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Montreal to challenge temporary suspension of pit bull bylaw

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WATCH ABOVE: The City of Montreal is seeking permission to appeal a Quebec Superior Court decision suspending all pit bull-related measures of its animal control legislation. Amanda Jelowicki reports – Oct 14, 2016

The City of Montreal is challenging a temporary suspension of its pit bull bylaw.

The Quebec Court of Appeal will hear the city’s challenge Friday, after Justice Louis Gouin said the bylaw was unclear and the city needed to define exactly what a pit bull is.

The SPCA had filed a lawsuit against the city’s bylaw.

Arguments presented in court by the SPCA contend the law is discriminatory and contrary to Quebec’s animal welfare laws.

READ MORE: Montreal SPCA files lawsuit against city over newly adopted pit bull ban

Under the bylaw, adopting new pit bull-type dogs is illegal and current dog owners face strict regulations.

Owners of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, including a mix of those breeds and any dog that looks like a pit bull need to apply for a special permit.

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Listed dogs are also required to be muzzled, sterilized and fitted with a microchip.

Following the bylaw suspension, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre penned a letter that was posted to his website.

“The bylaw was designed to ensure the safety of all Montrealers by requiring all owners of pets — particularly dangerous ones — to comply with certain regulations,” he wrote.

“We knew we would have to face pro-pit bull lobbyists. The debate quickly became emotional, which we find regrettable. Our sole and unique concern is the security of our fellow Montrealers.”

READ MORE: Denis Coderre pens letter in response to pit bull controversy

Coderre explained the bylaw was put in place for the well-being and security of humans.

He said the death of Christiane Vadnais, who was mauled by a dog, created insecurities within the population, but passing the bylaw was not a rush decision.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal’s pit bull ban

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Coderre also argued proper steps were taken even though the situation was urgent.

“Our draft bylaw went through the usual stages of the municipal process,” Coderre said.

He went on to classify pit bull-types as “problematic” and said the dogs have been banned in several cities around the world.

READ MORE: Montreal pit bull ban unjust: Cyndi Lauper

Projet Montréal city councillor Sterling Downey denounced the Coderre administration’s handling of the file, calling it “inappropriate” and singling out Coderre for “embarrassing comments aimed at undermining the credibility of Montrealers who oppose the bylaw.”

In a written statement, Downey pointed to two separate incidents where the mayor referred to animal rights activists as “wackos,”  and then later compared them to National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyists – a comparison Downey qualified as “odious.”

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