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Montreal pit bull owner says she was turned away by dog trainer

Pit bull discrimination
WATCH ABOVE: Can you identify a pit bull? One woman alleges she wanted to better train her dog, but was turned away. Global's Billy Shields reports.

A Montreal woman says she was denied service from a dog trainer in Côte-des-Neiges because her dog is a pit bull mix, adding more controversy in the wake of Montreal’s proposed pit bull ban.

Melissa Vee owns a two-year-old pit bull mix named Bonzai who occasionally shows aggressive behaviour.

She wants to train that out of the dog, but hit an obstacle Thursday.

“I’m reaching out looking for help, trying to do the right thing for her,” she told Global News.

“I felt helpless.”

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The trainer’s problem is due to growing liability concerns as Montreal pushes through efforts to ban acquisition of the breed and dramatically restrict ownership.

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“Legally it’s so hot right now, and emotions are so high, we don’t know where our responsibility is going to take us,” said Emelie Varacelli, a dog behaviour consultant who works with pit bulls.

If that wasn’t enough, another problem Varacelli pointed to with the legislation is how exactly the city will define what is and isn’t a pit bull.

“A pit bull is a bunch of breeds put together,” she said. “It’s like terriers or retrievers. It’s not one specific dog breed.”

The ban is slated to take effect next month.

Correction: Global News previously wrote that the dog had bitten someone, leading to its owner to seek behavioural training. This was incorrect and Global News regrets the error.