Nova Scotia

What happened to those almost-outlawed dogs Nova Scotia rescued from Montreal?

Rescue groups in Nova Scotia say they will find homes for more dogs from shelters in Montreal if Quebec's top court overturns a ruling that suspended a controversial, citywide pit bull ban. The ban is in court today.

Foster groups 'waiting on pins and needles' as suspended pit bull ban goes back to court

Tyson is an eight-year-old dog that Good Bones Dog Rescue brought to N.S. from Montreal. (Good Bones Dog Rescue)

Rescue groups in Nova Scotia are vowing to find homes for more dogs from shelters in Montreal if Quebec's top court overturns a ruling that halted a controversial, citywide ban on pit bulls.

The City of Montreal is making its case Friday for repealing the suspension. Dog rescue groups say the ban is unfair but Mayor Denis Coderre has said it is in the interest of public safety.

Responding to shelters' pleas

Montreal introduced new rules governing dangerous dogs after a woman was killed in a dog attack in the city's east end in June.

"Owning a dog or cat in Montreal is a privilege, not a right," said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. (CBC)

Shelters began reaching out to other cities and provinces to relocate pit bulls and similar breeds on the ban list for fear they'd be euthanized. 

Rescue groups in Nova Scotia responded to the plea to help save the dogs at risk of death row.

Where are they now?

Hunter is one of the pit bull mix dogs rescue groups in Nova Scotia brought in from Montreal. (Good Bones Dog Rescue)

To find out where these Montreal dogs are now, CBC checked in with a couple of rescue groups in the Halifax area.

Litters 'n Critters Rescue Society has so far brought 12 dogs to Nova Scotia, with another arriving on Tuesday. Of the dozen dogs already here, 11 have been adopted.

Good Bones Dog Rescue has helped relocate six dogs ranging in age from 18 months to eight years. Their most recent arrival, Hunter, came two weeks ago. 

Terri Cooper of Good Bones said they've found permanent homes for four dogs while one remains in foster care. Hunter leaves this weekend for a trial visit with a potential adoptive family.

Some questions rescue groups ask shelters about dogs: 

  • Are they good with other dogs?
  • Do they have a male or female dog preference?
  • Are they cat friendly?
  • Are they children friendly? 
  • How well do they do with older children?
  • How well do they do on a leash?
  • Do they react to other dogs walking by or loud noises such as air brakes or big trucks?

City hall was a site of protests by animal advocates in the weeks preceding the vote on Montreal's new animal control bylaw. (Radio-Canada)

What happens if there's a ban again?

Both groups said if the court reinstates a ban, they'll find more homes in Nova Scotia for the outlawed dogs.

"We are definitely going to play our part and secure foster homes so that we're able to bring more dogs in and successfully rehome them to loving homes," said Cooper.

Shelley Cunningham, founder of Litters 'n Critters, will be watching the appeal closely.

"It's just waiting on pins and needles to see what's going to happen," she said.

Dogs are assessed before coming to Nova Scotia and if they need it, receive training once they're here. (Shelley Cunningham)

One of her concerns is that a ban in Montreal could set a precedent that places in other provinces will want to follow. 

In Nova Scotia, pit bulls are already banned in the communities of Guysborough and Clarks Harbour. 

More pit bulls than you can shake a stick at?

Cunningham said rescue groups in Nova Scotia co-ordinate with one another to see who can help certain dogs.

She keeps track of how many dogs Litters 'n Critters brings in, so as not to put a strain on foster families.  

"We are not going to overload Nova Scotia with pit bulls," she said. "We're not going to be bringing in hundreds and hundreds of dogs." 

She also addressed concerns some people have around rescue groups in the province bringing in dogs from other parts of the country. 

"If anyone in Nova Scotia has a dog that needs to be rehomed, we will always look after them first," she said. 

"We have our priorities, but our major priority is dogs period."