Animal lovers protest against breed-specific legislation in Montreal

Click to play video: 'Anti-BSL protest held in Montreal' Anti-BSL protest held in Montreal
WATCH ABOVE: Animal lovers and dog owners gathered in front of Montreal City Hall Saturday to voice their opposition to breed-specific legislation. Several protests were held in cities across the world as part of Global anti-BSL – Jul 15, 2017

Animal lovers and dog owners took to the streets of Montreal Saturday urging the government to back down on plans to implement breed-specific legislation (BSL).

The protest coincides with Global anti-BSL day.

“It’s all over the world on the same date and we’re fighting the same cause, to take BSL down,” Danielle Mainville with Quebec Pitbull said.

READ MORE: Quebec government to ban pit bull-type dogs under dangerous dog legislation

Mainville argued that animal control laws — such as Quebec’s Bill 128 tabled in April — that target certain breeds, just don’t work.

“It’s like BSL, it’s ineffective,” Mainville said, arguing the onus should be on the owners and not the dogs.

“It [Bill 128] is still going to affect innocent dogs and the irresponsible owners will still have dogs. They’ll stay unpunished.”
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READ MORE: Châteauguay moves toward reversing pit bull ban

Protesters also took aim at Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, many brandishing signs with the hashtag #CoderreOut.

Montreal’s animal control legislation requires owners of pit bull-type dogs and dogs of similar breeds to register their pets with the city.

In addition, the bylaw requires that pit bull-type dogs wear a muzzle when outside, be supervised by an adult and be kept on a leash no longer than 1.25 metres.

READ MORE: Montreal pit bull ban: registration deadline is Friday

Mainville and other protesters accused Coderre of not listening.

“The message I would like to send to Mr. Coderre, is that instead of implementing BSL in Montreal, he should have listened to the experts,” she said.

“If there must be a law, it should be about education,” Mainville said, adding it’s never too early to start learning about being a responsible dog owner.

“Children should learn young how to be a responsible owner, how to read the signals of a dog,” she said. “You know like dog tail, dog ears, or ‘I’m growling, so that means leave me alone, I need space.'”

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READ MORE: Montreal pit bull ban: Quebec Court of Appeal reinstates bylaw

Linda Cloud, also with Quebec Pit Bull, an advocacy group that raises awareness about breed-specific legislation in the province, pointed to Calgary as an example of a successful animal control legislation, where the responsibility for bad dog behaviour lies with the owner and not the breed.

“We want them to see Calgary’s example. Calgary is known in all of North America. Cities from the states have actually come up to look at how Calgary implements their laws.”

Calgary’s animal control legislation or  “responsible pet ownership bylaw” as it’s referred to on the city of Calgary website, states that: “Animal & Bylaw Services does not advocate limiting the number of pets or breed-specific legislation. This is because we believe that poor animal behaviour results from a failed relationship between pet and owner.”

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