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Laval animal bylaw targets unchipped, unsterilized dogs, aims to hold owners responsible

Advocates gather with their dogs to protest breed-specific legislation. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. Alexa MacLean / Global News

Laval is changing its animal control bylaws, putting the onus on owners to keep their dogs in check.

“For owners that don’t follow their responsibilities, they can face charges of criminal negligence,” said Laval Mayor Marc Demers.

This goes against the City of Montreal’s stance, which introduced breed-specific legislation that targeted pit bull-types last year.

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

The Laval bylaw states that owners will face larger fines.

“We believe on the responsibility of dog owners,” said Sandra Desmeules, the city councillor in charge of the dossier.

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Desmeules insisted that the city took a “humane and ethical” approach when it came to changing the bylaw, and refused to comment on the breed-specific legislation in Montreal.

Laval will also have more power when it comes to dangerous animals, meaning it can force owners to send them to treatment, seize a dangerous dog or order it to be euthanized.

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

Under the proposed Laval bylaw, dogs are not required to wear a muzzle unless a specialist recommends it.

Cats and dogs do have to wear collars, be chipped, sterilized and have permits from the city; $15 for cats and $27 for dogs.

The bylaw is expected to be adopted by city council on March 14, to be implemented April 1.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal’s pit bull ban

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Montreal’s breed-specific legislation

Montreal council voted in favour of the bylaw last fall 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.

Among the targeted breeds are Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, a mix of 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

The controversial legislation was contested in court, but ultimately survived a challenge in Quebec’s Court of Appeal in December.

The lifting of the suspension order means many of the bylaw’s provisions targeting pit bull-type dogs will come into force, including the muzzling of certain dogs.

READ MORE: No charges for Montreal pit bull owner involved in fatal attack

Nevertheless, the City of Montreal cannot issue euthanasia orders based on breed or physical appearance, prohibit someone from reclaiming their lost dog based on breed or physical appearance and must allow all dogs to continue to be adopted to families residing outside of Montreal.

The three judges said they would limit the extent of the bylaw until a Superior Court hearing next year.

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rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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