Late last month, Montreal’s city council passed legislation which will make it illegal to own a new pit bull within the city’s boundaries as of October 3, 2016. The new law requires the current owners of pit bulls to muzzle their dogs when they take them out in public, even if their pets have no history of biting or aggressive behavior. The law passed the city council by a vote of 37-23.
The breed specific legislation comes in the wake of a woman being attacked by her neighbor’s dog in her own backyard three months ago. The adult female died as a result of her injuries. A pit bull was blamed for the woman’s death even though police still have not received the results of the animal’s DNA results which will reveal the dog’s actual breed.
Supporters of the breed specific legislation claim it puts the safety of humans over the well-being of dogs. Opponents of the new law say it could lead to the destruction of thousands of innocent dogs, including puppies. Opponents also claim that other municipalities that have passed similar legislation in the past have ended up repealing their breed specific laws.
Under Montreal’s newly passed, discriminatory law, all dog and cat owners living in the city will have to get licenses for their animals. Current owners of pit bulls, pit bull-type dogs, pit bull mixes, and any dog that shares characteristics with pit bulls have until the end of this year to get a special permit to retain their pets. If a current owner of a dog targeted by Montreal’s new law fails to get a special permit for his or her family pet by December 31, 2016, the individual’s dog might be euthanized.
The Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals estimates that almost one-third of the canines it takes in each year could be negatively impacted by Montreal’s new law. This means that the organization may have to stop accepting strays. Fortunately, the non-profit has already filed a lawsuit against the city of Montreal to force the municipality to repeal its discriminatory law.
Online petitions have sprung up in protest of Montreal’s breed specific legislation, including this one on Change.org. Let Montreal’s city council members know what you think of its discriminatory law by signing at least one of these petitions today.