Owner fighting Quebec town's decision to euthanize pit bull mix
Authorities in town of Weedon opt to euthanize Nahla, although behavioural report recommends rehabilitation
The owner of a dog described set to be euthanized by the municipality of Weedon, Que., is vowing to do what she can to save her dog.
Nahla, a six-year-old pit bull mix, has been in municipal custody she since bit a four-year-old child last Thursday. On Tuesday, authorities with the municipality decided to euthanize the dog.
On Monday, Nahla underwent a behavioural assessment that determined she could be rehabilitated with work.
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Joanie Dion, the dog behavioural specialist who conducted the examination, described Nahla as nervous and lacking self-confidence.
"Using her teeth is her first reflex," said Dion.
When she spoke with CBC's French-language network, Radio-Canada, on Monday, Dion said she wasn't signing the death warrant for the dog but helping the town and owner find solutions to Nahla's behavioural problems.
Watch Dion evaluate Nahla:
'High risk of recurrence'
But after seeing Dion's report, town officials concluded that the dog was likely to bite again and must be euthanized.
"The dog has a high risk of recurrence in bites and violence," said the town's inspector, Nicolas Blouin, adding that the dog's owner lives in the vicinity of a school, a playground and a pool.
Nahla's owner has been notified that the dog is to be put down on Thursday.
Euthanasia not recommended in report
Dion's report recommended imposing a series of conditions on Nahla's owner, including muzzling the dog in public, but she did not recommend putting down the dog.
The report, obtained by Radio-Canada, said Nahla is "not aggressive" and allows you to pet her "if you approach her in the right way."
It recommended the owner and the dog take obedience classes with a professional until Nahla is responsive to commands. It also said the dog must always be on a leash and not tied up outside.
However, despite these recommendations, Blouin said there's no guarantee the owner will follow the conditions, and because of that, the dog is a threat to the community.
Owner contesting decision
Nahla's owner, Hélène Girard, is planning on challenging the decision to euthanize her dog. She met with a lawyer Tuesday afternoon to discuss her options.
Girard said she's already purchased a muzzle for Nahla to wear on walks.
"I am very, very, very saddened by this decision," she said. "I think the inspector made the decision to protect himself, to keep a good reputation with the citizens."
Girard said she has good control of her dog and is willing to meet the conditions outlined in the report.
Not because of breed, says inspector
Many municipalities across Quebec have been debating whether to ban pit bulls since a woman died after being mauled.
However, Blouin said Nahla won't be put down because she's a pit bull mix but because of her behaviour.
"This is not a decision that we're happy about, but we had to do it," said Blouin.
With files from Radio-Canada