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.
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.
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.
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.'”
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.”