Temporary Reprieve Issued For Montreal Pitbulls
A controversial law banning the pit bull breed (as well as pit bull-type) was basically a death sentence for thousands of dogs and has been challenged by the Montreal SPCA. On the same day the law was to take effect, Montreal Justice Louis Gouin placed a stay on the ban in order to allow the courts to hear the SPCA’s challenge out. Tomorrow, Justice Gouin will decide whether or not to extend his decision to a longer period, allowing more rescue work to be done and animal advocate groups to gather what they need to prove this law is discriminatory and unwarranted.
That means that in the meantime, pits and pit bull-type dogs are able to be adopted and they are not required to be muzzled, as the council legislation mandated. Local and international rescue and animal-welfare groups are feverishly working to clear local shelters of any dog that may fit the loose description of ‘dangerous dog’ so as not to have mass euthanasia as is expected under the terms of the legislation.
Pit Bull pet parents are feeling persecuted and punished–worried that their dogs are not going to be able to live free and happy lives in their own yards. They feel the definitions of dangerous dogs are vague and dangerous for many dogs –dogs that have no definitive way to decipher breed, even with DNA. As a result, many are just adopting muzzles and registering their dogs in the meantime so that they fall within the guidelines, should they remain enforceable.
Another concern is that even the city attorney, Rene Cadieux, does not have definitive legal standards by which the city would go in assessing whether a dog was a pit bull or pit bull type, saying instead that common sense would be what will be used to apply the legislation terms, and that the criteria used would be whether or not a dog looked like, acted like or seemed like a pit bull or pit bull type. This is extremely concerning in that the dog accused of killing a local woman earlier this year was initially deemed a pit bull, though registration paperwork listed him as a boxer, and the DNA results have not concluded he was indeed a pit bull.
Calling it ‘Panic Policy-making,’ opposition councilman Sterling Downey disagrees with the blanket legislation, and disagrees with Mayor Denis Coderre who backed and still supports the bill, even though his earlier position was that breed restriction was overkill and not necessary.
And so, the world watches and waits to see what will happen…hoping that justice and common sense really DO prevail and innocent dogs are not penalized any further.
More by Lori Ennis