There is growing pressure on the city of Montreal to set up a municipal pound, following reports of animal cruelty at a private facility used by several boroughs.

On Friday, opposition at city hall called on the mayor's office to create a public shelter for lost and abandoned animals, to better monitor their care.

The demands were made in the wake of a disturbing Radio-Canada documentary on Berger Blanc  that exposed problems with the private pound's euthanasia practices.

The documentary resonated beyond Canada, attracting attention from prominent animal rights activists such as Brigitte Bardot, who commented publicly on the report.

In Montreal, opposition leader Louise Harel demanded action from the city's executive council to counter the island's reputation as "animal abandonment champions."

Eight boroughs still use Berger Blanc for animal population control. Two boroughs cancelled their contracts after the Radio-Canada report went to air.

Villeray-St-Michel-Park-Extension borough mayor Anie Samson said stray pets are the city's responsibility, and their care should include basic education for pet owners.

Samson said she hasn't yet decided whether her borough will also cancel its contract with Berger Blanc.

Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay has warned that a public animal pound will cost more than outsourcing the services.

French actress Brigitte Bardot has written a letter to Tremblay, condemning the cruelty that animals endured at the private pound.

In a letter published on her website Friday, the 76-year-old actress says viewing a recent Radio-Canada report about the Berger Blanc pound was more than she could bear.