Montreal just passed a law banning pit bull-type dogs from its city, unless owners follow strict rules. For those in shelters, without a home, the breed-specific legislation is sadly a death sentence.
Yesterday afternoon during a heated council meeting, legislators voted 37 to 23 in favor of the law.
“I have a responsibility as the mayor of Montreal to protect the citizens,” Mayor Denis Coderre told reporters after the vote.
Owners will now be required to pay $150 to hold a special permit, their dogs must be sterilized, vaccinated and microchipped. When in public, they must be muzzled and on a 4-foot leash. Defining which dog is under this new law is going to be a challenge. According to Montreal, a pit-bull type dog is an American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and any dog who has characteristics resembling these dogs. (How this is defined is unknown.)
For those low-income households, the new requirements may force them to give up their beloved dog, as they can’t afford some of the conditions.
Also, under the ban, pit bull-type dogs in shelters are unable to be adopted from Montreal shelters to residents, meaning they will be euthanized. According to reports the Montreal SPCA takes in about 2,000 dogs a year, with about 700 being pit bulls. While some pit bulls have been pulled from the shelter and brought in by rescues, many more remain.
The SPCA is refusing to euthanize these dogs and said it will cancel its contract with the city with regards to dogs (will still care for other animals). Others are also expressing their disdain for the ordinance.
“I, professionally, morally, ethically am not required to euthanize those animals,” Karen Joy Goldenberg, a veterinarian at a local animal hospital, told CBC News.
Other huge, reputable groups have also condemned breed-specific laws, including the American Bar Association, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the United Kennel Club, and the American Kennel Club.
The law was passed after several dog attacks occurred in the city. It came to a head this past June when a woman was killed by a dog in her backyard. (It is yet to be determined if the dog was indeed one of the now-banned breeds.)
Despite breed-specific regulation being proved to be ineffective is reducing dog bites, Quebec is also mulling a similar ban.