Montreal Pit Bull Ban Suspended While SPCA Challenges Bylaw
We’ve been keeping you updated about the terrible legislation passed almost two weeks ago in Montreal–legislation that was not only a literal death sentence for hundreds of shelter dogs, but threatened the quality of life and security for thousands others.
We’re happy to tell you that a Superior Court judge ordered that legislation suspended while the Montreal SPCA continues fighting for the rights of pit bulls, and essentially, dog owners all over. Montreal SPCA attorney Sophie Gaillard joyfully announced that the fight was not over yet, and had a long way to go, but that the SPCA was very happy that the first step in protecting the pit bulls was one of victory. Gaillard said that this judgement would allow rescues everywhere to continue to find homes for all of the adoptable pits, who would NOT be adoptable under the council legislation, and would be a death sentence for many.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who originally did NOT favor breed restrictive legislation, but had a change of heart and firmly backed banning pit bulls and dogs that looked like pit bulls (wonder why????) clearly was aggravated with the stay, claiming that it was the city’s right to protect the citizens of its territory how it chose. (Sounds like sour grapes to us.)
The sensible judge who put the stay in effect, Justice Louis Gouin was concerned that the original legislation was simply too vague, and allowed for too much subjective interpretation without any consistent and reasonably based evidence that proved a dog dangerous simply because of breed. More, Gouin was concerned that there was not a clear way to define a pit bull, leading to a slippery slope when untrained officials ‘designated’ which dogs were pit bulls and which dogs were not. (I believe that’s we said!)
City legal representative Rene Cadieux basically said that the old adage of something looking like, walking like and sounding like a duck made it a duck scares MANY pet owners who fear that nonchalant attitude could not only tear families apart (because four-legged family members are FAMILY!), but mean the death of hundreds and hundreds of dogs who would be unadoptable without the stay.
Though for now there is justice and reprieve, and rescue groups and animal welfare advocates are fighting to ensure this justice is a permanent thing, Mayor Coderre has stuck his feet in the ground and is not budging (like he did originally when he did not think breed restrictive laws were the way to keep Montrealers safe from dog bites). The fight to protect pits still is on and needs your help! If you’d like to help, there are many ways you can. Check out the SPCA site to donate, or continue to help local rescues find homes for shelter pets. And please, sign the petition so your voice is heard, and city officials know what the people really want.
Justice and security for all.
More by Lori Ennis