Quebec looking at tighter pit bull regulations after recent incidents

Quebec Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis says the government is examining the possibility of following Ontario's example and adopting a province-wide ban on pit bulls.

Provincial officials wrestle with how to address problem of dangerous dogs in wake of attacks

Quebec Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis says the province is considering a province-wide ban similar to the one in Ontario. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Quebec Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis says the government is examining the possibility of following Ontario's example and adopting a province-wide ban on pit bulls.

Paradis told reporters "there's a sense of urgency" among provincial officials meeting today to figure out how to deal with the problem.

The comments come a week after a woman was found dead after being mauled by a pit bull in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

On Tuesday, police reported two more pit bull attacks in Quebec, while the City of Brossard introduced a proposed ban on the dogs.

Speaking with reporters in Quebec City, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette added that he's personally in favour of a ban.

Barrette said he saw first-hand the damage the dogs can cause after one attacked a child in his riding of Brossard last September.

"The child has significant permanent damage, not only esthetically," he said.

"That child has nerve damage to her face that will last forever and that's a dog that does that, and at some point there has to be some answer to that."

2 more dog attacks

Two more people were bitten by pit bulls on Tuesday, one in Quebec City and another in the Laurentians, police said.

The incident in the Laurentians happened in a backyard in Sainte-Adèle, where a woman was visiting a friend, a spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec said.

Police identified the dog as a pit bull and said he was tied up at the time.

The town's mayor, Robert Milot, told CBC News the dog was registered as a labrador-boxer mix.

However, Isabelle Chalifoux of the SPCM, the municipality's animal protection agency, later said that was an error and that dog was registered at different address. 

The dog involved in the biting incident was not registered with the municipality, she said. 

The woman was taken to hospital to be treated for injuries to her leg.

The SPCM said its staff will inspect the dog later today and, if it is in fact a pit bull, the owner will be given 48 hours to get rid of it.

If it is moved to another town, the owner will have to give the address to the SPCM. The owner will also face a fine but neither the mayor nor the SPCM could say how much that would be. 

Sainte-Adèle banned dangerous dogs in 1998. It banned pit bulls in 2012, according to the mayor.

The attack in Quebec City happened on a street corner and also involved a pit bull, police said.

A 47-year-old woman was taken to hospital. 

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette responds to reporters questions after a party caucus meeting, Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Montreal mulls ban

For its part, the City of Montreal is considering a ban on pit bulls but it has yet to harmonize its animal control regulations across all 19 boroughs.

One resident said Tuesday police need more powers to deal with dog attacks.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce resident Peter Measroch said he was walking along Sherbrooke Street three weeks ago when he was suddenly attacked by a pit bull that was tied up to a bicycle stand.

"I was looking in the store window and then all of a sudden I just sort of felt a whack on the back of the knee," he said.

"I turned around and I had this hole in the back of my knee and I was bleeding."

​Measroch said there's no clear policy in place for when attacks happen in Montreal.

"The police said to me, 'What would you like to see as an outcome? Do you want us to give a ticket? This is more kind of SPCA stuff,'" Measroch recalled.

The SPCA and some veterinarians say breed-specific bans are ineffective, and the focus should be on the owners.

with files from Lauren McCallum, Marika Wheeler, Ryan Hicks and The Canadian Press