Montreal

Montreal pit bull owners need more time to complete permit requests, lawyer says

Anne-France Goldwater says around 60 people have responded to her offer to help anyone who received a letter from the City of Montreal recently telling them they had four weeks to find a new home for their pit bull outside the city.

Anne-France Goldwater says 60 pit bull owners ready to fight city's decree to get rid of their dogs

Pit bull owners had until March 31 to apply for the permit and until June 1 to provide all the necessary documents. (Gena Kona-Mancini/Facebook)

A Montreal lawyer says she's planning to ask a judge to grant pit bull owners more time to complete their request for a special permit needed to keep their dogs.

Anne-France Goldwater says around 60 people have responded to her offer to help fight a City of Montreal-issued letter telling them they had four weeks to find a new home for their pit bull outside the city.

The letter said their application for the special permit needed to keep their pit bull under Montreal's new dangerous dog bylaw was incomplete.

Pit bull owners had until March 31 to apply for the permit and until June 1 to provide all the necessary documents to support their application.

Montreal lawyer Anne-France Goldwater says the City of Montreal should helping law-abiding citizens comply with the law rather than threatening them with legal action. (Navneet Pall/CBC)
The letter threatens legal action and the seizure of the dog if they do not comply with the order.

"I'm going to ask a Superior Court judge nothing more but to give these poor people an additional delay on the basis that the law is there to serve the people, it's not there to punish people," Goldwater told CBC. 

City accused of losing documents

Goldwater said many of the dog owners she's hearing from claim they filed the necessary papers with the city.

"These are people who claim and who are evidencing that they have filled all their documents and it would appear from what we're seeing that the city may have lost their documents," she told CBC News.

"They've been told they have one month to get rid of their innocent, healthy, wonderful family dog for no other reason than maybe — maybe —  a paper is missing in their file."

​She said the city should not be threatening citizens who tried to follow the right steps and obtain the necessary permit for their dog.

"These are law-abiding Montrealers who registered their dogs and paid the $150," she said.

"They're being told 'get rid of your dog' and I think that is unconscionable and doesn't reflect my idea of what the law should be in society."

Goldwater said the city should be working with these dog owners to help them in their efforts to comply with the law instead of turning them into "outlaws."

The city ombudsman's office released a statement Thursday, saying it has received several complaints about the letter. The office says it can't change city rules, but it can see that they are applied fairly.

With files from Navneet Pall

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