Montreal SPCA to end dog control services in protest of pit bull bylaw

The Montreal SPCA is eliminating dog control from the nine boroughs it serves because of the Coderre administration's restrictions on pit bulls.

'This is something that we are forced to do,' says SPCA spokesperson Anita Kapuscinska

The borough contracts come to an end on March 31, 2017, the same day owners of pit bull-type dogs are required to get a special permit. (Good Bones Dog Rescue)

The Montreal SPCA is eliminating dog control from the nine boroughs it serves because of the Coderre administration's restrictions on pit bulls.

In a statement Thursday, the animal-welfare organization said borough officials were made aware in September that if the city adopted breed-specific legislation it would be forced to take action.

The change goes into effect March 31, 2017 — the same day Montreal owners of pit bull-type dogs are required to get a special permit.

"This is something that we are forced to do," said SPCA spokesperson Anita Kapuscinska, arguing that Montreal's breed-specific regulations targeting pit bulls are discriminatory and unreasonable. 

"We can't be expected to have our staff euthanizing behaviourally sound and healthy animals, simply because of their looks."

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a suspension of the pit bull sections of controversial new animal control bylaw earlier this month.

The controversial bylaw bans all new pit bulls, as well as dogs with similar characteristics, from city territory.

The law also places strict rules on current owners of pit bull-type dogs when walking the animals or keeping them outside the home.

The nine boroughs affected are Ahunstic-Cartierville, Anjou, Lachine, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Montreal North, Côte-des-Neiges, Rosement, the Southwest and Verdun.

Plateau-Mont-Royal borough councillor Christine Gosselin said the borough supports the SPCA's decision. (CBC)

Boroughs left with 90 days to find solution 

Plateau-Mont-Royal borough councillor Christine Gosselin, who is a member of opposition party Projet Montréal, said she doesn't blame the SPCA for this decision. Instead she points the finger at Mayor Denis Coderre for engineering the bylaw.

"It's entirely predictable negative fallout from the initial misguided decision to ban pit bulls," she said. 

Gosselin added that the SPCA is a "wonderful animal service provider," but that the nine boroughs affected "are left in a lurch."

"We have 90 days to figure it out," she said. "We're going to look very hard at other options."

In a statement, Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie spokeswoman Marie-Claude Perreault wrote that the borough has already stated that it is reaching out the SPCA after hearing the announcement.

with files from CBC's Jaela Bernstien and The Canadian Press

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