Montreal target of boycotts, petitions and celebrity takedowns over pit bull ban

Montreal's new pit bull ban is being condemned by animal-rights activists across North America, with petitions garnering thousands of signatures and celebrities voicing their concern. Others have threatened to boycott the city altogether.

Singer Cyndi Lauper calls ban 'sad day for Montreal'

Cyndi Lauper posted a message on her Facebook page voicing her opposition to Montreal's newly adopted pit bull ban. (Mark Humphrey/Associated Press)

Montreal's new pit bull ban is being condemned by animal-rights activists across North America, with petitions against the policy garnering thousands of signatures and celebrities voicing their concern. 

Others are threatening to boycott the city altogether until the ban is overturned.

"Make a commitment that you will not visit Montreal or contribute any money to their economy, until they repeal this ban," reads the text of a New York-based petition against the ban.

The petition has amassed more than 60,000 signatures.

"These are innocent dogs," Amy Calmann, the New York resident who started the petition, told CBC Montreal's Homerun. "They have done absolutely nothing and we want the mayor to understand how serious we are, that the U.S. is standing by Montreal."

"We are there to do whatever we can to help."

Another petition, supported by organizations across Canada, has collected more than 150,000 signatures.

"As long as you have breed-specific language in your laws, we will boycott the city of Montreal," that petition reads.

The controversy also has been highlighted by prominent U.S. publications. One widely shared article, published by Slate, carried the headline, "Montreal shouldn't ban pit bulls."  

On her Facebook page, American singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper argued the bylaw was unjust.

"Such a sad day for Montreal," she wrote.  

Demonstrators protest against the bylaw in Montreal earlier this week. The new rules have drawn the ire of activists across North America. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)
"This is unjust. It's not the dog, it's who is training and often mistreating them that should be banned. Thousands of shelter dogs now stand to be euthanized and also pulled out of their homes."

Another celebrity, actor Sophia Bush, said on Twitter that she was "devastated" by the bylaw.

Multiple Facebook pages, meanwhile, suggest boycotting Montreal until the city stops "canine profiling."

Lise Vadnais, the sister of Christiane Vadnais, who died following a dog attack three months ago, told Radio-Canada she has received hateful messages about the bylaw. 

The attack, which received widespread media coverage, has been frequently cited by politicians who support the bylaw.

The dog that attacked her was initially identified as a pit bull, but police now say they are still waiting for DNA test results.

Montreal city council voted 37-23 in favour of the new bylaw on Tuesday.

Odin, right, is learning to wear a muzzle, because he is part American Staffordshire terrier and considered a pit bull under the new bylaw. Other large dogs, 20 kilograms and heavier, will have to wear a halter or harness. (Stephanie Volpi)

The legislation includes a ban on new pit bull-type dogs starting next Monday. It also places restrictions on those currently in the city, including the requirement that they be sterilized and wear muzzles in public.

The Montreal SPCA is mounting a legal challenge against the city, arguing the sections of the bylaw that specifically target pit bull-type dogs are discriminatory and contrary to Quebec's animal welfare laws.

The Quebec government is also set to introduce legislation regarding the dogs.

with files from Canadian Press


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