‘Zero tolerance for dog attacks’: Montreal imposes strict animal rules, focuses on pit bulls

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Montreal proposes stricter dog rules
WATCH ABOVE: Montreal city council is proposing much stricter rules for dog owners, including required neutering for all dogs. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports – Aug 17, 2016

Stricter rules are in place for dog owners in Montreal as the city presents new municipal regulations to the executive committee.

The city is proposing for all dogs to be sterilized and micro-chipped before Dec. 31, 2019.

READ MORE: #PitLuvMTL frames pit bulls in different light

The motion will be put before council on Aug. 22 to be adopted by Sept. 26.

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“The recent dog attacks in Montreal forced us to rigorously revise our regulations when it comes to animal control and making sure all our boroughs are on the same page,” said Montreal mayor Denis Coderre.

“The new regulations tighten the measures when it comes to risky dogs, pit bull-types dogs and dangerous dogs, to protect our residents.”

Montrealers will not be able to buy pit bull-types, and existing dogs will be taken from people that have criminal backgrounds.

“Targeting dogs that look a specific way and demonizing them within the view of the public, we know, doesn’t create safer communities – it institutes fear,” insisted Alanna Devine, with the Montreal SPCA.

Owners who agree to comply to a series of strict rules will be allowed to keep their pet.

“The security of our residents is a priority for us,” said executive committee member Anie Samson.

Dogs who have bitten someone more than once or who are responsible for the death of a human or other animal will be considered dangerous and quickly euthanized.

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READ MORE: Pit bull attack reignites debate on banning specific dog breeds

In the case of a dog attack resulting in minor injuries, the animal will have to undergo a series of evaluations and will be labelled at risk.

“They have to sterilize their dog, they have to have the license. So, everyone who loves their dog, they will be able to do it,” said Samson.

“But no more pit bull on the territory beginning Sept. 26.”

Special regulations for pit bull-types

Owners of pit bull-type dogs will have to:

  • Muzzle their dogs at all times when outside of their homes.
  • Attach their dogs to a leash that is no longer than 1.25 metres, except for dog parks or in an enclosure that has a fence that is 2 metres or higher.
  • The animals must be surveyed by an adult of 18 years or older.
  • The dogs must wear a tag distributed by the City of Montreal.

Pet owners in Montreal can have a maximum of four pets, with two dogs at the most.

All dogs must be on a leash when in public, and those that are 20 kg or more must wear a harness.

“Now, I’m going to walk my dog in my community with a muzzle on and hope my neighbours don’t think he’s aggressive or dangerous,” said Joseph Pilotte, who owns a pit bull.

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“People are going to jump to that conclusion now without even knowing the animal because they have to be muzzled. Just that imagery is fearful.”

READ MORE: Quebec government advisory group not recommending pit bull ban: draft document

Fines will start at $300, instead of the previous $100.

For a first offence that could pose a security risk, such as a dog bite, not having a leash or improperly registering a dog, fines start between $500 – $750.

WATCH BELOW: Pit bull debate

Dog owners have until Dec. 31, 2016 to register their pets and obtain a permit.

Permits will be renewable on an annual basis.

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A provincial ban

In June, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and several senior Liberal government ministers insisted on a province-wide ban on pit bulls in Quebec, similar to the one in Ontario.

A provincial advisory panel convened to look into the debate, but did not recommend breed-specific legislation.

READ MORE: Châteauguay residents urge mayor to make good on promise to repeal pit bull ban

Instead of targeting certain races, the panel suggested a case-by-case approach; the words “pit bull” and “dog breed” were not mentioned in the recommendations.

Several Quebec municipalities including Montreal, Quebec City and Brossard announced bans this summer after a string of attacks, including the death of Christine Vadnais, 55, who was killed in her own backyard.

The Quebec panel suggested the province give municipalities the right to adopt more stringent rules.

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