pit bull type

Montreal council moves forward with first step of pit bull bylaw

Montreal’s city council has taken the first step toward passing a controversial new bylaw on dog ownership, voting in favour of city-wide regulation on animal control Tuesday night.

All boroughs will have to comply with the proposed bylaw, should it come into effect in September.

The new rule, which would set strict guidelines around owning pit bull-type dogs, was drafted in reaction to the June death of Christiane Vadnais, a 55-year-old woman who was mauled to death in the backyard of her east-end home.

The municipality defended its position by explaining many studies have demonstrated the dangers associated with this particular breed of dog.

The vote passed with a margin of 38 to 25.

Far from unanimous 

The interim leader of Projet Montréal, Luc Ferrandez, said Vadnais’s death might have been prevented if the existing regulations had been enforced. He also stressed the boroughs have no money or inspectors to fight against dangerous dogs.

The proposed bylaw would prohibit:

- Dangerous dogs;

- Pit bull-type dogs and other dangerous breeds, if their owners don’t have a special permit;

- Unsterilized dogs, and dogs without microchips starting Dec. 31, 2019.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has said it focuses more on responsible ownership than banning dogs outright.

An independent councillor in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, Lorraine Pagé, said tensions on both sides of the pit bull debate run high, and the city’s proposed bylaw alienates them both.

“Those against a bylaw tell us we don’t understand these animals and that we’re being insensitive. And those who are for a bylaw also tell us we’re insensitive and we don’t understand the pain of people who are afraid of dogs or children who are attacked,” she said.

Council is expected to hold an information session before the vote to pass the bylaw.

Please, PLEASE go to this account and sign the petition in the bio. It is a petition against the law Mayor Coderre is trying to pass that bans pit bull type dogs in Montreal on August 22. THIS IS NOT OKAY. These sweet, inherently good dogs and their loving families deserve justice and EQUALITY. All dogs deserve love and acceptance. Do not judge a dog or ANYONE by the way they look. WE HAVE TO BE THEIR VOICE.

What you need to know about Montreal's proposed dog bylaw

Montreal has unveiled its proposed new animal control bylaw to address the issue of dangerous dogs.

Not all boroughs in the City of Montreal had adopted the existing bylaw, passed in 2012. Some had adopted a modified version.

The new bylaw will apply to all 19 boroughs and is expected to come into effect Sept. 26.

If you own a dog and live in Montreal, here’s what you should know:

Who is affected by this bylaw?

The bylaw affects everyone who owns a dog and lives in one of Montreal’s 19 boroughs.

It targets pit bulls but also creates two categories of dogs of any breed:

- At risk. 

- Dangerous.

It also creates new rules for dog owners regarding licences and leash length.

What qualifies as a pit bull?

The city will define pit-bull type dogs 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.

What is an at-risk dog?

- A dog that tries to bite or attack.

- A dog that has bitten or attacked.

- A dog that exhibits behaviour that could compromise a person or another animal’s safety.

What happens if a dog is deemed at risk?

The owner of a dog that bites someone has 72 hours to advise the city. The dog will have to be muzzled in public until further notice.

What is a dangerous dog?

- A dog that kills a person or animal.

- An at-risk dog deemed to be dangerous by a “competent authority.”

What happens to dangerous dogs?

A euthanasia order will be issued for any dog deemed to be dangerous.

Are only ‘dangerous dogs' susceptible to euthanasia orders?

No. Dogs that have bitten someone may be forced to undergo an evaluation. If the evaluator deems the dog to be dangerous, they may issue a euthanasia order.

Also, pit bulls protected by special permits but whose owners don’t adhere to the conditions may also euthanized.

Wait. What are these special permits?

Those who already live in Montreal and own pit bulls will have to get a special permit in order to keep their dog.

Here’s how to get one:

- Be 18 years old or older and make a request before Dec. 31, 2016.

- Present a document proving you do not have a criminal record.

- Prove you have spayed or neutered the dog and that it has its rabies shots.

- Present proof you live in Montreal and that you owned the dog before the bylaw came into effect.

Here’s what you must do once you have one:

- Keep your dog muzzled when it’s outside your house.

- Keep it on a leash that is a maximum of a metre long, unless you’re in a dog park or an enclosure surrounded by a fence at least two metres in height.

- Make sure it’s watched at all times by someone 18 or older.

- Make sure it wears the medallion issued by the city to prove proving it’s duly registered.

If you don’t have a permit, or if you have the permit but fail to follow the rules, a euthanasia order could be issued for your pit bull. 

What else is there in this bylaw?

The city is trying to encourage responsible pet ownership, including ensuring that pet owners register their cats and dogs.

In that vein, the bylaw include some more general provisions:

- Permits for cats and dogs are obligatory and are valid in all 19 boroughs.

- Limiting the number of cats and dogs that can be owned per home: two dogs, four animals in total. (A special permit will be available for those who want to have three dogs.)

- All dogs must be on leashes a maximum of 1.85 metres long in public.

- Dogs that weigh 20 kilograms or more must wear halters or harnesses in public.

- All dogs must be microchipped and spayed or neutered by Dec. 31, 2019.

Are there exemptions?

When it comes to spaying and neutering dogs, the bylaw allows exemptions for:

- Dogs that can’t be spayed or neutered (must provide written note from a veterinarian).

- Dogs that have breeder permits.

What about the punishment?

The proposed bylaw is vague, but it says the minimum fines will be increased to $300 and the maximum will be increased to between $500 and $750 for a first offence, when the infraction is related to public safety (such as bites or leash length) or if the owner provides the city with false information.