Montreal’s Pit Bull Ban Is Now Going Into Effect, After Court Lifts Injunction

Photo credit: Flickr/Chris

For those who want to help: Until we know more, our best suggestion for now is to donate to the SPCA Montreal.

This group has been fighting — and continues to fight — the legal battle against Montreal’s pit bull regulations. In addition, we are told they have some dogs at their shelter, who will be affected — with donations, they can help get the dogs into other jurisdictions where they won’t be at risk due to breed-specific legislation.

We will update this piece as we get more information.

It’s a dark day for dogs and their people in Montreal. The city’s onerous restrictions on pit bulls, and dogs who look like pit bulls, are now going into effect, after the Quebec Court of Appeal lifted a lower court’s injunction on Thursday.

The temporary suspension was granted in early OctoberThe SPCA Montreal filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s new pit bull law, passed in late September.

Advocates hoped the suspension wouldn’t be quite so temporary — but that lawsuit is still proceeding. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Company, the suit is likely to be heard in early 2017.

The City of Montreal passed the wide-ranging and harsh regulations in late September after a woman was killed in a vicious dog attack.

Here are just a few of the law’s provisions: All pit bulls must be permitted, but no new permits for pit bulls or pit bull mixes may be granted as of Dec. 31. Permitted pit bulls must be kept on a short leash while outside, and muzzled at all times — even, it seemed according to the regulatory language, while they are inside their homes. And city workers may demand entry into residents’ home at any time to ensure compliance with the laws.

The laws affect an expansive array of canines, including Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, any dogs mixed with these breeds, and “any dog that presents characteristics of one of those breeds.”

One bit of relief; the CBC reports Montreal will not enforce some of the law’s harshest provisions, at this time:

The city has agreed not to euthanize any pit bull-type dogs, unless they are found to be dangerous or show signs of becoming dangerous, or if they are stray, sick or badly hurt.

Shelters will also be allowed to return lost pit bulls to their owners.

The city has also agreed that pit bulls can be put up for adoption if they are destined for homes outside of Montreal.

A new muzzle requirement for pit bulls will be applied. However, the city has clarified that pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs need only be muzzled when they are outdoors.

In a cruel bit of irony, it was announced earlier this week that no charges would be filed against the owner of the dog whose fatal attack spurred Montreal’s pit bull regulations. (Which, like other instances of so-called breed-specific legislation, are expected to be expensive and cruel to enforce, without improving public safety.)

The dog, named Lucifer — who was registered as a boxer — reportedly attacked two other times, before killing Christiane Vadnais.

The prosecutor’s office is said to have chosen not to charge Lucifer’s owner, due to a lack of evidence.

Please reach out at aringreenwood@gmail.com

Arin Greenwood

Arin Greenwood is an animal writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Previously, she was animal welfare editor at The Huffington Post. Arin is a former lawyer (J.D. from Columbia Law School, member of the New York Bar), life long animal lover, pit bull advocate, and devoted fan of cats and dogs who run for public office. Her first novel, Tropical Depression -- based on her five-odd, sometimes very odd, years living on a small island near Guam -- was published by teeny indie publisher Back Porch Books in 2011. Her second book, a comic young adult mystery called Save The Enemy, was published by Soho Teen in November 2013. Hello From Dog Island!, Arin's third book, will be published by Soho Teen in 2018. Know a shelter with a great, innovative program? Have another animal story to share? Get in touch at aringreenwood@gmail.com!

5 comments

  1. Samantha perez says:

    Next it will be Sheperds, then rottweilers, labs, retrievers, Akita, great Danes, etc. How can they pass a ban if their isn’t enough evidence to charge the owner? That should be enough legal evidence they need to disband the ban.

  2. Samantha perez says:

    Next it will be Sheperds, then rottweilers, labs, retrievers, Akita, great Danes, etc. How can they pass a ban if their isn’t enough evidence to charge the owner? That should be enough legalevidence they need to disbanded the ban.

  3. JERRY EDELMAN says:

    And I am concerned about ANY uneducated law being passed by UNEDUCATED POLITICIANS who have either no clue as to the real problems of IRRESPONSIBLE owners, or who refuse to want to solve it properly. These uneducated politicians have no business being elected to represent people when they have no clue and are NOT INTERESTED in finding real solutions to real problems. Innocent dogs, not matter what breed, should NOT be held responsible for actions that HUMANS have control over, That is simply IMMORAL

  4. Sherry Butler says:

    This whole situation is awful. I can’t believe the owner of the dog who killed the woman isn’t being charged. Lack of evidence? How is this possible? This tragedy has changed the fate of several breeds of dogs. If no charges, did it really happen? How can they impose this ban then? It’s insane.

  5. Christy Pepper says:

    While denying ownership or existence of a specific dog breed in itself is ridiculous without judging each dog on its own merit as vicious or not, but also as a citizen regarding this ban, I would be concerned with the part. “and city workers may demand entry into citizens’ homes (for compliance).”

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