions and ideas of how you can make a difference right now in Montreal.
Consider making donations to local rescues, such as All Breed Rescue Vermont, who have already begun moving dogs out of the city and to Vermont.