Yesterday the Montreal City Council voted almost 2 to 1 to adopt an extremely harsh animal by-law. One that punishes all dogs and owners, but most especially blocky headed pit bull terrier type dogs. Or ones that look like them. Or ones that might have any dna of one.
The by-law is incredibly restrictive, and in some cases cruel beyond belief. Most people are concentrating on what it does to pitties…but it effects every single dog owner in the city. Let’s take a look at some of the information I uncovered in my research:
The portion aimed at pit bull terrier like dogs encompasses these type of dogs:
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Staffordshire Terriers
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- Any mixed breed dog which has any degree of these breeds in his make-up
- Any dog who presents with characteristics of these breeds, regardless of actual breed (if your dog has short hair, or a muscular frame, or a blocky head….)
- And here’s the scary part: the council has the right to add any breed of dog they choose to this list, at any time, with no additional hearings required.
- All dogs on this list in city shelters must be euthanized if they are on-site after October 3rd.
If your companion falls into any of the above categories, you will need to obtain a special permit. What does that entail? A lot:
- Your dog must be muzzled twenty-four hours a day until you obtain a special permit. There is no telling how long it will take to get said permit, as every pit bull terrier like dog needs to have one. That means thousands of people trying to obtain permits as quickly as possible, so their dog doesn’t have to suffer. If you do not muzzle your dog at all times, he can be seized and euthanized on the spot. No appeal available.
- You must be at least 18 years
- You must present a document which shows you have no criminal history…at all. So if you ever did something silly or stupid in your youth, you may have just lost your dog.
- You must provide proof your dog has been fixed and vaccinated.
- You must pay a $150 fee
- You must prove you were living in Montreal on October 3rd, and the dog lived with you at that time.
OK…you finally get your permit to keep your beloved companion, everything should be fine now, right? Wrong.
- Your dog must be muzzled at all times when outside of your house, even in your yard.
- Your dog must be on a 3 foot leash at all times, even in your yard, unless your fence is at least 6 foot high
- Your dog must be supervised by an adult at all times. Don’t plan on going to the bathroom without him, unless another adult is present.
- Your dog must wear a special medallion on his collar at all times.
- Your dog must wear a harness at all times.
- If you fail to do ANY of the above, your dog will be seized and euthanized. No appeal process available.
- If your dog somehow gets loose, and is picked up by Animal Control, even if you a permit, even if he has met all the requirements, he will be euthanized.
- City animal control officers and police have the right to enter your home/yard at any time to ensure you are in compliance…without a warrant.
By-Law portion pertaining to all dogs
The by-law also provides for something called “at-risk” dogs. An “at risk” dog is any dog who bites, has tried to bite or exhibits behavior which could be considered compromising to any other human or animal. If you have a dog reactive dog…he’s going to be considered at risk. Your dog will be required to wear a muzzle in public forever and will be banned from dog parks and other areas for off-leash dogs.
Then there is the “dangerous dog” designation. This would be any dog who kills a person or (get this one) an animal…of any type….including rodents, vermin and toads. A dog can also be declared “dangerous” by any competent authority who believes their behavior is dangerous. Any dog declared dangerous will be immediately euthanized. Immediately. With no chance of appeal.
Here are some other lovely portions of the law that effect every single dog owner:
- The law limits household pets to 2 dogs and a total of 4 animals all together.
- If you have three dogs, you can apply for a special permit, which you may or may not receive.
- You may only walk 2 dogs in public at a time. If you have three dogs with you, you need to have the special permit on your person.
- The leash you use can be no longer than 5 ft long.
- All dogs must be spayed/neutered and microchipped
- You may not take more than 2 dogs to the dog park
- If your dog weighs more than 44 pounds he must wear a harness.
I understand requiring responsible ownership from people who choose to have animal companions. But this law makes it very difficult for people to have dogs in their lives at all.
And they didn’t forget cats. Cats are not allowed outdoors at any time, or they will be euthanized. You say you’re a responsible owner, and your cat stays inside? Well, what if she accidentally escapes? And I can only assume this law means that all community cats (ferals) will be rounded up and killed. Horrifying.
Right now there is a massive move to get all the pit bull terrier like dogs out of Montreal shelters and moved to safety, before next Monday. I know we all want to help, but beware of con artists who will take this opportunity to steal from well-meaning folks. Let the Montreal SPCA take the lead. They will tell us what needs to be done. In the meantime though, you can certainly apply to adopt a dog: http://www.spca.com/?page_id=4796&lang=en
The only conclusion I can come to is that the Mayor of Montreal hates animals.
UPDATE: The Montreal SPCA has launched a lawsuit against the city of Montreal, claiming the new ordinances are discriminatory and illegal based on Quebec law.
Stay tuned for further updates. #boycottMontreal