This Major Canadian City Just Banned Pit Bulls and Now People Are Fighting Back

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Source: Montreal Gazette

Source: Montreal Gazette

Pit bulls often get a bad rap when it comes to being deemed overly aggressive and violent. Now, a major Canadian city has decided to ban them and citizens in the city, even the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), are stepping in to stop what they call discrimination against the animal and their owners.

On Tuesday, the city council in Montreal passed a bylaw by a vote of 37-23 that is “intended to phase out pit-bull-type dogs on city territory by prohibiting their acquisition and requiring current owners to apply for a special permit before December 31, 2016 to keep such dogs,” according to the Montreal Gazette.

The Gazette said the breeds included in the bylaw are “American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American pit bull terriers, as well as any mixed breed dogs that have a part of those breeds and dogs with similar physical characteristics.”

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But after the measure passed the city council, the Montreal SPCA filed a lawsuit against the city in Quebec Superior Court saying provisions in the bill are illegal and unconstitutional.

Source: Montreal Gazette/John Kenney

Source: Montreal Gazette/John Kenney

“The provisions are discriminatory in that they create additional and punitive obligations for owners or guardians of pit-bull-type dogs whereas this category also includes dogs that are not dangerous,” said Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy for the Montreal SPCA.

“The argument is that there are serious legal issues with the bylaw, there is serious prejudice (and) harm that will occur and that it’s irreparable,” Devine added.

Many fear the bylaw could lead to the unnecessary euthanasia of hundreds or even thousands of dogs.

According to the Gazette, the group’s lawsuit claims the bylaw does not clearly define the pit-bull-type dogs and therefore the SPCA, which provides contractual animal shelter services with nearly half of the city’s boroughs, doesn’t know which dogs fall into the category. Hence, the group may not be able to fulfill its duties.

The SPCA also notes the bylaw “fails to provide a means to allow the SPCA or a citizen to contest if the city designates a dog as a pit-bull-type dog,” according to the Gazette.

A hearing on whether to delay the bylaw going into effect was rescheduled for next Monday, October 3, the same day the law is scheduled to be implemented.

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