The city of Montreal is asking hundreds of pit bull owners to get rid of their dogs.
Now, many are left scrambling.
A letter sent by the city and dated August 21, gives 520 pit bull owners, who failed to comply with all the requirements to register their dog, four weeks to get rid of them or face legal action.
“Maybe we’re gonna move out of Montreal. But it’s not the first point because our children are in school,” Yannick Quemart said.
Quemart owns two pit bulls he considers family.
He says he’s spent upwards of $1,000 getting his pets registered with the city.
He says he’s missing only one of the requirements: a police background check.
So when he got the city’s letter he was in shock.
“It was very bad news to us and our family.”
The SPCA is also left scrambling.
“We were completely under shock when we heard about this because we weren’t given any type of heads up,” Montreal SPCA’s lawyer Sophie Gaillard told Global News.
The letter suggests pet owners either bring their dogs to another municipality or bring them to a shelter.
But the SPCA says they don’t have the capacity to take in more dogs.
“We are actually currently in crisis mode trying to figure that out,” Gaillard added.
The SPCA is asking pit bull owners caught in this situation to send them a letter explaining their case.
They believe the city’s move is unfair.
“How they’ve decided to enforce the bylaw is also completely improvised, irresponsible, ill thought-out, targeting people who are trying to actually comply to the bylaw,” Gaillard said.
Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey agrees. Grey is part of a coalition of lawyers questioning the legality of the city’s pit bull legislation.
“Not giving enough delay is a particular inhumanity,” Grey told Global News.
“A humane attitude would be ‘we’re changing the system and giving them an extension to comply,'” Grey added.
In a statement issued late Thursday afternoon, the city of Montreal admits it sent the letters.
They stand by their request to have the dogs placed in four weeks.
After that, they’ll follow-up on the files and make a decision on how to proceed.