Own a dog or a cat in Montreal? Here's what's next

The new regulations for pet owners apply to more than just pit bulls. Both cats and dogs must be licensed in all 19 boroughs - and any dog weighing more than 20 kilograms must wear a harness or a halter.

New rules coming into effect starting Monday mean cats can't wander, all dogs must be kept on short leash

The new animal control bylaw, which includes a pit bull ban, contains aspects that affect owners of all dogs and cats. (CBC)

Montreal has passed its controversial animal control bylaw that will ban new ownership of pit bull and pit bull-type dogs, starting next week.

The new regulations will apply to all 19 boroughs and are to come into effect Monday.

Montrealers who already own a pit bull or related dog will have to acquire a special permit by the end of 2016, in order to keep their pet.

It's not just pit bull-type dogs affected by the new bylaw: The city intends to enforce the licensing of both cats and dogs in all 19 boroughs – and any dog weighing more than 20 kilograms must wear a harness or a halter.

If you own a cat or a dog and you live in Montreal, here is what you should know.

Cats can't wander

All cats in all 19 boroughs must be registered. Previously, the boroughs of Lasalle, Plateau–Mont-Royal, Île Bizard, Outremont and Ville-Marie did not require cat registration.

Cats must also be confined to the owners' property. 

Harnesses or halters for all big dogs

All dogs must be on a leash no longer than 1.85 metres while in public. (The exception is pit bull-type dogs, which must be on a leash no longer than 1.25 metres.)

All dogs 20 kilograms or more must wear a harness or a halter.

This doesn't apply if the dog is in a fenced dog park or in a private backyard. The backyard must be fenced, or the dog must be attached in a way that doesn't allow it to leave the property. 

What is a pit bull or pit bull-type dog?

The new bylaw defines pit bulls as:

  • Staffordshire bull terriers.
  • American pit bull terriers.
  • American Staffordshire terriers.
  • Any mix with these breeds.
  • Any dog that presents characteristics of one of those breeds.

Applications for special permits start in October

Those who already live in Montreal and own pit bulls or pit bull-type dogs will have to apply for a special licence in order to keep their dog.

The application for a special dog permit costs $150.
Ayana Kelly gets kisses from her American pit bull terrier, Gucci. (Stephen M. Katz/The Associated Press)

Here's how to get one:

  • Be 18 years of age or older and make a request before Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Present proof you live in Montreal and that you owned the dog before the bylaw came into effect.
  • Present a document proving you do not have a criminal record.
  • Prove the dog is spayed or neutered and has its rabies shots.

Here's what you must do once you have a permit:

  • Keep your dog muzzled when it's outside your house.
  • Keep it on a leash that is a maximum of 1.25 metres, unless you're in a dog park or an enclosure surrounded by a fence at least two metres in height.
  • Make sure it's watched at all times by someone 18 or older.
  • Make sure it wears the medallion issued by the city proving the dog is duly registered.

Here is where to apply

The city has set up dates in October for pit bull owners to apply for permits across all of the boroughs. It's a tight schedule with time frames that, in many instances, begin in the middle of the day.

But owners are not limited to their own borough's date and can go to any of the Accès Montréal offices listed on the schedule.

There will be more dates scheduled for November and December.