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Montreal pit bull owners desperate for help after council passes breed-specific ban

Click to play video: 'Moving pit bulls out of Quebec' Moving pit bulls out of Quebec
WATCH ABOVE: Pit bull owners in Montreal are desperate for help after city council passed breed-specific legislation that would see stricter regulations on so-called "dangerous dogs." Global's Gloria Henriquez reports – Sep 28, 2016

Erika Ashley Matta and her dog, Lucky, are inseparable.

READ MORE: Montreal city council bans pit bulls

The Montrealer adopted the nine-year-old Labrador-pit bull mix from the Montreal SPCA in 2007.

“She had a rough start to life. She was abandoned and ended up at the SPCA, where we found each other,” Matta told Global News.

“She is a very sweet and loving dog and has helped me rehabilitate other pit bulls, helped me raise baby squirrels, kittens and has also been a blood donor to other dogs that were sick.”

Montreal’s breed-specific legislation

Montreal council voted in favour of the bylaw Tuesday to ban new pit bulls and other “dangerous breeds” from living within city limits, as well as enforcing strict regulations on those already in the city.

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Among the targeted breeds are Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, a mix with these breeds and dogs that show characteristics of any of the mentioned breeds.

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

Matta said she’s heartbroken at the idea of having to muzzle her dog.

“She doesn’t understand why she has to wear it,” she explained.

Instead of banning the breed, Matta believes the city should focus on the people who want to buy these dogs.

READ MORE: Montreal SPCA vows to dispute Montreal’s planned pit bull ban

“What happens if one day we are walking and a dog decides to come attack my dog that has a muzzle?” she asked.

“I don’t feel safe knowing that my dog will be vulnerable. I believe responsible training should be considered to teach the right path to these dogs.”

Matta questions the quality of life these so-called “dangerous dogs” will be able to have.

READ MORE: Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre maintains pit bull bylaw is fair

“Because of this new law any pit bull or mix will have to be muzzled and live life like a prisoner,” she said.

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“No more playing ball in a park or running around catching sticks.”

WATCH BELOW: Montreal has imposed breed-specific legislation that would see stricter regulations on so-called “dangerous dogs.”

Moving pit bulls out of the province

Several organizations have come out against the pit bull ban.

Some have started petitions so those opposing the ban can have the financial resources to fight it in court, while others are looking to help transport pit bulls out of the province.

READ MORE: ‘My Canada includes all dogs’: Montrealers rally against pit bull ban

One group, Freedom Drivers: Animal Rescue Transports, is looking for people to transport targeted pit bull-types to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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The group transports dogs from pounds and shelters to other provinces.

“I think there’s panic, generally. People think they have to do something today. That dogs are gonna die today,” said Tanya Thorpe, the founder of Freedom Drivers.

“There’s a lot of influx of people wanting to help, but they don’t know how or where or when and so, I think right now the main focus of all our work is how do we coordinate things so that centrally it makes sense and is as efficient as possible when the demand is there.”

Dog rescue organizations in Saskatchewan have also been working since August to move pit bull-type dogs out of the province.

READ MORE: Montreal artist teams up with SPCA to counter anti-pit bull sentiment

“If you live anywhere between Montreal and New Brunswick/Nova Scotia, and are willing to transport dogs to safety, please message me,” the posts reads.

“If you are travelling or know of anyone travelling that direction, please contact us.”

A petition has also been started to urge the Montreal government to reverse its controversial breed-specific legislation.

READ MORE: Pit bull owner worried her dog could be killed if breed-specific legislation is passed

“For dogs without an owner, the day of the legislation, those dogs will be effectively euthanized. It is worth noting that rescue groups were able to get some of the dogs at risk out of local shelters in advance of the measure passing,” the petition states.

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“If this situation isn’t swiftly reversed, it may have a domino effect in Canada, specifically, the rest of Quebec and it may continue from there.”

So far, over 20,000 people have signed the petition.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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