It was not even a pit bull that attacked the lady, it was a boxer and now all pit bulls must die for it. This is such bull, the world has gone nuts, lets ban everything for our safety. Dogo Argentinos are included in the ban and they will die right along with all the pit bulls even though they do not have one common ancestor and were breed to not be aggressive. There are bad apples in every bunch but they are burning down the whole orchard over this. In life you can never be ...completely safe and I'm sick of the politicians banning things for our safety. The same politicians who could care less and turn a blind eye to, poison in our food, mercury in our vaccines, GMOs that are wiping out our bees, and a million other things that are killing us. Sorry but I find it hard to believe they care at all what happens to any of us and this is just another form of control!
Nearly three months after a brutal dog attack that claimed the life of a Montreal woman, the city has passed its contentious pit bull ban.
"My duty as mayor of Montreal is making sure I am working for all Montrealers," said Denis Coderre. "And I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe."
The bylaw vote was supposed to take place Monday, but was pushed to Tuesday due to a busy agenda.
The city announced that the new rules, including the ban on new ownership of pit bull or pit bull-type dogs, will go into effect across all 19 Montreal boroughs starting Oct. 3.
Members of Opposition Projet Montréal questioned whether the Coderre administration would be able to enforce the new rules.
"This is going to create a bigger problem than a solution," said Coun. Sterling Downey.
Attack leads to action
Supporters argue the new regulations give priority to human safety over dog safety and that pit bull bans in other jurisdictions decreased the number of severe dog bites.
"A Montreal woman died because someone didn't have control of their dog," said Anie Samson, the city executive committee member in charge of the animal file.
The city had originally intended to update its legislation concerning dangerous dogs by 2018, but plans were accelerated following the mauling death of 55-year-old Christiane Vadnais.
The dog that attacked her was initially identified as a pit bull, but police now say they are still waiting for DNA test results.
Court challenge planned
The announcement has led a Montreal-based coalition, composed of lawyers and experts in animal behaviour opposed to the ban, to say it will move forward with its plan to launch a court challenge.
"I think it would be a shame if people allowed Montreal to get away with this," lawyer Julius Grey told CBC Montreal's Homerun.
"This is very serious. It's not an object, it's not the right to seize a car — it's a right to take a member of your family and that should not permitted."
Animal rights advocates were also quick to pan the bylaw, pointing out that many cities that have implemented similar legislation have since repealed it.
"We are extremely disappointed with the council's decision to adopt archaic bylaws that are proven to be ineffective," Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, said in a statement.
Demianowicz said the new law would kill "innocent dogs without any improvement in public safety."
The Montreal SPCA said in a statement it was "disappointed, but not surprised."
"If the city of Montreal truly wanted to ensure public safety, it would not have forced a rushed adoption of controversial legislation which is unfair, unenforceable, and, most importantly, ineffective," the animal protection agency said.
The bylaw comes as the Quebec government prepares to introduce legislation of its own. Public Safety Minister Martin Coiteux said the province wouldn't interfere with municipalities that choose to impose stricter rules.
"What's important is that we come up with common standards for the area that make sense, that will actually ensure safety for all. If some towns want to go farther, then I don't see why the Quebec government should stop them," Coiteux said.
What's a pit bull?
The new bylaw will apply to all 19 boroughs and will define pit bulls as:
- Staffordshire bull terriers.
- American pit bull terriers.
- American Staffordshire terriers.
- Any mix with these breeds.
- Any dog that presents characteristics of one of those breeds.
Those who now own a dog of those breeds and already live in Montreal will have to acquire a special permit in order to keep their pet by Dec. 31, 2016.
The bylaw also creates two categories of dogs of all breeds: at-risk and dangerous. At-risk dogs are those that exhibit aggressive behaviour, such as biting someone. Dangerous dogs are those that have killed someone or are deemed dangerous by an expert.
"No matter what, if your dog is dangerous, we will be able to act accordingly," Coderre said.
An amendment to the bylaw made Tuesday morning aimed to address concerns that a pit bull would be automatically euthanized when its owner dies. The changes allow the pit bull's licence to be transferred to another person who was living at the same address, a direct family member or a spouse.