On December 1 the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the Superior Court’s suspension of the sections of the City of Montreal’s by-law targeting “pit bull type dogs,” while rendering a stay in relation to several concessions made by the City during the appeal hearings .
The lifting of the suspension order means that many of the by-law’s provisions targeting “pit bull type dogs” will come into force, including those prohibiting the adoption of these dogs in Montreal and requiring them to be muzzled.
Montreal initiated a pit bull ban that was to go into effect October 3, 2016, following a dog attack that claimed the life of a Montreal woman, Christiane Vadnais. However, only days later, the ban was suspended by Quebec Superior Court Judge Louis Gouin. The judge rattled off a series of queries before lawyers even began their arguments, beginning with, “How is ‘pit bull’ even defined?”
However, the Court of Appeal is holding the City of Montreal to the concessions it made during the appeal hearings. Importantly, the City of Montreal cannot issue euthanasia orders based on breed or physical appearance, prohibit someone from reclaiming their lost dog based on breed or physical appearance, and must allow all dogs to continue to be adopted to families residing outside of Montreal.
This state of compromise is to be maintained until the hearing on the merits, at which time the Superior Court will consider the legality of the provisions of the by-law targeting “pit bull type dogs”. The dates for this hearing have not yet been finalized, but the Montreal SPCA is eager to set a date for trial.
“The Montreal SPCA will continue its efforts to fight the discriminatory and punitive provisions of the City of Montreal’s by-law targeting ‘pit bull type dogs’ and to promote evidence-based solutions that actually reduce the risk and severity of dog bites.
“Though the fight is not over, we are extremely disappointed by today’s decision and particularly preoccupied by not being able to continue finding adoptive homes in Montreal for all of our healthy and behaviourally-sound dogs, regardless of their physical appearance,” states Me Alanna Devine, director of Animal Advocacy of the Montreal SPCA. “The Montreal SPCA has, at the core of its mission, the protection of all animals, regardless of species or breed. Not being able find homes for healthy, adoptable and behaviourally-sound dogs and puppies goes against the very essence of what our organization stands for and we will therefore be communicating shortly with our municipal partners to review our existing animal services contracts.”
http://Pet expert Steve Dale says pit bulls have the best smileThe Montreal SPCA is very grateful for the support it has received, both locally and internationally. Together, we will continue our fight to protect innocent dogs in Montréal.”
In related news, it was announced that the owner of a dog that brutally killed a Montreal woman in June will not be facing any charges. The prosecutor, in a general sense, has to have evidence that the owner of the dog acted in an irresponsible way, was negligent – and that was no found be the case.
Yet – despite that ruling, on the very same day, the ruling that pit bulls can be descriminated against in Montreal, or best put – dogs called pit bulls.
Many many problems with breed bans. First, there’s no way to determine what you are banning. Montreal is banning a phenotype, or a general look, rather than a breed, per se. Dogs genetically tested that look like pit bulls are almost always just mixed breed dogs who have a certain profile.
There’s no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that notion that dogs with this certain profile are any more dangerous that other dogs of specific breeds or mixes.
The entire point of the ban in Montreal and wherever there is a ban is presumably to enhance public safety, and lessen dog bite numbers. But according to a study conducted by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, co-authored by myself and Sagi Denenberg, DVM, DACVB, Dip. ECAWBM, MACVSc (Behaviour), breed bans have not done a thing to enhance public safety. Denenberg coincidentally lived in Canada when this paper was published in 2014.
However, as happens, this issue turned political. And Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre dug in his heels, and publicly said he wouldn’t be bullied by those vocal opponents of the ban, worldwide. “We will not yield to threats nor interest groups,” said Coderre. “We reconfirm our intention to ban pit bull type dogs from Montréal… We will not compromise when it comes to the safety of our fellow Montrealers.”
More to come, I’m sure.