MONTREAL – Hundreds of dog lovers gathered at Pelican Park in Montreal’s Rosemont borough Saturday morning to take part in a march denouncing laws banning certain breeds of dogs.
July 16 is Global anti-BSL (breed-specific legislation) Day, with events planned not only across the province but in cities around the world.
Event organizer Dana Hyde said the aim of the march is to show that all dogs are equal and should be treated the same.
“It’s the owner generally that makes the dog,” Hyde said. “There should be fair rules between all dog owners, we shouldn’t be targeting a specific breed, deeming them as aggressive.”
The topic has become a hot-button issue in Quebec, as many municipalities have put in place, or are moving towards bans on certain breeds of dogs on their territory, particularly pit bulls.
Many municipalities made the move following the June death of a Montreal woman who was reportedly mauled to death by her neighbour’s pit bull.
Hyde argued that there is no scientific basis proving that one breed is more aggressive than another and that bans just don’t work.
“Anywhere that they have it [bans], bites just go up, or they don’t reduce,” Hyde said.
According to Hyde, it’s because law-makers are focusing on the wrong issue.
“You’re not targeting the irresponsible people, you’re just targeting a breed.”
Maryse Joseph, who took part in the walk, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s not fair, the dog owner is responsible for their dog. If they don’t behave correctly they have to take the necessary steps to correct their dog.”
Joseph has a one-year-old bull terrier and said today’s cause is dear to her heart.
“I want to keep my dog. Because my dog is a nice dog. I don’t have any problem with her.”
Joseph took classes with her dog to ensure it behaves properly and suggested other owners do the same.
But still, a possible ban in Montreal has her worried.
“I wanted to go closer to my job in Montreal, but with that I can’t.” Joseph said. “It’s blocking me in my future.”
That’s a problem anti-BSL advocate Daniel Pilon wants to address with a new charity organization.
“Our goal is basically to help the people which have issues with those regulations,” Pilon said, “may it be legal issues, relocation issues or care for their animal.”
Pilon said he understands that people need regulations to feel safe but that bans are not the answer.
Ultimately Pilon wants bans on pit bulls repealed.
“We want to reverse breed-specific legislation in each and every city which it applies,” he said, arguing that at least 20 American states have reversed their legislation over the years because the bans were ineffective.
Pilon promised to keep up the fight until pit bull bans across the province are abolished.