On Tuesday, October 27th, I found myself reading the news that Montreal city council had voted in favour of a pitbull ban. “At last”, I thought to myself, “now maybe all the clubs I go to will finally play something other than Timber”!
While the Montreal city council did not actually ban Pitbull, the artist, they did vote to change their animal control bylaws, banning pitbull and pitbull-type dogs from new ownership. While this is a move that many city councillors as well as Montreal mayor Denis Coderre voted in favour of, it has also sparked international outrage and has been deemed highly questionable. For someone like myself who is a lover of all animals, reading the provisions of the new ban was absolutely heartbreaking. As of Monday, October 3rd, all pitbull owners will have to get a special permit to keep their dog by the end of this year. All other pitbulls that are currently tied up in shelters across all 19 boroughs of Montreal will be euthanized. This constitutes about a third of all dogs in city shelters.
Montreal may be on the wrong side of history in this case. In the province of Ontario, pitbulls have been banned for over 10 years, since 2005. However, in Toronto specifically, dog bites have been on the rise, even as the amount of legal pitbulls and pitbull-induced bites has gone down. Other cities, like Calgary, have advocated for greater education of dog owners and have avoided any sort of bans that were solely based on the breed of the dog, and they have seen much success with this system in place.
Many believe that Montreal didn’t exactly have the best judgement when it came to passing this bylaw.
The SPCA has stated a threat to end their dog control services in Montreal in the wake of this ban, and, what’s more, the Quebec’s Order of Veterinarians has stated that the members have the right to refuse to euthanize the pitbulls that are currently in shelters, and are willing to exercise this right when the time comes.
In my opinion, one of the absolute worst things about this ban is the fact that it is being justified by using somewhat circumstantial evidence. In June, 55-year old Christiane Vadnais was attacked and killed by a dog, which was thought to be a pitbull. This was actually unconfirmed, as police identified the dog as a pitbull; however, the owner stated that it was, in fact, a boxer (as did the documents for the dog itself). Because of what was most likely a mistake on the part of the police, hundreds of dogs in Montreal are being sentenced to death.
If you agree that the ban on pitbulls is immoral and unfair, here are some things you can do:
- Sign a petition to Mayor Denis Coderre, telling him that your Montreal includes all dogs
- Email city officials
- Help the SPCA find homes for the remaining shelter dogs
Sources obtained from: