Montreal

Mayor Denis Coderre says his priority is to protect people, not dogs

Following the lifting of a temporary suspension on certain parts of Montreal's animal control that deals with pit bulls, Mayor Denis Coderre says it's not a personal victory — he's just doing his job.

Quebec Court of Appeal overturned decision by lower court to suspend parts of Montreal pit bull ban

Sunita Montgomery said she was surprised to learn about a pit bull ban her community. (CBC)

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he doesn't see the decision to lift a suspension on the pit bull restrictions of the city's controversial new animal control bylaw as a personal victory.

"My role is to protect the population," he said in an interview on CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"I know it's not unanimous, but I know one thing. We put together a regulation that was balanced."

That balance, he said, is letting people who already owned pit bulls keep them, but also ensuring Montreal citizens are protected by imposing stricter rules on dog owners.

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a decision Thursday by a lower court to suspend all the pit bull restrictions in the bylaw.

The new regulations were passed in October and spurred by the death of Christiane Vadnais during the summer.

Vadnais was attacked by a dog in her backyard. The dog is believed to have been a pit bull, although it is still unclear whether that is the case.

'We have to be rational'

Coderre said the bylaw is designed to regulate dogs as well as their owners.

As part of the new rules, owners of pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs will now have to get permits.

The city will also apply a new requirement for pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs to be muzzled when they are outdoors.

However, the city has agreed not to euthanize any pit bull-type dogs and shelters will also be allowed to return lost pit bulls to their owners, as long as they do not fall into the dangerous or at-risk dog categories.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says the city put together a 'balanced' regulation. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The Montreal SPCA, which launched a legal challenge of the bylaw, and the city have yet to set a court date to debate the merits of the bylaw's content.

While Coderre acknowledges dogs can be important to people, he said at the end of the day, dogs aren't his main concern.

"I understand that dogs can make a difference in your life, but when there's a situation, the priority is to prevent and to protect the people," he said. "We have to be rational here."

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