Montreal council moves forward with first step of pit bull bylaw
Opposition for bylaw, which would ban pit bull ownership without a permit, says existing regulations enough
Montreal's city council has taken the first step toward passing a controversial new bylaw on dog ownership, voting in favour of city-wide regulation on animal control Tuesday night.
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All boroughs will have to comply with the proposed bylaw, should it come into effect in September.
The new rule, which would set strict guidelines around owning pit bull-type dogs, was drafted in reaction to the June death of Christiane Vadnais, a 55-year-old woman who was mauled to death in the backyard of her east-end home.
The municipality defended its position by explaining many studies have demonstrated the dangers associated with this particular breed of dog.
The vote passed with a margin of 38 to 25.
Far from unanimous
The interim leader of Projet Montréal, Luc Ferrandez, said Vadnais's death might have been prevented if the existing regulations had been enforced. He also stressed the boroughs have no money or inspectors to fight against dangerous dogs.
The proposed bylaw would prohibit:
- Dangerous dogs;
- Pit bull-type dogs and other dangerous breeds, if their owners don't have a special permit;
- Unsterilized dogs, and dogs without microchips starting Dec. 31, 2019.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has said it focuses more on responsible ownership than banning dogs outright.
An independent councillor in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, Lorraine Pagé, said tensions on both sides of the pit bull debate run high, and the city's proposed bylaw alienates them both.
"Those against a bylaw tell us we don't understand these animals and that we're being insensitive. And those who are for a bylaw also tell us we're insensitive and we don't understand the pain of people who are afraid of dogs or children who are attacked," she said.
Council is expected to hold an information session before the vote to pass the bylaw.