Montreal SPCA to challenge pit bull ban, now in effect, in court today

Montreal’s new animal control bylaw, often referred to as the pit bull ban, comes into effect today across all 19 boroughs.

Dog owners in violation of new bylaw could be ordered to have their dog put down

Izzy the pit bull was driven to Halifax by a volunteer over the weekend. Volunteers took pit bulls from Montreal to shelters in other provinces where they would be safe from the new bylaw. (Shaun Malley/CBC)

Montreal's new animal control bylaw, which includes a ban on pit bulls, comes into effect today across all 19 boroughs.

Under the new bylaw, pit bulls and pit bull-like dogs will need to be registered with the city by Dec. 31, 2016. The registration costs $150.

These dogs will also need to be muzzled at all times when they are outside and kept on a 1.25-metre leash.

Owners who violate these rules could have their dogs put down.

SPCA in court over bylaw

The SPCA is in Quebec Superior Court Monday to challenge the bylaw.

Some of the issues they have with it include its "vague and imprecise" definition of a "pit bull-type dog" and its lack of a means to challenge that classification.

A second court challenge is being planned by a Montreal-based coalition of lawyers and experts in animal behaviour.

Even if one of these legal challenges succeeds in seeing Montreal's new bylaw repealed, Quebec is still working on its own provincial legislation.

Premier Philippe Couillard said this summer that Quebec would "probably" follow Ontario's lead on legislation that bans pit bulls.

Pit bulls or pit bull-like dogs are now expected to be muzzled in public. (Radio-Canada)

Dog owners prepare

Some Montreal pit bull owners have been trying to prepare for today by getting their dogs used to wearing a muzzle.

Ana Iordachescu has been taking muzzling workshops with her dog, Jade.

Ana Iordachescu took a muzzle training workshop with her dog, Jade, over the weekend. (Shaun Malley/CBC)

She told CBC News she'd be depressed if the city took her dog away.

"She's my little baby. I see her every day, and I sleep with her every night," Iordachescu said. "I love her." 

Support for pit bulls from other provinces, U.S.

Dog lovers in other provinces have stepped up to show support for Montreal's pit bulls.

Offers have come from SaskatchewanAlbertaP.E.I. and elsewhere to take in dogs affected by the ban. 

Support for the embattled breed has crossed the border as well.

A New York-based pit bull advocacy group is protesting the bylaw with a petition: "Montreal Banned Pit Bulls, so We Ban Montreal!" The petition has collected more than 60,000 signatures.

Even celebrities such as Cyndi Lauper have spoken out against the ban. 

with files from CBC's Shaun Malley