Montreal

Lawyer works to spare life of dog that injured 4 children in Montreal North

Daniel Goldwater admits that the dog that injured four children in Montreal North last August is dangerous, but he says that shouldn't mean an automatic death sentence.

The dog is slated to be euthanized now that the police investigation is over

The dog has been housed by the SPCA ever since the Aug. 20 incident where it bit and injured four children. (Submitted to Radio-Canada by Sylvain Proulx)

Montreal lawyer Daniel Goldwater admits that the dog that injured four children in Montreal North last August is dangerous, but he says that shouldn't mean an automatic death sentence.

Ever since the incident, the dog has been kept by the SPCA while Montreal police conducted its investigation into what happened.

Goldwater is trying to put the borough of Montreal North's euthanasia order on hold, arguing that the dog be evaluated by a veterinarian and be sent to a refuge for dangerous dogs in New York State.

"The security of our community comes first. This dog did bite some children, and I take that very seriously. My view on the matter is if I can make sure that our community stays safe and that this animal, this dog can have a second chance, then I feel I'm doing something good."

Montreal lawyer Daniel Goldwater is trying to keep the dog from being euthanized so it can be taken to a refuge in New York State. (CBC)

The original incident

According to a police report obtained by Radio-Canada, on Aug. 20, a 62-year-old woman had taken the dog in, intending to transfer it to the SPCA.

The dog's owner had advised the woman that the animal had to wear a muzzle 24 hours a day, because the dog had already bitten another dog in a park.

While the woman was caring for four children, the dog freed itself from the muzzle and bit one of the children, a four-year-old girl, on the back of her head.

The borough of Montreal North was ready to move on putting the dog down shortly after the incident this past summer, but had to wait until the police finished their investigation. (Radio-Canada)

The woman left the apartment in Montreal North with the child to go to hospital, leaving the other three children alone in the house with the dog trapped between two doors in the home's entrance.

Then the dog got loose and attacked two of the children, one of them a seven-year-old boy, according to the report. His arm was seriously injured.

In total, four children, the 62-year-old woman and a man who tried to intervene were injured during the incident.

What the law says

According to Montreal's new animal by-law, a dog that bites and lacerates more than one person must be put down. 

"Our laws have recently changed in Quebec. Legislators have spoken and now animals are no longer considered simple property. They're not like paper cup, like a table mat. They're property, but they have consciousness and they have biological needs," said Goldwater.

The city's new animal-control regulations replaced the old so-called pit bull ban, and puts the onus on dog owners to protect the public from their animals rather than targeting specific breeds.

While the police report  describes the dog as a "one-and-a-half-year-old pit bull that weighs 70 pounds," experts have not yet confirmed the exact breed.

Goldwater will present his case to freeze the borough's euthanasia order on Nov. 22.

With files from CBC's Navneet Pall.

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