Montreal

Quebec moves to tighten law on dangerous dogs, give municipalities flexibility

The Quebec government is giving municipalities more tools to deal with potentially dangerous dogs, including allowing towns to order the animals put down if they injure someone.

Amendments aren't breed-specific; declaring a dog dangerous will be up to veterinarians

Quebec legislation on dangerous dogs will not include a controversial breed-specific ban that would have prohibited pit bull-type dogs. ((Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press))

The Quebec government is giving municipalities more tools to deal with potentially dangerous dogs, including allowing towns to order the animals put down if they injure someone.

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault tabled amendments Wednesday giving all Quebec municipalities a set of rules and the flexibility to adopt stricter ones if they see fit.

Guilbault says while no law could eliminate all risks or incidents involving dogs, only about half of municipalities have a bylaw on the books.

Guilbault says now there are clear rules for dog ownership.

Dog owners would have to register their animals and assure they always wear a collar and are on a leash when in public. There would also be strict rules covering inspections and seizures, with penal provisions for those who disobey the law.

She said the ruling on whether a dog is dangerous will fall to a veterinarian, but the province opted not to go with any type of breed-specific amendments.

"It's really complicated to establish the specific breed of a dog. We've talked with a lot of people on that," Guilbault said.

The stricter rules come amid several dog attacks in recent years.

In 2016, Christiane Vadnais, a Montreal woman, was killed in her own backyard by a dog in the city's Pointe-aux-Trembles district.

The issue came to the forefront again last March when a jogger was attacked and severely injured in Potton Township, about 125 kilometres southeast of Montreal.

Guilbault noted that Potton, for example, didn't have any set rules in place, but its mayor has said he would enact a bylaw once the Quebec government legislative changes were completed.

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