On a wall across from the Beaubien Metro station, artist Jean Labourdette has painted a message to both the municipal and provincial governments.
The mural shows a pit bull-looking dog’s head on a human body, releasing a dove as a messenger of peace.
“I’m trying to send out a message to people here to wake up, and to the world: look at what’s going on here in Montreal,” said Labourdette.
The painting is a response to the city’s new pit bull bylaw.
“I’m trying to take part in a dialogue, which should be what’s happening right now, there should be an open dialogue,” he told Global News.
“Rather than just the city imposing their opinion on all of us, on all the citizens, based on no scientific evidence, just on their will.”
Montrealers have been taken to the streets in protest and have signed and created several petitions to voice their concerns about the regulations.
If passed, Montreal would stop any new pit bull adoptions or sales beginning Sept. 26.
Those who already own pit bulls would face stricter rules over their dogs.
“We are responsible owners. We are careful,” insisted Safwan Hamdy, who owns a pit bull.
“It’s been trained around kids, we are always supervising it. So, I don’t get why we have to go put a muzzle and portray him as a killing machine, that’s not the case.”
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.
“We cannot accept that this is happening now and that we’re fine with the notion that innocent individual beings will be put to death,” said Labourdette.
“This is what will happen, based on the way they look.”
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.
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.
Labourdette told Global News he hopes his art will create a more positive dialogue surrounding the already sensitive issue.
The Montreal-based artist said his mural outside Beaubien Metro probably won’t be his last pit bull-inspired creation.
If the bylaw goes through at the end of September, Labourdette promises Montrealers can expect to see more artworks in and around the city.