Alberta dog rescue group says province could become 'mecca' for Montreal pit bulls

Montreal shelters have been ringing up Alberta rescues, hoping to find safe haven for their unwanted pit bulls.

‘Because we don’t have silly bans here,’ says Underdogs Rescue president

Alberta dog rescue groups are preparing for an influx of pit bulls from Montreal, which is banning the breed as of Oct. 3. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Montreal shelters have been ringing up Alberta rescues, hoping to find safe haven for their unwanted pit bulls.

Since the city announced that it will ban the breed, an Edmonton-based group dedicated to finding homes for pit bulls and pit bull mixes dogs has been flooded with requests.

"Alberta is just one of those places that seems to be sort of a mecca where everyone wants to come and send their dogs," said Jade Graham, president of Underdogs Rescue.

"Because we don't have silly bans here. We go on a case by case basis … every dog is an individual. I think that's why they want to send their dogs out here," Graham told the Calgary Eyeopener on Friday.

'All dogs will be treated the same'

Grand Prairie is the only city in Alberta where pit bulls are restricted.

Several other municipalities, including Calgary, Edmonton and Brooks, have crafted bylaws that put the onus on pet owners, not breeds, for bad behaviour.

"All the dogs will be treated the same and an aggressive dog is an aggressive dog," Calgary's chief bylaw officer, Alvin Murray, told the CBC.

Under the city's responsible pet ownership bylaw, owners can be fined up to $1,500 if their dog chases, attacks, bites or injures a person or animal. If the incident is severe enough, the owner will be sent to court where a judge will review the evidence and decide if the dog should be put down or deemed a "vicious animal."

In the latter situation, the dog must be leashed and muzzled any time it goes outside.

A spokesperson said the City of Calgary is "in the process of determining what, if any, effect the recent banning of pit bulls in Montreal will have on our city."

Alberta rescues prepare for influx of pit bulls

"There's a bit of a panic going on right now," said Graham, who said her rescue can't possibly meet the 50-plus requests she's received from Montreal to ship pit bulls out west.

"We're not equipped for that, at all, financially or with foster homes. And I mean, to be honest, I don't know many who are. That's a large amount of dogs to bring in at once."

President of Alberta's Underdogs Rescue, Jade Graham, says the province could become a 'mecca' for pit bulls. (A.N.H. Photo)

Graham figures her rescue can take in one or two pit bulls right now, but not until after they've undergone extensive temperament testing by a dog trainer.

"We would not knowingly bring in a dog that was human aggressive ... we would not bring that dog into our rescue and then adopt that dog out into the community."

Alberta dog rescue agencies are preparing for an influx of pit bulls from Montreal as that city prepares to pass a ban on the breed. We talk to the head of an Edmonton-based rescue group about the forthcoming ban. 7:57

Calgary-based Pawsitive Match Rescue Foundation said it's been in talks with several Montreal rescues and the Edmonton Humane Society has put a call-out on its Facebook page, asking animal welfare agencies to get in touch to "discuss dog transfer opportunities."

The Calgary Humane Society said it would only accept pit bulls from the Montreal SPCA, but  has not yet received any requests.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener


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