Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume backtracks on pit bull ban

Régis Labeaume appears to be backtracking on his plan to ban pit bulls just hours after dozens of dog owners and supporters protested outside City Hall.

Dog owners protested outside of City Hall, calling for a compromise

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said he never planned to pass a pit bull ban. (Radio-Canada)

Régis Labeaume appears to be backing down on his plan to ban pit bulls by 2017 just hours after dozens of dog owners and supporters protested outside city hall.

The ban was harshly criticized because, unlike other Quebec municipalities moving forward with banning the breed, dogs already living in the city would not be exempt from the rule.

Labeaume changed his tune Monday afternoon, saying he only wanted to start a debate on the issue.

"We won't eliminate pit bulls," Labeaume said. "We wanted to hit hard so things would move."

Earlier Monday, about 50 dog owners gathered outside of city hall, demanding a compromise on ban that Labeaume proposed and would go into effect in January 2017. The Quebec City residents said they were willing to use leashes and muzzles to avoid an overall ban

 Pit bull owner Lucie Carrière believes bad masters are the problem, not dogs.

"When there are no more pit bulls and there are still people being bitten, what are you gonna do?" Carrière said.

"Are you gonna ban all the breeds? Because there are other breeds that will hurt people, it's inevitable."

Labeaume said he never planned to adopt the bylaw and he will wait for the Quebec government to decide on new regulations.

The province has commissioned a working group to look at the issue, but the premier has said Quebec will likely take the same steps as Ontario to ban pit bulls.​

Sherbrooke backs down on new rules, Longueuil set to move forward

The City of Sherbrooke will no longer move forward with regulations that would make all dogs over 20 kilograms wear halters.

Sherbrooke, like Quebec City, is also waiting on the province's recommendations before implementing new bylaws.

However, the South Shore community of Longueuil is expected to vote on banning pit bulls at its next city council session on Tuesday.