Montreal pit bull ban suspended for now…below describes some of commotion and confusion.
Montreal has banned dogs called pit bulls. Apparently, if you own one now and live in Montreal, according to plan, you can continue to but need to adhere to rules (such as muzzling the dog). However, no more dogs called pits will be allowed. It’s unclear what will happen to the many pits languishing in shelters, but seems they will have to be shipped out fast or euthanized.
It all began because – as always, public officials offered a knee jerk response resulting from a dog attack. Same in this case. Nearly three months after a brutal dog attack that claimed the life of a Montreal woman,Christiane Vadnais,; the city has passed the ban which went into affect October 3 (Monday).
According to the Montreal Gazette, a hearing into whether Montreal’s pit bull ban must be suspended according Quebec Superior Court with the judge saying the law raises several troubling questions.
Questioning the clarity of the law that came into effect Monday, Judge Louis Gouin rattled off a series of queries that it posed for him before lawyers even began their arguments.
How does an owner know whether or not they have a pit bull-type dog? Gouin asked.
Wow – that is a simple, but incredibly intelligent question since most dogs called pits are, in fact, mixed breed dogs (according to several published studies).
And even more revealing, according to CBC news, the dog responsible for the horrible fatal attack was, in fact, perhaps not even a pit bull in the first place, but a Boxer or Boxer mix.
Even if the dog was a pit bull – or a dog with that look of a pit bull, the dog had reportedly previously twice attacked people. The problem is clearly this individual dog not an entire group of dogs who happen to share a certain look.
As for the idea of banning pit bulls, the judge asked, how do you clarify breed? What if the dog’s great-grandfather was 50 per cent pit bull, does that mean it is a pit bull type under the law? Dogs that have the same look as a pit bull are also under the ban. Does that mean you have to take a picture of it? The law says it must be muzzled at all times. Does this mean it has to eat with a muzzle? The law says city workers could enter a building to take a person’s dog.
And I ask more questions, if even a picture is taken – who is the ‘decider’ of what a dog really is. Will all dogs be tested genetically? And who would pay for it?
My biggest question of all is that according to a peer reviewed scientific document authored by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (which I co-authored with Sagi Denenberg, DVM, DACVB, Dip. ECAWBM, MACVSc (Behaviour), breed bans (such as the one proposed in Montreal) don’t work to enhance public safety. Often innocent dogs are euthanized, but do nothing to protect humans. So, if there’s evidence bans don’t work, why do it? Many cities have rescinded breed bans in recent years because they don’t achieve their intended purpose.
Here’s what does seem to work:
- Public education and children learning about dog bite prevention. Fact is, most bites happen to kids, and mostly by dogs they know in their own homes.
- Enforcing appropriate dangerous dog laws on the books – which was obviously not done here, since if reports are correct, this is the third time this dog has been allowed to attack someone.
The call for a ban has led a Montreal-based coalition, composed of lawyers and also experts in animal behavior opposed to the ban, to say it will move forward with its plan to launch a court challenge. Note the animal behavior experts, local ASPCA and veterinarians – those who know about dogs, were ignored. But they will apparently go to court, if need be.
So, here’s the deal with the new law – which it’s unclear, but was supposed to go into affect today. The law includes rules about registering cats (cats???? – that’s what’s being reported, though apparently small dogs are off the hook? And information on exactly how to register cats doesn’t seem clear, or why to register cats), and large dogs.
If Montreal residents wish to keep their current pit bull pets (whatever that means), they have until the end of 2016 to purchase a permit, which costs about $115 U.S.; the Montreal Gazette estimated this will impact owners of about 7,000 dogs.
Montreal’s owned pit bulls must be vaccinated, sterilized and microchipped. In public, owners need to muzzle their pits, keeping them on a leash no longer than four feet (leashes that short may actually be detrimental – but they didn’t obviously seek advise from those who know). Not sure what they vaccine requirement is specifically.
“My duty as mayor of Montreal is making sure I am working for all Montrealers,” said Denis Coderre, according to CBC. “And I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe.”
Earlier this month the SPCA threatened to back out of a contract with the city of Montreal to provide animal control services if the city passed a breed-specific bylaw. That threat came after the SPCA convinced Ste. Adele to remove its pit bull ban in order to have the SPCA provide animal control.
I want someone to tell me how this law makes the community safe?